To everyone who has lost a dear, sweet bun in the past, our sincere condolences. Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult events in our lives, no matter if the deceased is of the human or furry variety. Even though this is a topic no one really likes to think about, we thought we’d take this opportunity to talk about death. Specifically, what happens with our rabbits when they pass away.
We humans are advised to have a will in preparation for any sudden fatal accidents or illnesses. We think that it is equally important to prepare for a house rabbit’s death. After all, making a good decision will be much harder when we are overcome with grief. So here are some of the options we have when our bunnies pass away. We decided to present all the ones we found relevant, without judgment.
If you have a bit of land and don’t expect to move in the near future, you might want to bury your pet in your backyard. It’s a good idea to call your local authorities and ask if the burial of a pet is allowed and if there are any restrictions, as this can vary between areas. At the very least you want to call your local utility providers before you dig anywhere. They will send someone over to your property within 2 business days and mark underground lines for free, no questions asked. The grave itself should be as deep as possible to avoid interference from wild animals. Your state, county, or town might even have regulations around that, but 3-4 feet is a good minimum. Some people like the idea of wrapping the body in plastic and placing it in a casket for further protection, others prefer to keep all materials bio-degradable. Caskets can be made out of crates, baskets, wood, or cardboard or you can purchase one from places like etsy or an online/local pet burial service. Even headstones, mausoleums, and urns are available. The great thing about a grave on your own property is that you can decorate it as you wish and visit it as often as you like.
If you would like to have your rabbit buried in your backyard, you can also contact the local pet cemetery and request a home-burial. That way you get the professional service, but your pet stays with you near your home.
A quick google search made it pretty clear – there are many pet cemeteries all over the United States. Many of these places offer full burial or cremation services for pets. One pet cemetery local to us even writes: “We encourage pre-planning, as it is easier to make selections prior to the loss of your pet. At this time you can choose casket and plot, and setup a payment plan according to your budget.” Costs for such a burial vary based on where you are located and what kind of casket you choose, but after calling several different cemeteries it should be around $350 for a pet rabbit, including the plot of land, a simple casket, and a private service.
The process of cremation includes high-temperature burning of bodies with ashes as the final result. Your vet will know a trustworthy service in your area or you can find one yourself. Either way, there are two kinds of cremation services available. You can choose a communal one where several animals are cremated at once. This is the less expensive option, but you cannot get your pet’s remains returned to you, as they are mixed with those of other pets. An individual or private cremation is more expensive, but you can opt to keep the remains. If you do that, you will receive the ashes in a sealed bag inside a sturdy box or another specialized container. Some places allow you to be present while the cremation is going on and they generally offer personalized urns, headstones, or lockets/pendants. You can also purchase those on etsy or other websites. Prices depend on the services you ask for, but should range anywhere from $30-$400.
Once your rabbit is cremated, there are several things you can do with the remains. You could bury them in your backyard or a pet cemetery and place a grave marker on top. Planting a tree or a small flower garden right above the grave would also be a great memorial. Some people like to keep the remains in an urn and have it on display over the fireplace or in another area of the home. Spreading the ashes in a park or your rabbit’s favorite spot in the backyard is also an option. If you want to keep your rabbit’s remains with you at all times, you can purchase a memorial locket that could hold the ashes and a picture or poem. Life Gem also offers diamond rings made from the cremated remains of pets and other loved ones.
There are several businesses out there that can preserve a deceased pet rabbit and create a lasting memorial for the bereaved. Taxidermy involves preparing and stuffing the skin of the animal, but there is also a special freeze dry technology that leaves the pet intact. The costs for such services range from $150-800 for a pet rabbit (prices are based on weight).
Most animals smaller than a cat can be disposed of with the regular trash. All you need to do is place the animal in a sealed plastic bag with a a visible note attached that confirms what’s inside. Please check with your local authorities to confirm (you might have to schedule a special pick-up).
Here are a few websites we came across while researching. Please note that Bunny Approved is not affiliated with these businesses in any way.
Perpetual Pet – Freeze-Dry Technology Pet Preservation
Taxidermy Studio – Specialist in Pet Preservation
Peternity – Grave Markers, Urns, Keepsakes, and More
Memorial Lockets – On Etsy
Everlife Memorials – Plaques, Jewelry, Keepsakes, and More
LifeGem – Cremated Remains into Jewelry
Art from Ashes – Glass Art from Cremated Remains
Remember Rocks – Engraved Rocks and Grave Markers