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Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

Features April 2013 Issue

Making a decision about the dog's body

If possible, decide in advance of the euthanasia what you want to have done with your dog’s body. The vet is going to ask, and that’s one less decision you’ll have to make on the day your dog dies. There are four choices:

- Take the body home and dig a grave in the backyard. (States have laws about the required depth of the hole, and it may have to be quite big for a large dog.)

- Cremate your pet. Her ashes will come back in a box, typically a week or more later. (The cost of cremation ranges from about $150 to $300, depending on the size of the dog and the area of the country where you live.)

- Choose mass cremation. Your dog’s body will be burned with those of other dogs, so the ashes are not returned. But it’s less expensive than individual cremation, running from roughly $50 to $150.

- Inter your dog in a pet cemetery. As far back as the time of ancient Egypt, people have been burying their pets in ritual fashion. There are more than 600 pet cemeteries in the U.S., according to the International Association of Pet Cemeteries. Most operate in conjunction with other pet-related businesses, such as boarding kennels and grooming centers. In some cases there’s a chapel on the cemetery grounds. For more information, look up the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories at www.iaopc.com, or call (800) 952-5541.

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