Dog with tongue out

 

Written by Jenny Goldade

 

According to the 2017-2018 American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of U.S. households have at least one pet. The survey also found that 59% of dog owners and 56% of cat owners consider their pet a family member.

 

This means when their pet eventually passes away, they may want a funeral service. Pet funerals are becoming more common, as are writing pet obituaries. They were more than just a pet, so families want to honor their life and pay their respects.

 

Your funeral home can cater to pet-owning families by offering pet memorial services. Let’s discuss some ways you can create or update your funeral home’s pet memorial services.

 

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Three Main Elements

The main elements to consider for pet funerals are preplanning, cremation or burial, and personalization.

 

Preplanning:

With preplanning, families should decide if they want their pet buried or cremated. They also should decide the memorial service type and if they want any memorial products — such as a clay paw print or fur clipping.

 

Cremation or Burial:

As you know, there are many different types of pet burial and cremation. For burial, you can help them choose a legal burial location or find a local pet cemetery. For cremation, you can see if they prefer private or communal cremation.

 

Personalization:

There are many ways to add a personal touch to a pet’s funeral, such as:

  • Creating a meaningful Tribute Video to honor their life.
  • Choosing floral arrangements that represent love — such as roses or carnations.
  • Choosing plants or flowers in the family’s yard that their pet liked to roam around.
  • Setting up a memorabilia display with their toys, collar, food dish, and other possessions.
  • Get permission to have the funeral or reception in a special location like a local park.

Purrfect Memorialization Ideas

Below are a few mementos that your funeral home can offer your families:

  • Clay paw print
  • Locks of fur
  • Memorial jewelry
  • Keepsake keychains
  • Garden memorial stone

You also can suggest some DIY pet mementos or even host some workshops for creating these mementos, such as a collar-wrapped candle. Hosting events such as workshops or educational luncheons can help get the word out about your funeral home’s pet memorial services.

 

Another way you can help families memorialize their pets is to create a memorial garden. It gives families a special place to scatter their pet’s ashes or dedicate a memorial in their honor.

 

Some important questions to consider when planning your memorial garden are:

  1. What will the design look like?
  2. Where will it be located?
  3. What flowers and plants will you include?
  4. What memorial statues or other unique features will you include?

You may want to reach out to a local landscaper to get their feedback and determine what plants grow best in your area.

 

Accreditations and Memberships

With accreditations and memberships, your staff can be lifelong learners and your funeral home can become your community’s trusted pet memorial services location.

 

Some memberships that you may want to consider are the International Association of Pet Cemeteries & Crematories (IAOPCC) and Pet Loss Professionals Alliance (PLPA). Membership for PLPA is $245 and you must be an ICCFA member.

 

If you own a pet funeral home, the IAOPCC regular membership is $395 per year and $100 one-time initiation fee. If you’re starting a pet funeral home, it’s $300 per year with a limit of three years until you must switch to the regular membership.

 

Two useful accreditations are from the IAOPCC and the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). To be eligible for the IAOPCC Accreditation program, you must be an IAOPCC member. To complete the NFDA Pet Cremation Authorization form, you need to be an NFDA member.

 

What to learn more? Download our free Pet Memorial Services eBook!