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Dead Serious

Is it best to bury or cremate your furry friend?

Dead Serious

Is it best to bury or cremate your furry friend?

Your beloved pet has crossed the rainbow bridge. What’s next?

“Sweetie, when I was your age, I lost my guinea pig, Cinnamon. And I thought the pain would never -”
(*clutches chest*)
“OH CINNAMON! It should have been me who chewed through that extension cord!”
Marge Simpson (The Simpsons, Season 15 Episode 09 “I, (Annoyed Grunt)-bot”)

Having a pet can be so rewarding. They can be really fun cuddlers, and they can help fill your living space with some much-needed physical presence. And, depending on who you are as a person, they can also be great conversationalists. But no relationship lasts forever, and there’s a good chance we’ll outlive our adorable fur babies. If that happens, you may wonder what the best way to honor your pet is. Should I bury my dog? Should I have my cat cremated? If you don’t have an answer to these questions, then keep reading, we’ve got you covered.

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  1. Rise of pets in the household
  2. What options do you have once your pet has passed?
  3. What happens if I die before my pet?
  4. Conclusion

Rise of pets in the household

More people are adding pets to their households during the pandemic. According to DVM 360, adoption rates went up in 2020 compared to 2019 and a number of statistics show that the rise in pet adoptions has continued, being at 61% in 2021. This is great news for our friends with four legs, who are finding new homes to love them. And the millennial generation makes up the largest percentage of pet owners, sitting at 32%.

So it makes sense that out of all the living generations, millennials should be thinking the most about how to prepare for an untimely pet death. As we’ve written about before, 70% of millennials are living paycheck to paycheck, so any sudden expenses can be more costly than they initially appear.

What options do you have once your pet has passed?

There are a number of options, but it can ultimately come down to a number of factors. If your pet dies at home, what are you going to do? Your living arrangements and type of death can have an effect on what services are accessible. Here, we’ll talk primarily about burials, cremations, and veterinary services.


Burials are a classic method of honoring your pet. If you have access to it either at your house or at a family plot, you can set up a space to remember your pet and to visit. But burials are dependent on guidelines because some municipalities have laws that state if you are permitted to do so. It’s always a good idea to check in with your county or city before burying your pet, just to be sure.

If you’re interested in burying your pet, the costs can vary depending on breed and size. According to Happyoodles, the average cost to traditionally bury a small pet is approx. $400, which includes casket, plot, and costs to open and close the gravesite. Larger dogs tend to start around $600 and go up from there.


There are pet crematories that you can contact if you feel that cremation is better for you. Since not everyone has access to a yard or a family cemetery plot, cremations can allow us to keep our departed pets close. There are two kinds of pet cremation: one is a communal cremation, where the remains are cremated with other various animals, though you more than likely won’t receive the remains and the other is a private service, where your pet is cremated solely and you are given the remains in a sealed container.

Like burials, pet cremations can vary depending on region, provider, breed, and type of cremation service. According to GoFundMe, pet cremations tend to average between $50 and $150, though larger animals do cost more and any extra amenities add to the costs as well. Communal cremations tend not to cost more than $70.

Veterinary services

If your pet dies while at the vet, the clinic can make arrangements for the body on your behalf. Oftentimes, they’ll coordinate with a crematory on your behalf and can give you the name and number of the place in question. Some veterinary offices do opt for cremations, as they often have large quantities of animals to handle and care for, but they will often leave the choice with the pet owner, if available.

If you choose to have your pet put down with a vet, the costs can run $400 on average, subject to the same factors from above (location, service, etc.). That’s because these costs can also include sedation, humane euthanasia, as well as the cremation services.

What happens if I die before my pet?

It’s a possibility that pet owners may die before their pets. As such, having a set life insurance policy in place can give you the peace of mind of knowing that, should you pass unexpectedly, your pets can be taken care of. Wysh offers highly customizable term life insurance, and one such Wysh can set expectations for your beneficiaries to use that death benefit to make sure your fur babies are well cared for. Maybe not to the extent of some very wealthy animals out there, but enough to keep them fed and loved.


Even when we’re expecting it, the deaths of those closest to us can still hit incredibly hard. Just because it happens to a dog, or a cat, or a guinea pig doesn’t mean that it isn’t painful, and especially doesn’t mean there aren’t things you have to prepare for. If you want to bury or cremate your pet, it’s always important to know how to make the most of the options that you have. Our pets rely on us throughout their lives, and when they’re gone, they’ll rely on us at least one more time.

The opinions we expressed in this post are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations.