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Pet Aquamation is an environmentally friendly, gentle and natural alternative to flame-based pet cremation. It is a water-based process known scientifically as Alkaline Hydrolysis and was patented in 1888; more than 120 years ago. The modern technology has been in place for over 25 years and is used for both pet and human disposition in prestigious hospitals like Mayo Clinic and other major universities across the country like UCLA and Duke University.
This process is essentially an accelerated version of what takes place during natural decomposition in the soil.
The body is respectfully placed into a container that is placed inside a clean, stainless steel machine. A combination of gentle water flow, warm temperature, and alkalinity are used to accelerate the natural process of tissue breakdown. All organic material is reduced to its most basic building blocks leaving a sterile water solution and mineral bone remains.
Dr. Barrett oversees all animal handling and pet Aquamation procedures.
Your pet is placed in a final warm water bath, not incinerated by fire.
There are no emissions of harmful greenhouse gases as in flame cremation. There is no production of methane gas or leakage of harmful chemicals into the soil as with ground burial.
The Aquamation process does not burn any fossil fuels, has greater than 90% energy savings compared to flame-based pet cremation and has only 1/10th of the carbon footprint.
Aquamation will result in more remains on average than flame cremation as some of the bone is destroyed and expelled into the atmosphere through incineration.
You have made a choice to honor your family member with a dignified and gentle goodbye that will not harm the environment.
Multiple pets are co-mingled in the machine and processed together. Their remains cannot be separated and will not be returned to the owner. The processed remains are respectfully returned to nature and scattered on private and public land.
Each pet is gently placed into its own individual cradle in the machine and is not co-mingled with other pets. They are processed separately which ensures you receive ONLY your pet’s remains.
You have the right to choose the aftercare option that best meets your needs. Most veterinary clinics will work with you to achieve a solution that works for you. You can download and complete the "Aquamation Request & Release Form" from our website and leave it with your pet's body at the veterinary clinic. Call our office to request a pick up from the clinic. You can also request Aquamation services and pick up using the online link on this page.
Use this form to request Aquamation Services and pet pick up from your home or your veterinary clinic. This form can also be used to provide personalized engraving information.
How will I know the remains I receive after Individual Aquamation are MY pet?
When Individual Aquamation is selected, we use a stainless steel identification tag to track your beloved pet from the time we receive them until their remains and the tag are returned to you. The tag has a unique serial number and is attached to your pet’s limb with a plastic band and is checked at each stage of the process. Your pet is gently placed into its own separate cradle in the machine and is not co-mingled with other pets. The bone remains are segregated from other pets throughout the entire process. This ensures you receive only your pet’s remains.
How long will it take to receive my pet’s remains?
As a more gentle and eco-conscious process, pet Aquamation takes longer than flame-based pet cremation, but less than 24 hours to complete. There is also a period for the bone remains to air dry naturally. You can expect your pet to be ready in 7-10 days.
How much energy can pet Aquamation save?
Pet Aquamation can save enough energy to drive 500 miles. That's from Tucson to Los Angeles!
Kindred Spirits stainless steel identification tag
Are the ash remains the same as with flame cremation?
No. A powdered “ash” is returned to the family in the same manner as flame-based pet cremation, but in the form of pure calcium phosphate. Each individual pet’s bone remains are rinsed, air dried, and processed into a sand-like powder. The powder remains are typically lighter in color as they are without the carbon discoloration that can occur with burning. Aquamation will result in up to 20% more remains than flame cremation as some of the bone is destroyed and expelled into the atmosphere through incineration. The remains will keep in an urn or may be buried or scattered in a special place if desired.
Are the bone remains safe to handle?
Yes. The remains are 100% safe and free of disease or pathogens after the process. The final remains are cooled during the clean water rinse and are safe to handle with bare hands immediately following the process. They are safe to scatter in the environment if desired.
Are the alkalis used in this process safe for the environment?
Yes. The water-based process uses a solution of 95% water and only 5% alkali; a combination of sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide. The alkalis used in this process are the same alkalis used in common cosmetic products, body washes, shaving creams, and even food preparation. At the end of the process, the chemical has been completely consumed, neutralized, and no longer remains in the water solution.
What is the impact of the water usage?
Incredibly low. Our Aquamation process uses the same amount of water one would use to give the pet a bath – far less water than other home activities such as washing a car. Water is used to carry out the hydrolysis process and for a final clean rinse of the machine and bone remains. At the end of the process, 99% of the water is returned to the wastewater treatment facility where it is recycled in the same manner as all other wastewater.
Is the remaining water solution, or effluent, corrosive or harmful?
No. The water solution is sterile, safe and free of disease or pathogens. It contains amino acids, sugars, salt and soap. The system automatically cools the effluent well below required discharge regulations and neutralizes the pH. The effluent actually has a preservative and beneficial effect on iron and steel pipes and is not harmful to plastic pipes. It is an excellent micronutrient package that can benefit wastewater treatment plants.
Does this process boil my pet or use acid?
NO! Aquamation occurs at temperatures below boiling and is a gentle, final warm bath for your pet. The alkalis used are the opposite of acids and work in the same manner as natural elements in the soil; like Mother Nature.
Can I drop my pet off at your location?
Yes, but it must be pre-arranged by appointment as our staff may be out of the building.
Flame Cremation vs Aquamation Remains