Pet aftercare options: practical decisions at a traumatic time

Losing a friend is a devastating experience to go through, even without the additional burden of having to make practical decisions at a time when you are not functioning normally. Choosing whether to bury or cremate your faithful friend is one of the biggest decisions you will be asked to make at this difficult time, and it is always best to think about the options in advance if at all possible. In this way you can avoid possible regrets in future, resulting from decisions necessarily taken in haste whilst in a fragile emotional state.

There are two main options here, burial and cremation, and we take a look at some practical considerations concerning both.


  • UK law allows pets to be buried either at your own property or at a licensed pet cemetery
  • It’s wise to ensure that there is a metre of soil above the grave, in order to prevent wild animals disturbing your pet’s final resting place
  • Burying your pet at home brings some comfort in that your pet is close by, in a garden that he or she loved. However, if you subsequently move house it can be distressing to leave your pet behind. If you have young children they might find this particularly upsetting.
  • Planting a tree gives a permanent memory of your pet, but again this can be difficult to leave behind if you ever move. Perhaps you might like to consider dedicating a potted shrub to your pet’s memory – this can be taken with you when you move
  • If you choose a pet cemetery as your pet’s final resting place, we recommend that you think about:
    • Arrangements for marking the grave – are you able to choose and place your own marker?
    • Opening times – will you be able to visit your pet easily (especially important if you have to travel far)
    • Annual maintenance fees – what is the ongoing charge for upkeep of the plot, and what would happen to your pet’s grave if the business ceased to operate?

Details on locations of pet burial grounds near you can be found by visiting The Ralph Site.

Pet aftercare options


Consider whether you would like an individual cremation for your pet, or whether it would be acceptable to opt for a shared cremation. Not everyone wants to have their pet’s ashes returned, and in this case a shared cremation can be a practical consideration.

If it is important to you that your pet receives an individual cremation (so that you can be certain that the ashes returned to you are those of your beloved animal) then we recommend you ensure that the crematorium you choose is a member of the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries & Crematoria, where this is standard practice.

Talk to the crematorium staff about your wishes – it may be possible to view the procedure if you would like to do so

A wide choice of urns and caskets are available (including those in our own shop). You may wish to provide your own container for your pet’s ashes, and your chosen crematorium can advise you on the specific requirements here.

Details on the locations of pet crematoria in the UK can be found by visiting The Ralph Site.

When considering this upsetting subject, you might also find it useful to speak with family and friends about their experiences and choices – they will undoubtedly have a wealth of advice they would be only too happy to share.

To read a bit more about pet aftercare options, please visit The Ralph Site HERE.

Until next time very best wishes,

The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.

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