Hamsters and other pet rodents are living things and they have personalities, so we make emotional attachments to them just as we would do with other pets.
When they die it can be a hard time for people and some want to have a proper send-off for their pets. But can you cremate a hamster or another species of rodent?
Yes, you can cremate a hamster and other species of rodents. The process that happens for a hamster or rodent cremation is similar to the one that we have for a human or any other animal that has died. There are three main options besides doing it yourself, to have your hamster or rodent cremated.
Some people may bury their hamsters and rodents many more are now having cremations since they are able to keep the remains. This is a way to grieve and cherish the memory of your pet.
Below is more in-depth detail on what is steps to get a cremation and where to get them.
What is cremation and is it different for hamsters and rodents?
No, the actual process of cremation is no different for hamsters and rodents than it is for a human.
Cremation is the process of subjecting a dead creature to high heat, usually around 1600 degrees Fahrenheit. This intense heat will first cause evaporation of all the fluids then it will reduce the organic matter to its basic elements.
The corpse will become just bone fragments and are called cremated remains. The cremated remains will be light to dark gray in color and look like gravel and sand mixture. It may have different colors if the pet was wrapped in a colored blanket or from the box that it was in during the cremation.
After the actual cremation, the leftover remains are checked with a magnet to make sure there is nothing else in it such as metal (usually for humans).
They are then put into a pulverizer to ground them down. Depending on what type of service you have chosen the remains are then returned to you or disposed of by local laws.
The actual process takes about 30 minutes to a few hours. If the pet is alone then it is shorter and if it is a communal one it could take much longer. This is where the subtle differences between a regular cremation for a human and one for rodents and other pets lie.
What are the different types of cremations for pet rodents?
Besides you doing the cremation at home yourself, there are three other different types of cremations services that are usually offered.
These all end in the same, your hamster or rodent is reduced to ashes, the main difference is whether it happens by itself or with other creatures in the chamber.
- Home Cremation- While this is not a very common method some people opt to do it themselves. It is actually very hard to do this on your own. You will need extremely high heat and if you want to keep the ashes you will need a special container that can hold the remains of the hamster or rodent without melting. If you choose to do this, besides taking the necessary safety precautions, please check with local/ state laws and regulations as it is not legal in all states and counties.
- Communal Cremation: This is the most common type of cremation that is done. Your hamster or rodent will be put into the cremation chamber, but it will be with other pets and not specifically just rodents. There will not be any separation from the other animals. Upon the finish of the cremation, all of the ashes and bone fragments will be mixed in with one another. They will get pulverized together. If you choose to get the remains back they will be all together. If you want to view the cremations, you will have to ask the director, as there is not often a viewing room set up for this. Most people choose this option as it is the cheapest option and they usually don’t collect the remains. The price is around $50 to $100 depending on the weight of the rodent.
- Private Cremation: The “private cremation” name is not actually that private. They call it is because you will get back only your pets remains as opposed to having them mixed in with others like a communal cremation. During the cremation, there are dividers put in between your pet and the other person’s pets. So all the pets (again not specifically rodents) are in the cremation chamber together but separated. You are more likely to have a viewing room for this type of cremation for a small fee. The process is about double the communal cremation be will vary from place to place.
- Witnessed/Personal Cremation: This type of cremation will be the most expensive, but the most personalized. It is almost identical to the process a human would go through. You will have your own chamber and room for viewing. You will get back the remains as you would normally, but the cost will most likely be around three to four times the price. It is expensive since, in the time they are doing your cremation, they could be doing a communal one or even a private one for that price.
Where do I find a facility that does cremations?
To find a pet cremation facility, you can start by asking your veterinarian. If they cannot help you a local animal shelter would be another good choice. Both of these places probably have some sort of relationship with a facility that is reputable.
If both these places don’t have any connection you can go to The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement at www.aplb.org they have listings for you and you can search by the state.
When you do find a local cremation facility, ask whether they do mass or individual cremations. Some places will only do mass cremations and offer only mixed remains or none at all.
Also, you are entitled to tour the facility and see where and how everything is going to happen. Make sure to get everything in writing as well, the facility and you should take this just as seriously as cremation for a human.
What are the costs and what is usually included?
For a rodent to be cremated it will cost around $50.00 to $100.00. They usually charge by the weight of the creature and rodents tend to be lightweight.
- Pet cremation services will often be available to pick up your deceased pet 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you cannot drop it off yourself. They will still be open on holidays as well. The cost for this is around $50.00 for pick up. Upon pick up, you will be given an ID number to come claim the remains if you don’t’ wish to view the process.
- A same day service or a service where they hold the remains for an extended period are also other options people can choose. For the same day service, it can cost hundreds of dollars as it may disrupt the rest of their business. If you wanted them to store your pet they usually charge about $25.00 a day.
- If you choose to get back the remains you can provide your own container or purchase one from them. Some places even offer options such as a plastic bag, Tupperware containers, or urns for the remains to deposited into. Urns start at around $50.00 and can get very expensive if you choose something extravagant and engraved.
- If you are really struggling and want to talk to someone this business will have numbers and or places that offer emotional support. This would be free of charge.
- Some places will offer viewings for the cremation and this costs about $25.00.
How do I know I received my pets’ actual remains?
Most crematories offer a place to view for the cremation, which is the only way you can guarantees that your pet is placed into a separate section and or alone in the chamber. This being said, make sure you choose a reputable service if you are that worried about this issue.
How do you do this? Well, having a vet you trust or even friends who have undergone the same process will help you decide. Online reviews are also a good indication of impeccable service.
Do I need a casket for my pet rodent to be cremated?
No, you don’t need to have a casket or other any other type of container. Most often people will wrap their pet in a blanket or have them in a small shoebox.
You can create a casket yourself if you wish or buy one for the service. If you do not have one the rodent will be placed into the chamber without a covering, as it will not affect the cremation process.
Can I cremate my pet rodent’s favorite toys along with them?
This will depend on the crematory, while it may not make sense that they don’t accept one thing but another it is common. Most of the time it depends on local regulations on what particulate are allowed to be dispersed into the air. Be sure to check in advance with the facility.