Individual Pet Cremation

Trust the Pet Crematorium that has Your Interests at Heart

The main question everyone asks about an individual pet cremation is “Will my pet be handled on its own and will I get the correct ashes back?” It is a natural reaction to be suspicious as everyone seems to have heard some dreadful story about the process. The question is particularly relevant as pet crematoria are only controlled as animal by-product sites and the actual cremation part of the process opnly fall under the Consumer Protection Regulations. Unfortunately these only come into play if anyone makes a complaint, otherwise they have no impact on the cremation services.

Firstly, when the term individual cremation, or even just cremation, is used then it implies a process similar to a human cremation – one body at a time. That is what people have a right to expect. The only group in the UK setting genuine standards for pet cremation is The Association of Private Pet Cemeteries & Crematoria (APPCC) and all their members carry out individual cremations this way. Chestnut Lodge are Founder Members of the Asociatuion and have always upheld the principles. You still have to trust us to carry out those processes correctly but hopefully the information we provide you with will convince you that we are the best at what we do and have your interests at heart. In the end you must be receiving the service you expect and are paying for.

The correct procedure for carrying out an individual cremation is as follows. Your pet is carefully placed into a clean cremation chamber, with our units there is a solid hearth which we consider to be the best option. A label is put on to the cremator with details of your pet and the time of the cremation is noted in the daily diary. The label stays with your pet’s remains through the entire system. The cremation continues until nothing is left but sterile bone fragments. When they are cooled to the correct temperature they are drawn into a tray and all traces taken from the hearth by brushing it carefully. All visible remains are carefully taken out before the start of the next cremation. There will always be a few tiny pieces of the hearth with the ashes but this cannot be avoided if all your pet’s ashes are to be recovered. Some crematoriums amy place your pet on a tray since this helps to prevent absorption of fluids into the brickwork of the hearth. Obviously there must be no more than one pet in the chamber and the hearth always must be checked on completion for any remains that may have fallen out. Cremation is a volatile and unpredictable process and the remains may be scattered across the hearth. We consider this to be unnecessary and have always found the sweeping to be the best and most efficient solution.The remains taken from the cremator consist of fragments of bone. These are processed through a cremulator which reduces them to a fine ash suitable for return or scattering. The cremulator is carefully cleaned each time. The ashes are then packed into whichever casket or urn has been chosen. The original label stays with the ashes all the time and is carefully checked against the original cremation request.

Individual cremation is a term that is commonly used within the pet bereavement industry but it is a term that is largely abused. Many so called pet crematoria will try to avoid being pinned down to the term individual by using other descriptions such as “return of ashes service”, “cremation on numbered trays” or even “special” or “private” cremation. If you see this you should suspect that the pets are being cremated together. There may be some kind of separation but due to the volatile nature of cremation nobody could guarantee the ashes would not be mixed. Unfortunately, even if a cremation is called individual it may still be carried out in this manner. If you as the pet owner are happy with a system like this then all well and good but many people receive this type of service when they are expecting their pets to be individually cremated. That is wrong.

We have always carried out individual cremations as totally individual and performed with the greatet of care.Of course the cremation service is not just about the technical side. All the way through your pet will be handled with care and respect and at Chestnut Lodge we carry everything out as if you were standing next to us at all times.That is the way any cremation service should be.

In general, veterinary staff have very little knowledge of the correct procedures for the cremation of pets despite regularly selling the services to their clients. They make the mistake of believing all pet crematoria are the same. There is a website aimed at veterinary professionals that is run by The APPCC. The site gives detailed information on the procedures for a pet cremation as well as information about regulations concerning pet crematoriums and the handling of deceased pets. In particular it highlights a Pet Cremation Charter that correctly describes the cremation service to the pet owner without any danger of misinterpretation. Until this Charter is adopted throughout the veterinary world pet owners should be careful about the cremation services they choose.

At Chestnut Lodge Pet Crematorium we carry out all individual pet cremations according to The APPCC Code of practice. We have never carried them out any other way and never will. You can be absolutely sure that we will never abuse the trust you place in us.


Copyright Stephen Mayles. All rights reserved