Losing our beloved pet is often equally heartbreaking and stressful, especially if you have no time to prepare for the loss. You may find yourself making several sudden decisions about the arrangements for your pet without quite knowing the right choice. If you are considering pet cremation, you may also be wondering if purchasing an urn for your pet's ashes is the right choice for you. In this article, we'll guide you through the basics of choosing a pet urn as well as other options available to you.
On the most basic level, a pet urn is a container for the cremains (often just referred to as ashes) of a deceased person or animal. They are kept as a keepsake or a memorial to a beloved animal once they pass. Cremation urns are typically decorative vases, boxes, or even metal containers. They come in many shapes and sizes depending on personal preference and what they feel is most appropriate.
In practice, urns are much more than that just the physical object. The urn acts as the final memorial to a beloved pet. Many pet owners view their pets as family members, deserving of respect and love even after they've passed.
Finding the perfect final resting place for a beloved pet is an emotional process. With an urn, you have a physical connection to the deceased pet. It may bring comfort during the worst of your grief. If you create a memorial for your pet, it may help you with the loss while providing a way to remember them forever.
For many, burying a pet may be a difficult task. In addition to the emotional labor involved, there may be other practical concerns to consider. That is especially true if you do not live in a home with a dedicated yard, rent a property, or live in a high-density urban area. If that's the case, burying your pet is not always an option. That's why many consider cremation and an urn for their furry friends. Modern urns are designed for both form and function.
Cremation – and urns in specific – have been a popular form of burial practice for millennia. For as long as we have a historical and archeological record, we have evidence of the practice on a global scale for human burial rites. Human cremation dates back to The Stone Age (3000 BC).
Currently, the earliest urns originate between 5000-3000 BC in Yangshou, China where archaeologists discovered 700 pottery urns. East Asia was far from the only region using the practice, as it was also later found in archeological sites in Spain, Ireland, England, and Italy in the same era.
During the Mycenaean Age (1000 – 800 BC), the Greeks began using the method in the aftermath of frequent warfare for soldiers fallen in battle.
Modern cremation practices originated in 1873 with an Italian professor named Burnetti creating the first modern crematorium. One year later, the first cremation society was formed in England to facilitate the construction of multiple crematoriums. In America, the earliest crematorium was erected in Washington, Pennsylvania in 1876.
But what about pets? When did the practice of pet cremation – and the concept of pet cremains – become popular?
In truth, human beings have long been burying their beloved pets after they die. In Palestine, archaeologists uncovered a pet cemetery dating back to 332 BC. At that site, they discovered over a thousand urns filled with the cremains of dogs.
When modern human cremations took off in the late 1800s, pet crematoriums were not far behind. The earliest - ‘Hartsdale Pet Cemetery and Crematorium’ - opened just before the turn of the century in 1896. The New York property is still open today, acting as both cemetery and crematory.
As humans began living in cities with less access to proper burial sites, cremation became a viable – and immensely popular – option for their beloved pets after death. Today, it remains the most popular option for animal lovers.
If you are preparing for the loss of a pet – or if the worst has already occurred – then you may be looking for the best options for your furry friend's final resting place. If you haven't experienced a loss like this before, you may not know where to look. Fortunately, you have many avenues to explore. Don’t hesitate to shop around to find the perfect fit for your pet.
These days, pet stores carry a wide variety of goods beyond the usual pet food and basic supplies. Depending on the store, you should find that several do stock urns or memorial keepsakes for pets after they pass.
Large chain stores like Petco or PetSmart may have mass-produced options in stock – but you may want to check online first to see if they are available in your local store. You may have better luck at locally owned retail shops, however.
It's important to keep in mind that many chain stores do not have the inventory and selection that you will find online. Additionally, these urns usually cannot be personalized to reflect the pet. That is why we always recommend buying online for such a personal and special purchase.
If you plan to have your pet cremated, it’s likely the crematory has basic pet urns available after the service is complete. You may not be able to have them customized, but they should have urns in stock for any pet. Check with the crematory to see if these are included in your price or if they are an extra charge.
Local artisans often produce incredible work. It might be worth checking into what type of custom vases or urns they could create for you. You may find an option that fits your décor and your pet's personality while being affordable.
You could also commission a piece for them that is completely one-of-a-kind. Additionally, you are also supporting local businesses!
Most of the time, your local veterinarian is the source for animal-related information. Vets are usually knowledgeable and may even have a list of recommended places – local or online – for you to turn to.
Always reach out to your vet when you have questions or concerns. They will be there to help you, especially in these difficult moments.
There are a plethora of online urn companies. A simple online search will provide you with an overwhelming number of them. These will take time to sift through to find the perfect fit for you.
Here at Everlasting Memories, we offer a wide selection of pet urns, ranging from smaller keepsakes to large wooden or ceramic cases based upon your need.
As we mentioned above, there are dozens of online pet urn companies offering the same services. How do you know which ones provide good products and which are overpriced, cheap, or may not deliver on time? It can be difficult to find great businesses online, but we have a few tips for making the process easier.
This is the most important thing you can do when you buy anything online. Reviews will tell you more about a product – and a company – than the description or website "About Me" section.
Reviews give you an excellent idea of what to expect in terms of quality and customer service. It's always a bonus if the reviews include a photograph (where available) of the product. Make sure you are reading honest reviews and not ones from affiliate marketers or any online influencer paid to do an ad for them.
If you are an animal lover, it’s likely those around you share that love. The inevitability of owning a pet is to eventually face that loss. It’s just as likely that your friends or family may have been through the process at some point. They may have recommendations for you if they also chose cremation. Reach out to them!
Once again, your local veterinarian’s office is the best resource available to you in this circumstance. They often have lists of reputable pet-related providers that are both reputable and likely affordable for your budget. If you are uncertain about what to do, they are a great first contact for information.
Order processing, urn creation (or customization), and shipping times vary greatly depending on the company and the complexity of your order. If you are ordering an in-stock item, it will likely arrive much faster than if you have a custom piece created just for you. You should also check the shipping options before you order to see which one best suits your timeline.
Additionally, know where your urn is shipping from! If you order from a company located out of your home country, it will increase shipping times. Many urns are manufactured outside the country, so read the item description, manufacturing details, and shipping estimates.
Customers may need to pay more for expedited shipping if you need your urn to arrive by an exact date.
Shipping times may also be extended at certain times of the year, including around major holidays for the region. If you haven't heard from the company within the standard time frame, you may want to reach out to them for an update. Reputable companies will respond quickly and explain any delays or issues.
When it comes time to choose an urn for your small pet, you’ll soon realize that you have a wide array of options. These can range from the inexpensive to the extravagant – not to mention the choice of materials, size, and style. These are all considerations that you must think about before you make your purchase. Let’s talk about some of the practical factors that go into making that choice.
Before you start looking at urns, you need to consider the pet you are buying one for. All urns are not created equally when it comes to capacity. You will need to know your pet’s weight at the time of death to estimate the size of the urn you need.
Pet cremation urns are measured in cubic inches, which may be confusing if you don’t know how to size one. The sizing convention refers to the dimensions of urn capacity, or how much will fit into the urn. Fortunately, urns come in all sizes. You should have very little difficulty finding one in the proper size once you know how to do the conversion.
Here is the general rule for converting weight (in pounds) to cubic inches: For each pound of weight, you will need one cubic inch. You should also add 10 cubic inches to your total to err on the side of caution. You can always buy an urn that is slightly too larger. To review:
It’s important to establish how much you are willing to spend - and how much you can afford – for a pet memorial urn. After all, you are already paying for the cremation (which can be anywhere from $50 –$250 depending on the crematory and size of the animal). A good quality pet urn typically costs between $40 - $300. Much of the price depends on the size, materials used, how elaborate the design is, and any customization or engraving you choose.
You should establish your budget before you begin seriously shopping for an urn. While we all want to have the best for our beloved pets, your love for your pet is not determined by how much money to spend on a cremation urn.
If you do find something that exceeds your budget, you may be able to make a payment plan (though always be mindful of interest payments) or begin saving until you can purchase without any hardship. You can always purchase a new or more elaborate urn later if you choose.
When you choose a pet urn, you should consider what your ultimate plan is for the urn and ashes within it. This plan may change – and that’s perfectly normal – but as you start looking at your options, you should at least be thinking about it.
You may want to scatter the ashes, bury them, or keep them inside the urn as a memorial. Your plans will affect what kind of urn you should get. It will also affect the materials that urn should be made from.
If you plan to seal the urn, you may want to consider a material like ceramic or glass. These are good materials for that because they can be easily glued with a silicon-based sealant. If you simply want a container to house the ashes temporarily before you scatter them, then we would suggest something simple and inexpensive for the task.
For burial urns, you should always consider one made of biodegradable materials like bamboo, cotton, clay, or mulberry tree park. However, if you want to display the urn (either with ashes inside or without) then you might want to look at more stylish options that will match your home.
There may be other people to consider when you are choosing a pet urn. Are you planning to share the ashes with another member of your family or perhaps someone who loved your pet as much as you did? If so, you want to consider what kind of container would be best for that as well. You may want to purchase a pet keepsake urn to keep the ashes on display in your home for others to have as a memorial. Alternatively, you may be interested in getting the person some form of pet cremation jewelry.
Pet cremation jewelry can come in many shapes, including stylish animal shapes and paw prints. One particularly subtle option is the Silver Devotion Pendant. It’s a small cremation pendant that holds ashes while maintaining a unique shape. The added paw prints are a nice touch to highlight the purpose of the pendant.
If you don't want to buy a separate memorial, you can always section a smaller portion of the ashes into another container (see below for DIY urn options that may work for you).
It’s human nature to consider the aesthetics almost as often as the functionality of any purchase we make. When it comes to choosing a memorial for our beloved pets, the thought also applies.
When considering what kind of urn you want, you will want to think about what best represents your pet. After all, urns are memorials to the dead. You will want something that symbolizes them in some way.
Would you favor a colorful palette? Bright hues or cheerful print are popular, especially when you think of the popular and peaceful Rainbow Bridge poem. For a playful, excitable animal you might think of these bright colors. If your pet was more dignified or mellow, you might want to consider a muted color scheme, perhaps a dark blue, black, or even white along with metallic trim.
While the stereotypical design of an urn is a small vase or box, they come in many shapes and sizes. You may find comfort in a traditional style (and it may better reflect your pet and your home). However, you may also want something nontraditional, like an urn-shaped like your animal or one sculpted with different animals along the sides.
Some small pet urns are designed with an inscription on the top or bottom. Most of these come with a meaningful quote or platitude that may bring you comfort to see. These may come as part of the initial design elements on the urn. For others, you may want to consider adding them later.
Urns come in several types of material. The material you choose may depend on the urn’s purpose but also might simply reflect your personal choice. Here are several popular materials for urn construction:
There are many ways you can customize an urn. You can have it carved by a local artisan. You may find ones that come in different colors for the same style. You may want to add a small metal plate or tassel with some engraving on it.
Typically, you would see the animal’s name, date of birth and death, and perhaps some small additional bit of information about them. Other times, you might even find a photo- engraving on the top. You might have a photo of your pet digitized and then engraved onto the metal plate. Photo-engraving lasts longer than photographs, capturing that image in metal forever.
You don’t need to rush the process. Take as long as you need to find the right pet urn to represent a beloved member of the family. You don’t have to settle for “good enough” simply because it’s the first option you found.
Your pet’s ashes will keep for a long time as long as you keep them in a cool, dry place. If you would like to set this task aside until you can worth through your grief, that is what you should do. Always do what's right for you, your mental health, and your family.
If you don't find the perfect urn online or in stores - don't give up! After all, you might not want any of the commercially available ones or you may find them out of your immediate budget. There are alternatives to commercial small pet urns, many of which allow you to further personalize the container for your pet's ashes.
Glass objects like a jar or bottle can easily be re-purposed as an urn. They are typically large enough to hold ashes for a small pet without issue. Colored glass makes a visually interesting piece if you plan to display the urn in your home. You can also add decorative details like beads or stones to accent the glass jar.
While there do make wooden urns, you can also substitute a small wooden box in the place of one. Many craft stores sell unpainted or unfinished wooden boxes of various sizes that might suit your needs better than one of the standardized ones. With an unfinished box, you can stain the wood to whatever shade you'd like or paint it with a specific color or design.
Tea tins are typically made of metal and come in many sizes. Most of them have tight lids to eliminate moisture inside. Tea tins often come with decorative exteriors, including colors, prints, and other options. They are a very inexpensive option to be used as an urn for decorative or memorial purposes.
Vases are the most common shape associated with urns. Although there are vases specifically designed to be urns, any vase you find appealing will serve the same purpose. You may find more options looking outside traditional designs. There will be more variation and embellishments in those. Commercial vases also run a wide range of prices - so you can find something for any budget.
Pottery, especially clay pottery, is an excellent option for urns. Many artisans create beautiful, one-of-a- kind pieces of art that might better suit your style. You may even reach out to local pottery studios to commission a piece to represent your pet best.
Alternatively, many pottery studios teach classes where you could even make your own! Since clay is technically biodegradable (though it may take upwards of thousands of years in the case of glazed pottery!), you can bury a pottery urn in your backyard without worrying about destroying the local ecosystem.
If you wish to have your pet cremated but aren't comfortable keeping an urn in your home, you can always choose to do something else with their ashes.
Scattering the ashes of a loved one – or a beloved pet – is a time-honored tradition that has been popular for hundreds of years. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, scattering is simply taking the ashes of the deceased and scattering them in a place the person loved during their life.
It is a great way to honor them while giving them a final resting place that brought them joy. This is just as common for pets as people, especially if you consider this a chance to return your pet to nature.
Did you and your dog go to a certain park or area to walk? Did they have a favorite bush or tree? Perhaps there is an outdoor place connected to a beloved memory you have of them. People often choose parks, lakes, or gardens as a final home for their pets. Scattering their ashes in an easily accessible location offers the benefit of allowing you to visit the spot anytime you'd like.
If you do plan to scatter your pet’s ashes, make sure you choose a location that allows it. You may find that private property owners will frown upon or outright forbid it under certain circumstances. Some locations allow scattering but may ask you to do it discreetly and away from other people.
Even if you’d like to scatter your pet’s ashes, you may want to keep a small amount of them for a keepsake or memorial. While you could purchase a more traditional cremains container necklace, you may also be interested in a more subtle alternative – the ashes into a jewelry necklace.
These one-of-a-kind pendants are created by mixing ashes from the deceased pet with a colorful resin of your choice to create a distinctly personal piece of wearable art. The process creates a gorgeous swirl effect that retains a glossy, gem-like appearance. It is both beautiful and highly personal, as no two pendants are alike.
Another option for using a small amount of cremains is to have a cremation painting done. With memorial cremation paintings, the artists use a small amount of your pet’s ashes as a medium to create a work of art. The process is done with a small amount of ash mixed with the paint, so most of the work is done in black and white to reflect that.
Not only will you receive an original piece of art of your pet, but you'll also know that a small piece of them lives within it. They are wonderful alternatives to urns or other keepsakes, as paintings do not immediately suggest death and mourning.
Much like cremation paintings, mixing a small portion of your pet's ashes into cement or pottery is a wonderful way to create something in their memory. If you like to garden, you may wish to pour cement into a garden stone in their memory.
Additionally, you could also talk to any sculpture or stone artists who could take the ash and incorporate it into their mixtures for resin statues, cement pieces, or even shape it into a custom piece of pottery for you to display. Like the cremation painting, this creates a subtle piece of art that only you will know the true importance behind.
For even more ideas, you should check out these 15 ideas for what to do with your pet’s ashes.
In most cases, you can bury your pet's urn. You will need to make sure you have access to a small area of land, permission to dig in that location, or ownership of the space. If you choose to burn an urn, you should follow a few guidelines to make sure to do so properly. First, make sure you dig at least three feet deep. Secondly, choose a location that won’t be disturbed or subject to ground erosion.
If you wish to bury your pet's ashes, we recommend choosing a biodegradable urn. They are much more environmentally friendly. If you have environmental concerns, you can always bury the ashes without the urn and repurpose the urn afterward.
When choosing a pet urn size, you should follow the same general guidelines when choosing one for a human. After all, cremains are roughly the same density per pound in both. Knowing the weight of your pet before death, you can estimate the space needed. For every pound of weight, you will need approximately one cubic inch of space. For example, if your pet weighs 10 pounds, you will need an urn that contains at least 10 cubic inches of cremains. For a 50-pound animal, you need at least 50 cubic inches.
You may also want to consider adding an additional 10 cubic inches to your total to be sure you will have enough space. Fortunately, most urns are measured in cubic inches, so the conversion is not difficult.
If you do not wish to keep all of your pet's ashes, you can purchase a smaller urn that will hold a portion of the cremains. For example, you can even consider a keepsake urn necklace like this Walking Along Pet Memorial Locket as an alternative to a traditional urn.
Many urns – especially those made of marble or stone - do not need to be sealed if they come with a threaded stopper. However, for ceramic or glass urns, you can use a clear silicon-based sealant available at any hardware store. You only need to add a small amount of the sealant on the lid before you attach it. You will need to let that dry for up to 24 hours depending on the label instructions.
If you want to try a biodegradable urn, there are several different options available. Most commonly, biodegradable urns are made from clay, bamboo, mulberry tree bark, or cotton paper. Some are constructed from gelatin that can be molded into a ceramic-like texture. Others are even made from cornstarch!
Another material used in biodegradable products – like urns – is arboform, a bioplastic composed of lignin, cellulose fibers, and some natural additives. It is similar to wood in how well it biodegrades. These urns often include a biodegradable bag for the remains as well. Many of these are designed to disintegrate in water quickly, lasting anywhere from a few months to a few years. Biodegradable urns are safe to store in a cool, dry location away from sunlight for a longer period (or until you are ready for burial).
That is entirely a personal decision for you to make. It is perfectly normal to keep your pet's ashes in an urn or other keepsake. However, it is just as common to scatter or bury the ashes if you feel that is more appropriate.
If you want to display your pet’s urn at home, there is no wrong place to put it. Most people do choose to keep some kind of memorial to their pet in their home. That said, you may want to find a spot that is meaningful in some way. It could be a room where your pet spent much of their time.
Often animals enjoy places with plenty of sunlight or views outside. If you want to keep your pet’s cremains in a smaller container – like a keepsake pendant – you can have it turned into an ornament to be placed on your Christmas tree, hang from a window, or just on display somewhere else. You can choose to place it over a mantle or on your dresser.
You can change your mind at any time – and that’s perfectly okay. Grief changes over time, leading you to consider things differently or perhaps ultimately change your decision regarding your pet’s final resting place. If you do decide to scatter the ashes, then you can still keep that urn as a memorial to your pet.
Custom urns are available in many places! This customization can include a basic engraving on wood or metal as well as sometimes photoengraving. Often pet owners have photos of their pets etched into the urn, the pet's name, their birthdate, a paw print, or even a quote.
The easiest way to fill an urn is to simply take the plastic bag containing the ashes and place them within the urn. However, if the urn opening is too small for this process, you may want to insert a wide-necked funnel into the opening of the urn. You'll want to carefully tip the ashes into the funnel and slowly shake the ashes into the urn.
We all want what's best for our pets, in life and again in death, understanding how we grieve and working through the grieving process is only one part of mourning our loss. Another (almost as crucial) component is finding the best way to keep our loved one's memory alive. For many, this can be curating a final resting spot for them.
As you explore your options, remember that your love for your pet keeps their memory alive more effectively than any amount of money you spent. Whatever you ultimately choose for your pet, we hope that your journey brings you peace.
April 11, 2022 by Frances Kay