My Dog Died: Why I chose Dog Cremation


Picture of the white legs and dark brown paw pads of a dog.

My Dog Died: Why I chose Dog Cremation

My ten year old rottweiler mix passed one year ago, and his death presented me with myriad problems on top of the cataclysm of grief that collided into me upon his death. In this guest blog, I wish to share my experiences and what I have learnt on how to handle the death and the body of a large pet (I will go into this issue further below, but basically, the National Environmental Agency has some strict rules on what you can do if a pet that is larger than a bird or a hamster dies).

How to dispose of your dead pet

The National Environmental Agency has strict rules regarding how to dispose of your pet’s body. If you have a small pet, like a hamster, bird, or fish, you can bag up the body in a plastic bag and dispose of it along with general waste. To learn more about that, you may wish to read our other blog article on that topic. Large pets like cats or dogs cannot be disposed of with general waste. But for dog and cat parents, this is the really important part: Large pets like cats or dogs cannot be disposed of with general waste. This is because the incinerator that disposes of general waste is not equipped to process and incinerate the bodies of larger animals.

Dog parents have the choice of burial or cremation. According to Environmental Public Health (Public Cleansing) Regulations, public lands cannot be used for burial of an animal. Burying a pet dog is only possible if you own a private property and use your compound for that, as long as the carcass does not present threat or nuisance to public health. For HDB dwellers, I know we all love our dogs and want the best for them, and so you might be thinking, is it possible to bury your dog in a cemetery? Well, in Singapore, there are no commercially available burial grounds for pets. This leaves the option of cremation in a commercial pet crematorium.

Since I live in a HDB flat, I decided to go with dog cremation. For me, the choice was not just out of necessity, even people who own private properties will see that there are drawbacks to burying a pet in their garden: it would be emotionally wrenching to ever move away or to sell the house, as that would mean leaving their pet behind. At least with cremation, my dog’s body would be transformed into an inert substance that would never decay and I would be able to keep my dog’s ashes with me wherever I went.

How to Arrange a Pet Cremation

The next step that any bereaved pet parent should do is to call a pet crematorium of their choice and arrange for the pickup of their pet. 

There are three different options for the type of cremation that you wish your dog to have, read on to find out what they are:

  1. Communal cremation
    Your pet will be cremated alongside other animals in the same chamber. During this process, all of the bodies will be incinerated together. As such, it is not possible for the pet parent to attend the service and the ashes of the pet cannot be recovered.
  2. Individual cremation
    Similar to communal cremation, the pet is cremated in the same chamber as other pets, however, their body will be separated from the others by a partition. This makes it possible to retain the ashes from the pet, but its also not possible to witness the service.
  3. Private cremation
    This service is for pet parents who want to witness the sending off of their pet, it also allows for retaining the ashes as the pet will be cremated in its own chamber.

For my dog, I chose a private cremation for two reasons: The first is that I wanted to be able to attend the service and take a last look at him before he was delivered into the flames. The second is that I wished to retain his ashes and keep them with me for as long as possible, until I was finally ready to let him go.

After the Cremation

After the cremation, pet parents will have three options regarding what to do with their pet’s ashes:

  1. Keeping them at home in an urn
    • This is what I went for. My dog got me through many tough times, especially struggles in completing my thesis and the pandemic years. So I could not bear to leave him alone and decided to keep the ashes on my bookcase. At the pet crematorium, I selected a pretty urn that I felt reflected his personality: it was sturdy, the colour of metal, and decorated with paw prints. Over time, that shelf became a small shrine where I have placed two frame photographs as well as some of the toys that I found lying around my home.
  2. Placing them in a pet columbarium
    • Pet columbariums are an option for the pet parent who cannot bear to part with the ashes but also wants the ashes to have a form of companionship. Most pet columbariums are pleasant, garden-like places with displays for the urns of ashes and it is here that you can imagine your pet, running free and enjoying the friendship of all the other pets.
  3. Sea scattering
    • What is a greater freedom than being returned to nature?
    • Most pet crematoriums in Singapore also offer the option of scattering the ashes at sea. This occurs at the midpoint between Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin. If it seems a bit impersonal to scatter the ashes of your pet in the sea, you can think of it as a never-ending trip to the beach.


In conclusion, my dog’s death was really sad and to this day, I’m still not reconciled to no longer having him around. However I felt that the dog cremation route was integral to expressing the grief and celebrating his life as I had the opportunity to get closure when I witnessed the cremation of my dog. Also, I have his ashes so that I can remember his time on earth.

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