Pet Cremation: Would you choose to be interred with your dear departed Pooch?

Cremation is storming our funeral industry as more and more Americans choose cremation for their final disposition.  The cremation rate in the U.S. has risen from around 20% in the mid-1990s to over 42% in 2013.  Forecasts expect it to reach over 60% by 2020.

Pet Cremation: A convenient final disposition for lost furry loved ones!

Cremation has been widely accepted as a means of conducting a final disposition for an animal for some time now, due to a smaller number of pet cemeteries around the country and the lack of green space for many families in metro areas to bury their furry departed.  With over 62% of American households owning at least one pet, this market presents a huge opportunity as a revenue-generating business.  As funeral profits are declining from traditional funerals, some funeral homes are expanding into the pet cremation market.  A number of funeral homes are even focusing on the funeral services that they can offer pet-loving families who may wish to conduct services to memorialize their departed pet.

As dogs and cats do not live the lifespan of an average adult, those of us who have furry members of our family, are likely to see several pass within our lifetime.  The ability to cremate a pet and then keep the cremated remains with the family, even if the family should move around, makes cremation an ideal option for pet owners.

There are also many memorialization options for pet cremated remains today.  You can have the ashes made into jewelry, a portrait or some other memorabilia that helps you keep the memory of a faithful departed pet close.

Legalities of interring human remains with pet remains

Until recently we had separate human and pet cemeteries, but it appears this law is in the process of change.  A new enactment by the New York Department of State will allow pet owners cremated remains to be interred with their beloved furry friends in pet cemeteries in the state.  This law came into place with effect from August 2nd 2014 and is a unique move to facilitate those pet-lovers who really want to rest for all eternity with their furry departed.  As a huge animal-loving nation this seems a very profitable strategy for New York’s pet cemeteries.

There are only a handful of states that have attempted to address the issue of the legalities of interring human cremated remains with pet remains. “It’s very much a state of flux right now,” states Poul Lemasters, an attorney and funeral director based in Cincinnati, Ohio is a consultant for the International Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association and the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance.

Virginia is proposing a similar regulation at present to allow pet cemeteries to be added to existing human cemeteries and Pennsylvania is one of the few states that will allow human bodies to be buried on pet cemeteries without having to be cremated, according to Lemasters.  In Florida, it is legal to bury humans and non-humans together, yet in Washington, a bill was rejected to allow animals to be buried in human cemeteries.

The ‘secret’ interment of pet cremains with their human master

According to Coleen Ellis, co-chair of the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance, this practice happens far more frequently than we are probably aware of.  The funeral director has the role of sealing a casket prior to burial, and Ellis reports that a number of funeral directors acknowledge that they have been asked by a family to place a pet urn inside a casket prior to its final disposition.

With 62% of American families owning pets, many of whom would prefer to be laid to rest with their faithful furry friends, the laws relating to interring human and animal remains together is likely to hot topic in the coming years. 


New York pet owners can now be buried with their deceased pets.

Written by

Sara is the Editor in Chief for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death care industry in the US for the last 15 years.