What is a Pet Cemetery?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Pet cemeteries offer burial services for pets.
Pet cemeteries offer burial services for pets.

A pet cemetery is a cemetery which offers burial services to animals. The services at a pet cemetery vary, with some comparing to facilities designed for humans, while others are a bit less elaborate and diverse. One of the most famous pet cemeteries in the world is the Bubbling Well Pet Memorial Park in Napa, California, which inspired Errol Morris' famous film Gates of Heaven.

In many regions there are laws about humans and pets being buried together, creating a necessity for pet cemeteries.
In many regions there are laws about humans and pets being buried together, creating a necessity for pet cemeteries.

Like a human cemetery, a pet cemetery is a designated location for the burial of animals, often with a focus on cats and dogs, although services may extend to other animals as well. Many people feel like their pets are members of the family, and they wish to treat their pets with the same respect they would offer to deceased human loved ones, providing them with burial services, graves, and headstones to memorialize them.

A typical pet cemetery offers burial in a variety of plots, and often contracts with a firm to make grave markers ranging from plaques to headstones. Many pet cemeteries also offer cremation, with cremains being scattered or buried in the cemetery, or given back to the pet's owner. Technologies like tissue digestion are available to pet cemeteries as well, and some offer options like group burial or natural burial.

In many regions, strict laws prevent pets and humans from being buried together. A pet cemetery is one way to get around this problem for pet owners who are concerned about how their animals will be handled after death. In some cases, a pet cemetery adjoins a designated human cemetery, for owners who would like to be buried close to their pets, and the same company may administer to both facilities.

The pricing of services at a pet cemetery varies. Many facilities provide detailed brochures to members of the public, and veterinary offices also tend to have information about regional pet cemeteries. Some veterinarians offer to hold bodies for pickup, for pet owners who do not want to handle their animals after death.

As a general rule, a range of services are available for cats and dogs, at an array of prices from modest to extravagant. For larger animals like livestock, a personal discussion with the administrator of the pet cemetery may be necessary, as pet horses and cattle present some challenging logistics to cemetery personnel.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a AllThingsNature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a AllThingsNature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

LisaLou

I have had to put a few dogs to sleep and that is one of the hardest things I have done. I don't know how much a dog cremation costs, but I do know that many people are doing this and keeping the ashes.

This is an option for people who live in the city or don't have the space to bury their pets at home. Many people treat their pets like their kids, so I am not surprised that they want to have nice arrangements for them when the time comes.

sunshined

I live in the country, so have never had to consider something like this. At first it sounded kind of strange, but after reading about it, I can understand the reasons why some people would use a service like this.

We have had to bury many of our pets - dogs, cats and horses and it is never easy. I have each place marked in a special way so I can remember them. I will usually plant some perennial flowers by the spot that come up every year also.

SarahSon

Pet cemeteries are becoming more common than they used to be. We become very attached to our pets, and they become like family members. For many people, this is a nice alternative. There is a memorial pet cemetery that I drive by on my way to work, and I see it being used more frequently.

If you don't live in a place where you can bury your pets in your yard, and don't want to leave them with the vet, this is another option.

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    • Pet cemeteries offer burial services for pets.
      By: Michael Pettigrew
      Pet cemeteries offer burial services for pets.
    • In many regions there are laws about humans and pets being buried together, creating a necessity for pet cemeteries.
      By: restucciacarlo
      In many regions there are laws about humans and pets being buried together, creating a necessity for pet cemeteries.