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Advice about pet cremations

Regulation and control over the pet cremation industry is virtually non-existent and your pet may not always get the cremation service you expect. It is very much a case of 'buyer beware' and you should take a cautious approach to trusting the person who is selling you the cremation.

Legal requirements ensure pet crematoria operate under licensing, but only as waste or animal disposal sites. There are no requirements to carry out cremations in a dignified manner or even to ensure individual cremations are carried out on their own.

The guidelines for the regulations allow pet owners to have the ashes of their pet back and infer they should only be that pet's ashes. However this is not investigated or confirmed by the inspectors that visit the sites. 

The Association of Private Pet Cemeteries & Crematoria (APPCC) has set a standard of service to protect the pet owner from shoddy and disreputable operators - visit the APPCC website or call the helpline on tel. 01252 844478 to confirm the crematorium you are thinking of using is a member.

If you feel there is a problem with one of the members, contact the APPCC and they will investigate. It is in their interests to ensure all members operate properly - one bad firm can bring down the reputations of everyone.

Most of you will arrange the cremation through your veterinary surgery and it is here the most confusion arises. Veterinary practices are quite rightly concerned with keeping your pets healthy and alive with the best possible quality of life. They are our trusted professionals in that respect. They are not trained in carrying out cremations or in knowing how those cremations should be carried out.

The surgery has a duty to dispose of any animals that are left on their premises. In some countries it is normal for vets to simply provide a list of companies owners may take their pets to. Unfortunately, it is common in the UK for vets to arrange cremations for their clients. Some may assume that all pet crematoria are the same and choose the best deal that will not only give them a good profit from selling the cremation service but also enable them to have their veterinary waste taken away at the same time. Pets and waste - not the sort of combination you would want for your loved one.

If you want to ensure your pet gets the cremation he deserves, make sure you use a member of the APPCC. Go to the association website to check the validity of the member. Make the arrangements directly with the crematorium and never be afraid to question their procedures.

You may also like to read:

Coming to terms with euthanasia

How to cope with the death of a cat

My cat was killed on the road

The right time to put a cat to sleep

Ways to remember your cat