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We all wish our pets could live forever, but the unpleasant reality is that someday our furry family members will no longer be with us. Making end-of-life plans can be emotional and made even harder when grieving. The last thing we want to worry about as dog parents is how to care for our dogs’ bodies after they pass.

It may be reassuring to know that cremation is a common end-of-life choice among pet owners. If you’re concerned about how much it costs to cremate a dog, know that it’s one of the more affordable options. Keep reading to understand the process and prepare for the cost.

What Is Cremation for Dogs?

Cremation is a process that reduces matter by exposing it to intense heat. For dogs, cremation is often the last step in caring for and disposing of their bodies.

Once your dog’s body arrives at the crematory, it’s placed into a cremation chamber with extremely high temperatures. After a few hours, your dog’s body will become cremains — ash, small bone fragments, and any inorganic materials that remain. Metal fragments are removed, and the cremains are ground into uniform ash. Ashes are placed in a container — like a bag, urn, or box — and returned to the owner.

What Does a Dog Cremation Cost?

A dog cremation can cost anywhere between $30 and $300. Your specific quote from the pet crematorium will depend on the type of cremation, your dog’s size, and your location.

Types of cremation

There are a few cremation options pet parents can choose:

●      Communal: This type of cremation is the most affordable. In a communal cremation, your dog is cremated with other animals. Because remains are not identifiable, these ashes are not returned to owners.

●      Individual: This type of cremation is also called divided or partitioned cremation. In an individual cremation, your dog is cremated at the same time as other animals but separated by some kind of partition. An individual cremation is a more affordable option for owners who wish to keep their dog’s ashes. Just keep in mind that it’s still possible that some ashes could be mixed.

●      Private: This is the most expensive cremation option. In a private cremation, your dog is the only animal in the cremation chamber. You’re guaranteed to receive only your dog's ashes with a private cremation.

The size of your dog

After you select the type of cremation, the rest is up to how large or small your dog is. Most cremations are charged by the pound because the bigger the dog, the longer the cremation process.

The crematory’s location

Each pet crematory will have its own pricing. Like most goods and services, your location will usually impact the cost. Cities will likely have higher dog cremation costs than smaller cities and towns.

If you’re planning for the future, you can research local facilities and talk to their staff. If you need support after the sudden loss of your pup, your vet may have a relationship with a local crematory. Ask if they have any recommendations.

Other fees and expenses

Some crematories have additional fees and expenses to consider:

●      Transfer Fees: Facilities may charge transfer fees for transporting your dog's body from the vet or animal hospital. Should your dog pass at home, some crematories may retrieve their body from your home for an additional fee. After-hours transportation may also be available at an additional cost.

●      Viewing Fees: Some crematories offer witnessed cremations. During a witnessed cremation, the owner is welcomed into the facility and present during their dog’s private cremation. This typically comes with an extra charge.

●      Special Memorabilia: Many owners opt for decorative keepsakes and urns, and some facilities make specialized jewelry and keychains. These will come at an additional price.

A woman holding her senior dog.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Cremation?

Each pet insurance company has its own stance on covering end-of-life expenses like cremation. For example, many companies cover the costs of euthanasia but not cremation.

At MetLife1, our dog insurance plans may offer mortality, cremation, and burial benefits that could help offset the costs of a beloved pet’s death.2 Each policy is unique, so be sure to read yours for full details.

Not part of the MetLife family yet? Get your quote.

Should You Cremate or Bury Your Dog?

Most pet owners choose between cremation and burials when their pet passes. This choice is completely personal and there’s no wrong answer.

But if your main concern is the cost, cremation may be the best choice for you and your dog. Cremation can be significantly more affordable than a burial. Burials can cost upwards of $400. Owners need to purchase a plot from a pet cemetery and a casket. While burying your pet at home may be less expensive, keep in mind that it may be prohibited in your neighborhood.

Losing Your Dog Isn’t Easy — Preparing Can Help

If you’re reading this to help prepare for your dog’s death, you’re doing one of the best things you can for yourself and your dog. Preparing will help give you an easier decision to make when it’s your dog’s time to go.

If you’re here trying to make these challenging decisions after your loss, we send you our deepest condolences.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.