How to make your pet funeral memorable

When a pet passes away, the impact on a family can be huge, so finding a way to celebrate your pet’s life can be a great way to reconcile and work through your grief together. For so many Australians, pets are a major part of the family. In fact, research shows that nearly 9 in 10 Australian families consider their pets as part of the family just as much as their partner or children. So, like any other family member, they deserve a dignified send-off to honour their memory.

While organised pet funerals (the types of services held via a professional pet funeral company) are becoming increasingly popular, many Australians think there’s something particularly meaningful about holding your own. Here are some suggestions for making your pet funeral memorable and special.

The logistics of organising a pet funeral

While nothing can truly prepare you for the loss of a pet, knowing what to expect can help ease the stress during this hard time. If your pet has passed away within the care of a vet, they will likely give you a few options for aftercare. One involves taking care of your pet’s body for you.

Generally, this will incur a small fee and will involve cremation. If you do decide to go down this route, it’s important to note that the ashes will generally be scattered, and you won’t be able to have them returned to you, so ask your local vet about their policy. You may also choose to take your pet home with you, which would allow you to hold your own burial. If you do decide on a backyard burial, be sure to check the guidelines in your local council as laws vary from state to state.

If your pet has passed away at home, most vets and crematoriums are also able to pick them up for you. You can also look into specific websites such as Pet Memorial Australia who provide information on a range of options available to pet owners such as, services like pet cremation, personalised pet memorials, and resources to help you through the grieving process.

You may also prefer to drop your pet off at the vet or crematorium yourself. For ease of transportation, it’s best to tuck your pet’s front and back legs tight into the body.

Saying goodbye to your pet

Even if it wasn’t sudden, one of the most difficult things about losing a pet is the sense of finality. It can be hard coming to terms with the fact that your constant companion was here one day and gone the next. This is especially true for younger children, who may not yet fully understand the concept of death.

Holding a service is a great way to gain some much-needed closure for the whole family. Whether you hold it in your backyard, at a pet cemetery or at a park they loved, it’s a touching way to memorialise your pet. Much like any other service, you can incorporate music (there are many beautiful songs about pets) and a eulogy. You may also choose to invite your loved ones such as friends and extended family, who can share some of their fondest memories of your pet.

Another option is cremation, and there are many pet crematoriums that provide this service. You may decide to scatter your pet’s ashes in the ocean at their favourite beach or keep them in a special urn forever. You can even get a custom urn created with an image of your pet to commemorate their life. Pet cremation services are specific to your location and state, so it’s worth doing an online search for a service near you. Download our Pet Funeral [Checklist] to ensure you’ve covered everything for your pet’s farewell.

Memorialising your pet

While your pet may no longer be here, there are many wonderful and unique ways you can keep their memory alive. Some options include:

Planting a tree

Some people choose to honour their deceased pet’s life by planting a tree — perhaps in that one spot where they always liked to hang out, explore or burrow. As the tree grows over the years, you’ll always have something to remember them by. You may also choose to incorporate this into your pet’s funeral.

Creating keepsakes out of their belongings

To commemorate your pet’s life, you may choose to have jewellery or a wind chime made from their collar tag. Other people choose to have a portrait created of their pet or have their ashes turned into diamonds (after all, your pet was a gem!).

Incorporating digital memories

The beauty of smartphones is that many of us have thousands of photos and videos of our pets. You can incorporate this into your pet’s funeral by creating a slideshow or video to show on a TV screen, projector or even just your computer. This is a wonderful way to add some levity to the funeral. After all, it’s impossible not to laugh as you relive that hilarious thing your dog did with their paws, or the way your cat always used to steal your food!

Creating a shrine dedicated to them

You may want to consider creating a dedication shrine that loved ones can visit from time to time. This could include printed photos of your four-legged friend and some of their other belongings, whether it’s their favourite chew toy or that one-and-only bowl they would drink out of. All these items help paint a picture of your pet’s unique personality and quirks. If you do decide to cremate, you could also keep the urn at the shrine.

Saying goodbye to your pet is never easy. It’s often an emotionally overwhelming time when your pet passes on. However, by following some of the ideas discussed here, hopefully you’ll be able to create the memorable farewell your beloved pet deserves — one that’s personal and special.

Losing a pet is always difficult, but giving them a wonderful and loving farewell can help with the process of letting go and celebrating their life. Pet Insurance can help with costs before the loss of your beloved family member. Find out more about pet insurance options by comparing with Choosi.

Have a look at Choosi's pet funeral checklist to stay on top of planning your pet’s farewell.

Download the Pet Funeral [Checklist]