Should You Offer Funeral Services (Not Just Cremations) For Pets?

Cremation DISCOVER Funeral Industry News Pet Service December 23, 2021
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Should You Offer Funeral Services (Not Just Cremations) For Pets?

Funerals for pets? What?!

Consider this:

  1. For many Americans, pets are part of the family.
  2. The wildly lucrative pet care industry reported spending of 99 billion dollars in 2020.
  3. An estimated 67% of American families own a pet.

These numbers have been on an upward trend for some time now.

A lot of American pet owners are Millennials, the most likely demographic to own pets (32%). Millennials, it’s worth noting, are also known for delaying or altogether foregoing having children. While one may elect to be “child-free” for any number of reasons, it’s not uncommon for those of us who have no kids to have pets, even rather a lot of pets, and to spoil them quite rotten throughout their brief lives.

Millennials aren’t likely to require death care services for themselves anytime soon… but pets don’t live as long as people.

From this, you may extrapolate.

Case in Point: Mr. and Mrs. Crazy Cat Lady

While not of the Millennial generation—I’m an X-er, myself—I fall square into that stereotype, dead-center. My husband and I have no children, but we do have multiple cats. We’ve always had multiple cats. We spoil them silly. Our pets are absolutely our “kids.”

For us, as for other pet owners who take their pets as seriously as we take ours, devotion manifests in financial ways: quality regular medical/dental care, organic food, beds, toys, tools, et-cetera. Currently, our cat devotion manifests as twice-daily meds for two of the felines with seizure disorders, who also require extensive quarterly blood testing; twice daily meds for the one with a thyroid condition, whose blood tests are, at this time, bi-monthly; and special organic food for another with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (for which she required exploratory surgery in 2014).

First-world problems, perhaps, but the point is made: we prioritize the needs of our animals. We even selected the house we recently purchased in part because of its layout (no stairs), because it was safer for Kurt, who has grand mal seizures.

When the time comes to say goodbye to these little sweet creatures, it’s families like ours that will be taking final farewells somewhat further than might be more common, or conventional, or economical. As befits their place in our lives, and as we did for them in life.

Does it Make Sense For Your Business?

The demand is there, but you’ll need to be in a location where such souls are thick on the ground, so to speak, to make adding pet options worthwhile for your business. Dense, urban areas obviously provide more potential client base for this type of side-venture.

Relationships with local veterinarians will be important to this venture. The Pet Loss Professionals Alliance (PLPA) offers useful resources to members.

Grieving for a pet can be very different than grieving for a human; people may be sensitive to openly acknowledging the depth of their grief. Can integrating substantial new knowledge into your current business culture be achieved practically?

Educate yourself on the nuances of providing such options of care.

What are Funeral Homes Offering for Pets?

They’re out there, from coast to coast.

Beyond just the traditional services such as cremation that have been provided to veterinarians and individual pet owners for many years, the fast-growing pet death care industry consists of an enhanced suite of options available to grieving pet owners. Not only handling disposition of remains, funeral homes provide services of different types, including viewings and embalming, online and electronic memorials, urns, coffins, jewelry, and interment ceremonies at pet cemeteries and columbariums, some exclusively for pets, others accepting pets and owners together.

Funeralwise.com offers a subsection of its site dedicated to honoring and remembering a pet. Pet owners can also pre-arrange for their pet’s funeral and burial or cremation.

Additional resources made available to pet funeral clients:

Thank you to Connecting Directors contributing author Jennifer Trudeau for this great story!