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When a Pet Dies - Pet Cemetery, Burial Options

When a pet dies, the owner must decide between pet cremation or burial. Owners can hold a pet funeral, opt for a pet cemetery or a simple backyard burial.

Whether it's a cat or a dog, a horse or a goat, or a bird, reptile or other pet. the death of a pet is a traumatic and emotional experience. In fact, the grief experienced following the loss of a pet is often comparable to that which is experienced following the death of a human family member.

Fortunately for animal lovers who are grieving a pet loss, there has been a movement in recent years that has led to a mainstream recognition of how difficult it can be when a pet dies. This recognition of how emotional and painful a pet's death can be has led to a dramatic increase in the number of pet loss products and services that are now available when a pet dies or when an owner has to make the difficult decision to "put a pet to sleep."

The owner of a pet who dies will have many questions. "Should I cremate my pet? Or place opt for burial in a pet cemetery?" "Should I buy a casket or pet urn?" "What types of pet grave markers are available?"

This article will explore the pet burial options and pet loss products that are available to owners who have experienced the death of a pet.

Wakes, Dog Memorial Services and Funerals for Pets

An increasing number of funeral homes are now offering viewings for deceased pets, thereby allowing the animal's friends and loved ones to say one last "goodbye." While a formal wake for a pet at a funeral home is a more formal, expensive option, many pet owners find the viewing helpful as they grieve the pet's loss.

Many pet cemeteries offer an array of options for owners of a pet that's died, including pet funeral services, memorial services and pet burial ceremonies.

Backyard Burials for Pets vs. the Pet Cemetery

For pet owners who would like to bury their pet, there are a few options. Backyard burial for a pet is an inexpensive option that allows the grieving pet owner to keep their beloved animal close to home.

A benefit of a home pet burial is that the pet owner is free to plant a garden at the pet's burial site, or create another fitting pet memorial, free of restrictions that are often in place at a pet cemetery.

Pet cemeteries are becoming increasingly common in many areas, providing another burial option for owners who are mourning a pet loss. A pet cemetery is a more formal option that can really appeal to some pet owners. The cost can be prohibitive for some, as a pet cemetery plot can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. The cost of a pet cemetery burial will vary depending on factors like the geographical region and the size of the pet. A grave plot and burial for a large pet like a horse can be comparable to a human burial in terms of cost. Most cemeteries for dogs and cats also require that pet owners place a permanent headstone or grave marker at the pet's plot, so this is an added cost that must be taken into consideration.

While more expensive than a backyard burial, a cemetery for dogs and cats can be a peaceful resting place that will always be accessible to the animal's family and friends — a major advantage over the backyard burial. One major disadvantage to burying a pet in the back yard involves the potential of leaving the pet's resting place behind if the property is sold at some point in the future; a pet cemetery is always accessible.

Cat and Dog Caskets

Pet owners can opt for a pet casket. Small, simple pet coffins are available for less than $30, while a larger, more ornate dog casket can cost well over $1,000.

Another option involves burying the pet in a more simple manner, perhaps wrapping the pet in a favorite blanket or resting the pet on his/her favorite bed. Many grieving pet owners will also opt to bury the pet with his/her favorite toys, collar and food dish, while others prefer to keep these items as a pet keepsake.

Pet Headstones and Grave Markers for Dogs, Cats and Other Animals

Pet grave markers and headstones are also available in an array of styles and sizes, ranging in price from less than $50 to several thousand dollars.

Personalized and customized pet headstones are available on the internet in a vast array of shapes, sizes and styles. Many stores that sell human grave markers and gravestones also offer a small selection of pet products as well.

Pet grave markers and headstones can include a detailed engraved image of the pet or a more simple species/breed-specific silhouette; a meaningful poem or simply the pet's name, dates of birth and death.

Related Reading on Pet Loss

For pet owners who are anticipating the death of a beloved pet, the decision of whether to euthanize a dog, cat or other animal can be extremely difficult.

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