Pet Urn Sizes
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When it comes to the sizes you will need for a pet urn, experts say you should follow the same rule of thumb used in the memorial industry for humans: you need one cubic inch of urn space for each pound that an animal weights.
This rule of thumb is designed to assure that, in the vast majority of cases, an urn that you order will be larger than you need to accommodate all of your pet’s remains. In other words, it leads to a conservative estimate. In fact, the remains of a 10 pound animal, for example, will usually fit into an urn that is even slightly smaller than 10 pounds. An urn that is as small as 7 cubic inches will often suffice.
While the one-pound-per-cubic-inch rule is usually very reliable, occasions will arise when it is not quite accurate. To protect yourself in such situations, it is best to make absolutely certain of your urn seller’s return policy before placing an order. Most reputable establishments will be happy to accept a return -- and offer you a full refund or credit -- if you discover only after receiving the urn that it is too small. Two common conditions for such returns are that the buyer will pay for the return shipping and that, of course, the ashes may not have been placed into the urn. (Many states prohibit by law the return of used cremations urns of any type.)
Another thing to consider if you discover that your pet’s remains will not fit into your urn is the reliability of the establishment that conducted the cremation. While cases are rare, some unscrupulous pet cremation operators have been known to cremate many pets at once, mix the ashes, and then divide them evenly among the various pet owners. In some cases this arrangement is known in advance to the pet owners, but in others, the owners are led to believe that the remains they receive are entirely of their own pet. If your crematory returns you many more ashes than you were expecting, this could be a sign of foul play. A quick, friendly check of the crematory’s background (with the Better Business Bureau, local veterinarians and even state regulators) may be in order before proceeding.
If despite assurances from memorial industry experts that the one-pound-per cubic-inch rule is almost always adequate, you desire a more thorough estimate before ordering an urn, you can use the following steps after you have received the ashes from the crematory to achieve a precise measure of how big your pet’s urn will have to be.
First, measure the depth and width of the temporary container provided by the crematory. (A common size is 4.25” depth and 6” width.) Open the temporary container so that you can see the ashes (if you are uncomfortable doing this, do not be afraid to ask a friend or even a crematory employee to do it for you). Measure from the bottom of the container to the top of the ashes – which are often packaged in a separate plastic bag. Multiply the measurement in step 2 by the depth of the container. Then multiply that product by the width of the container. Your result will be the number of cubic inches required for the ashes.
And, finally, you should not be worried significantly about buying too large of an urn. It is quite common for pet owners to buy urns that are 50, 70 cubic inches or even more for pets that weighted even under 10 pounds. Also, if the urn that you select turns out to be too small, an option is to purchase a second, smaller “keepsake” urn or “keepsake jewelry” that will hold the remaining ashes.
The bottom line with this consideration is to simply buy the urn that you want, the urn that will suit your needs for properly memorializing your beloved pet. The size of the urn will, more often than not, be no factor at all.
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