A RECORD one million of us cremate our pets each year – but experts warn to shop around as costs can spiral.

Eighty per cent of the 1.2million pets who die each year are cremated, with many owners letting their vets take care of all matters. But this might not be the cheapest option.

 Shop around to cremate your pets as costs spiral, experts warn

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Shop around to cremate your pets as costs spiral, experts warnCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Kevin Spurgeon, director of the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria (APPCC) says people could save money by going directly to crematoriums and cemeteries.

Kevin says: “To ensure your pet gets the send-off they deserve and to avoid paying an inflated price for a basic service, don’t just go with the service your vet offers you.

“I recommend calling or visiting your local pet crematorium to see what services they offer — ideally well before any sad time comes.

“As well as fees, it is important to specifically ask how your pet will be transported, handled, stored, cremated and identified throughout.

Kevin, who is also the owner of Dignity Pet Crematorium added: “Apart from the APPCC, sites are not independently inspected so services can vary hugely.”

Customised keepsakes

Pet cremation generally costs up to £150, depending on the animal’s size, your choice of urn and if you want the ashes directly sent to your home.

But costs can be up to £1,000 if a headstone and customised keepsakes such as cremation jewellery/art or ash key­chains are included.

A cheaper option is a communal cremation — where pets are cremated together — from £5 to £30.

Some owners swerve cremation in favour of burial.

Nick Ricketts, at Paws To Rest, which offers pet cremation and burial in Armathwaite near Carlisle, says religious preferences and wanting to commemorate a faithful pet are the main reasons why people pick burials.

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He adds: “It’s quite a personal thing and, in this country, it’s still treated as a quirky thing to do anything for your pet.” Pet burials range from £300 to £750, depending on the coffin and whether it is marked with a headstone, plaque or plant.

Stephen Mayles, senior partner at Chestnut Lodge Pet Crematorium in East Grinstead, says that, provided you own your own home and garden, you can legally bury your pet in your garden for free.

They must not have had any treatment that could be considered hazardous (chemotherapy could fall under this) and anyone in doubt over this should consult their vet.

He says: “Pets may be buried in the property they lived in unless they are considered a hazard to human health.

“It is quite alright to bury in your own garden but you are not allowed to bury your pet in, say, a friend’s garden.

“Pets should always be buried at a reasonable depth, of one metre, and the grave should be kept away from any water courses.”

President of the British Veterinary Association, Daniella Dos Santos, says vets are trained to help owners deal with all aspects of their pet’s death.

She says: “Handling euthanasia sensitively is a part of every small- animal vet’s daily work.

“Vets will take the time to talk through the different options available and it’s important that owners ask as many questions as they need so that they receive the service that’s right for them.”

STAR OF THE WEEK

COOPER was rejected by potential owners, as he “wasn’t perfect”.

But his big personality inspired his owner to write a book.

His light nose and blue eyes had put some people off, but Natalia Ashton, 42, knew the three-year-old cocker spaniel was for her.

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Natalia, from Lincolnshire, said: “I had lost my first dog, Oscar, and as soon as I saw Cooper my heart just said he was destined for me.”

So much so, she took him home the same day.

Their unbreakable bond has inspired Natalia to write her very own book called Perfect Cocker Spaniel – based on the joy a pet can bring.

She added: “Cooper may not have been “perfect” for some, but he is my perfect cocker spaniel.”

Check the star out on Instagram: @cooper.spaniel.

Pet vet

JOANNE KAYE, 36, from Twickenham, South West London, has a cat called Flynn who has a mad hour at about midnight each night.

Q. Flynn runs around like crazy, bouncing off furniture and walls, hiding under things and dashing out. He’s really noisy and sometimes knocks things over. Most of the day he’s chilled out. Any ideas why?

A: This is a common behaviour in cats and dogs, often called “zoomies”. It’s an excitable, high-stimulation mental state where they run, jump and play, usually after a period of rest.

Cats will run up and down stairs, bounce off furniture and walls, climb the curtains or lie in wait and pounce on unsuspecting passers-by.

It’s thought to be more common in cats that don’t get as much stimulation as ones which get outside more often. Most of the behaviours are motivated by hunting and pouncing instincts, so if you’ve got two cats they’ll often play zoomies together. Don’t worry – it’s perfectly normal.

DANIEL BEIRNE, 44, from Coombe, East Sussex, has an eight-year-old Labradoodle called Archie and is worried about him being too frisky.
Q: Archie was neutered when he was a pup, but he still seems a bit frisky. Sometimes we see his “lipstick” and I just wonder if may be his neutering didn’t work fully.

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A: Unless Archie’s still got visible testicles, it’s unlikely his neutering didn’t go to plan.

Some dogs can be a cryptorchid, which means one or both testicles are located in the abdomen.

But your vet would have found this when he was being neutered and removed them.

An ultra-rare occurrence would be a third testicle in the abdomen that was never detected.

But by far the most common reason for his “lipstick” popping out is excitement. Some male dogs just get overstimulated when they see a potential new friend. Even without testosterone on board, other happy hormones and chemicals in his brain kick in.

It’s not a bone in his pocket, he’s just very happy to see you!

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