Embracing closure: how pet cremation helps singaporean families heal


An adult daughter sits on a couch with her elderly mum and dad. They are smiling

Embracing closure: how pet cremation helps singaporean families heal

On pet loss

Every family that owns a pet will inevitably go through the wrenching experience of pet loss. In Singapore, many families keep pets and count their pets not as property, but as true members of the family who offer emotional support, friendship, and happiness. When a pet dies, the family will go on a grueling journey of grief and reconciliation to loss. Grief is a heavy and often overwhelming emotion and process and it takes its own time and extracts a powerful toll, just ask anyone who has experienced loss. So, in this blog post, I’d like to explore how pet cremation in Singapore is a meaningful way for families to fully process their grief and emerge from this process with healing, wisdom, and memories of their pet. 

For many Singaporean families who count a pet as a family member, they will remember so much about their pet: from the particular timbre in the voice of a pet bird to the way their dog was the best cuddle companion on a rainy day. Pets often live on in our memories as constant companions through the mundane and the dramatic, and the recollection of multiple afternoons watching TV with the dog transform into one long uninterrupted twilight. Since pets do not work, have careers, buy trinkets, or write poems, every memory of the pet is inextricably tied to the very being of the pet. 

Regulations on disposing of pet’s body in Singapore

As such, pet cremation in Singapore is a very meaningful way to celebrate the life of the pet as it is a way to dispose of the pet’s body in a respectful way. As an asides, in Singapore, disposal of a pet’s body is governed by strict rules from the National Environmental Agency.

The bodies of small pets can be disposed with common waste, and they will be incinerated in our Waste-to-Energy plants. Some people might view this as an upsetting practice as their pet is not trash. In addition, as stipulated by the law, larger pets must be cremated in a commercial pet crematorium. But, although pet cremation is required by the law, it doesn’t mean that the process should be viewed strictly as something that you are forced to do. Done the right way, it can be transformed into a healing experience that bonds your family, as well as a chance to mutually share the memories of your beloved pet. 

Here are some ways that Singaporean families have personalized their pet cremation in Singapore:

Opting for a private cremation so that they can attend the cremation service

Many Singaporean families opt for a private cremation for their pet. During this process, the pet’s body is cremated in its own chamber. As such it is possible for the family to witness the cremation of the pet. At many pet crematoriums, it is also possible to have a pre-cremation viewing. Many bereaved pet families will bring photographs and videos of their pet for communal viewing. This allows the pet families to reminisce about the life of the pet rather than to focus on the pet’s death. His life was more than his death, as such, it only makes sense to focus your attention on it.

Incorporate family traditions into the cremation service

Another way in which Singaporean families turn the pet cremation into a personalized memorial is that they incorporate family traditions in order to celebrate their pet’s contribution to their family. Family traditions could include serving family member’s favourite food with a pet-theme.

Invite friends of the pet and the family to reminisce

The pet cremation service can be used as an opportunity to invite the pet’s family and friends to come together and remember the life of the pet. This can be done through storytelling, reciting poetry, and sharing photographs and videos of the pet. As such, the pet cremation will be a ceremony to remember the life of the pet and the joy that he brought. 

Incorporate spiritual beliefs into the cremation service

Many Singaporean families follow a religion, and like to incorporate their spiritual beliefs and rites into the pet cremation ceremony. This can be accomplished by praying for the departed pet and singing hymns. Atheists might consider that their pet has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. No matter what your spiritual belief, witnessing the cremation happen is an experience that will give you closure as you watch the flames take your pet and return him to carbon, whence we all came. 


Pet loss will almost certainly not be a joyful occasion. In fact, I do acknowledge that it can be a traumatizing and disruptive experience. However, in Singapore at least, pet cremation can be viewed as a way to respectfully bid goodbye to your pet, and the occasion can be turned into a time to reflect, remember, and feel love for the pet and for family.

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