Dog cremation vs burial: What's better for my pet?

For many owners, their dog is their most loyal companion. So thinking about their final days and weighing up dog cremation vs burial can be heartbreaking. But deciding ahead of time what you will do when your dog crosses the Rainbow Bridge can be easier for you and your family later on.

While grieving the loss of your beloved animal companion is important, owners will need to weigh up dog cremation vs burial.

This article explains the options for dog cremation vs burial and what’s involved, to help you consider the most appropriate arrangement to honour your furry friend.

Is it better to cremate or bury a pet?

Deciding on either dog cremation or burial generally comes down to personal circumstances and preferences. Owners generally consider factors including the cost of a dog cremation, availability of yard space for a burial, and if they are likely to move house in the future.

Should I bury my dog in the backyard?

Burying your dog in the backyard ensures they remain close and allows you to conveniently visit their final resting place. This option also allows you to personalise your pet’s grave with a plaque or some other marker.

A backyard dog burial may not be a viable option if you are living in an apartment or simply don’t have the space. Another disadvantage is if you think you may move house in the future and don’t want to leave your beloved pet behind.

If a backyard burial is not an option but you would still like to bury your dog, you could also consider a dog burial at a pet cemetery. Pet cemeteries exist across Australia, allowing pets to be laid to rest with dignity and respect, while providing owners with a place to visit them. 

Should I cremate my dog?

If burial is not practical, you might prefer to cremate your pup.

For centuries, cremation has been a method of final disposition for humans. But in modern times, dog cremation is also becoming a popular option.

Pet cremations can be a more practical option for owners with a large dog, or for those who live in apartments with little or no yard space for a burial. Other owners may prefer a dog cremation because the thought of handling their fur child’s body is too distressing.

With a dog cremation, owners have a few options for what to do with the ashes.

There’s the option to keep the ashes close by in an urn or keepsake box to display. It also allows you to take your pet with you if you move house later on. Alternatively, you might prefer to scatter your furry friend’s ashes someplace special. 

Cremated ashes can also be buried. Some owners like to keep their dog’s ashes so that they may be buried together once they themselves have died. 

There are two ways a dog cremation can take place – either by individual cremation, or a group cremation. This generally depends on your provider or budget.

Individual dog cremation

An individual cremation is where each dog is cremated on their own. That way, you can be sure the ashes returned home are your pet’s alone. All cremations arranged by Goodbye Good Boy are individual.

Group dog cremation

Group dog cremation is where many animals are cremated together. It is generally a much cheaper service .

A personalised memorial box keepsake is included with each Goodbye Good Boy cremation.

Pros and cons of dog cremation vs burial

A home burial can be a great option for pet owners who live in rural areas, or who have a large backyard.

The downside to burying your dog in the backyard is that you must consider if you are planning on staying at that property forever. Your pet can’t come with you. If your residence is not likely to be permanent, what is your plan for when you move house in the future?

Anthropologist Samantha Hurn argues that digging a grave to bury your dog can be a cathartic act and a key part of the pet grief process. Consequently, cremation can be viewed as a more ‘sanitised’ option that can remove bereaved pet owners from the process. To compensate for this, owners who cremate their dogs often focus on memorialising their pets in some way, as a way to keep part of them close at all times.

Dog cremation memorial options might be displaying the ashes in an urn or keepsake at home, or having the ashes made into jewellery.

Memorialising your dog after they have died means you don’t have to forget your furry friend. At Goodbye Good Boy, we offer personalised memorial options including a timber keepsake box with your dog’s name on it, a paw print and tuft of fur, and a digital PAW-trait of your best mate created by our artists, based on a photo of your choosing.

Memorial PAW-traits of some of the dog cremations we have arranged at Goodbye Good Boy.

Considerations for dog cremation vs burial

There are many things to consider when weighing up dog cremation vs burial after a beloved pet has died. When your fur child has been put to sleep, there are a number of options for how to dispose of their body.

Deciding between a dog cremation or burial is generally the most common decision to make. However, now is also a good time to consider what you’d like done with the cremated ashes. Determining this could sway your decision.

There is real benefit in considering the options for your pet's end-of-life early, rather than waiting until both you and your pet are at a time of high stress.

At Goodbye Good Boy, we also offer pre-paid pet cremation services. Our instalment plans allow owners to prepare - both emotionally and financially - for a loving farewell, whenever the time comes.

Consider where the remains or ashes will be kept or scattered, along with any memorial options. You might choose to turn the ashes into jewellery, get a tattoo of your little mate, or put up a photo or have a piece of artwork commissioned. Or perhaps taxidermy might even be more your style.

If you are struggling to decide between dog cremation vs burial, a vet will usually be able to dispose of your pet’s body for a small fee. This will usually be through a group cremation, then the ashes are disposed of and cannot be returned.

Bear in mind that you can choose any provider you wish. While your vet might have a partnership with a crematorium, the choice is ultimately yours. So go with the provider that best suits your needs.

There are no right or wrong choices when it comes to farewelling a pet. But making the decision can be difficult. Discussing your options with the caring team at Goodbye Good Boy can make the decision a little easier.

Give our arrangers a call on 1800 573 186, or visit our blog for additional resources.

About us

Goodbye Good Boy is Australia’s premier pet end-of-life service. From grief counselling to euthanasia and cremation services, to fitting memorial options, we’re here to help you navigate your pet's end-of-life journey.

Dedicated owners treat their pets as equals in life. Goodbye Good Boy promises the same in death - offering a similar type of send-off you would expect for any other family member.