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If your pet was cremated after passing away, you might be wondering what to do with their ashes.  Whether you’re waiting to get their ashes back and want to plan ahead, or you’ve had the ashes for a while, it’s important to know there’s no rush to make a decision. You can keep the ashes as long as you like while you make up your mind. 

From pet ashes keepsakes to scattering your pet’s ashes somewhere they loved, we’ll guide you through some of the different options you can choose from when you’re ready. 

Getting your pet’s ashes back 

If you know that you want your pet’s ashes back, make sure to let the right people know. If your vet is arranging the cremation, let your vet know. If you’re in direct contact with the crematorium, let them know. 

Most pet crematoriums offer 2 types of cremation – communal and individual. If you choose communal cremation, your pet will be cremated at the same time as other animals and the crematorium won’t be able to return their ashes to you. They can only return ashes from individual cremations. 

Choosing to not have the ashes back 

It’s important to note that you don’t have to have your pet’s ashes back if you don’t want to. If you chose a communal cremation for your pet, the crematorium will usually scatter all of the ashes together, in a garden of remembrance, on your behalf. If you chose an individual cremation, but don’t want your pet’s ashes back, that’s fine too. The crematorium can usually scatter them in their garden of remembrance for you, or they may return them to your vet, who can also dispose of them. 

Keeping your pet’s ashes 

If you’re unsure what to do with your pet’s ashes, it’s best to keep a hold of them until you know what you want to do with them. There’s no time limit on making this decision. Instead, you can keep the ashes in a safe place until you’ve made your mind up. 

It’s also completely fine to permanently keep your pet’s ashes. You might find comfort in having them nearby where you can see them day-to-day. There are lots of different pet ashes boxes to choose from. These range from a pet ashes urn to decorative boxes with engraved plaques, which can feature your pet’s name or a custom quote. 

Scattering your pet’s ashes

Another option is to scatter your pet’s ashes. This is one of the most popular choices. If you know that you’re going to scatter the ashes before your pet is cremated, it’s a good idea to let your vet or chosen pet crematorium know. They can make sure your pet’s ashes are returned in a scatter tube. A scatter tube for pet ashes is a simple tube with a lid that’s easy to remove, making scattering easier. If your pet has already been cremated and the ashes are in a different container, don’t worry. All urns and boxes for pet ashes can still be opened. It might just be a little less practical. 

Can you scatter pet ashes anywhere? 

Guidelines for scattering pet ashes in the UK are the same as scattering human ashes. You can scatter ashes on public land, as well as private land with the landowner’s permission. There aren’t specific laws that stop you from scattering ashes on land, but the Environmental Agency outlines the following guidelines that you should bear in mind: 

  • You must make sure the scattering doesn’t endanger human health or the environment 
  • You mustn’t cause a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals 
  • You mustn’t cause a nuisance through noise or odours 
  • You mustn’t adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest 


If you’re in England and are worried you can’t meet these criteria, you’ll need to apply for a bespoke permit from the Environment Agency

If you’re in Wales and are worried you can’t meet the criteria, you’ll need to apply for a permit from National Resources Wales.


Scattering pet ashes on National Trust land 

The National Trust owns and manages a lot of beautiful land. They don’t have an official policy on scattering pets ashes on their land, but they’re happy to consider requests, as long as scattering your pet’s ashes doesn’t cause any environmental issues. They ask that you scatter the ashes discreetly, in a way that won’t impact any other members’ enjoyment of the space. You also can’t leave markers or memorials on National Trust land. If you’d like a way to remember where you scattered your pet’s ashes, you can always use What3Words app to digitally mark the location. 

Scattering pet ashes in woodland 

Many people like to scatter ashes in woodland. Whether you spent a lot of time on walks through specific woods with your pet, or you’re simply looking for a tranquil and natural spot. The Woodland Trust is happy for you to scatter your pet’s ashes in most of their woodland. They just ask that you avoid ancient woodlands and scattering ashes near ancient or vulnerable trees. Like the National Trust, you can’t leave markers or memorials in the woodland, but you can use apps like What3Words to digitally mark the spot. You can find more information, or get in touch to ask questions, through the Woodland Trust website

Scattering pet ashes near water 

If you want to scatter your pet’s ashes near or over water, the Environment Agency asks you to: 

  • Choose somewhere away from buildings, swimmers, marinas and people fishing 
  • Choose somewhere at least 1km upstream of any abstraction of water 
  • Scatter the ashes as close to the surface of the water as you can 

You don’t need any permission to scatter ashes in the sea. 

Choosing where to scatter your pet’s ashes 

There’s no right or wrong place to scatter your pet’s ashes as long as you follow the guidelines above. You might want to scatter your pet’s ashes close to home, in your own garden. You might want to choose somewhere you spent a lot of time with them, or where you built memories together. Perhaps their favourite park, beach or woodland trail?Or you might prefer to scatter the ashes somewhere with beautiful scenery? 

How to scatter your pet’s ashes

There’s also no right or wrong way to scatter your pet’s ashes. If you’re unsure, we’ve suggested some steps that can help: 

  1. Choose your location and get permission if necessary. 
  2. Decide a date and time – you might want to scatter the ashes at sunrise or sunset, or maybe a time that your pet enjoyed, such as a time they used to go on a walk or have their meals. 
  3. Invite friends and family – you don’t have to invite friends and family. You might want to keep things small and intimate. But if you do, make sure to check when your loved ones are free and let them know the location and time. 
  4. Consider if you want to say anything – are there any words you’d like to say to commemorate your pet when you scatter their ashes? You don’t have to do this. But if you do, it’s good to plan a reading or choose a poem in advance. 
  5. Scatter the ashes – actually scattering your pet’s ashes can feel daunting. But it’s quite straightforward. Find a space that’s sheltered from strong winds. Carefully open the container and gently shake the ashes out. 
  6. Mark the location – if you want to mark the location, you can use an app like What3Words that will act as a digital marker and help you find the spot in the future. 


Burying your pet’s ashes

Another option is to bury your pet’s ashes. You can find more information on burying pet ashes in our article on pet cremations and burials. If you want to bury your pet’s ashes in a dedicated pet cemetery, you can also find a list of pet cemeteries in the UK here

Pet ashes jewellery 

Pet ashes jewellery is a popular choice and more jewellers are beginning to specialise in it. There are countless options and designs to choose from, so if this is something you’re considering, it’s a good idea to take your time and shop around. 

Whether you choose a simple pendant for pet ashes with a screw top lid, or have your pet’s ashes worked into a necklace, ring, bracelet or earrings, it’s a good way to keep your pet close. Most jewellers will only need a small amount of your pet’s ashes, so depending on the size of your pet, you’ll usually have enough for several items. Or you could have some jewellery made and scatter or bury the rest. 

Can you turn pet ashes into diamonds? 

Yes, your pet’s ashes can be turned into diamonds. There are several companies that specialise in this process. Diamonds are naturally made from carbon and grow under high pressure and high temperature. Your pet’s fur or hair is rich in carbon and specialist companies can use HPHT (high pressure high temperature) technology to transform them into lab-grown diamonds. 

Can you turn pet ashes into glass? 

Pet ashes can also be turned into glass. Professional glaziers can add layers of ashes to molten glass to create beautiful glass which can then be moulded into jewellery, paperweights and other glass items. 

Pet memorial tattoos 

Pet memorial tattoos are becoming more common. Celebrities like Orlando Bloom and Jennifer Aniston have dedicated tattoos to their faithful companions. You can read more about this in our article “celebrities on pet loss”. 

There are some specialist companies who claim to sterilise ashes, removing contaminants to make the ash safe for use in tattoo ink. You can read more about this on the Co-Op funerals website. Of course, it’s always important to do your research and choose professional companies to carry out any tattoo, including ashes tattoos.


Image by Dagmara Dombrovska on Pexels.