Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is cremation? What happens to my pet’s body while it’s in your care?

Please see Our Process – What happens to Your Pet’s Body.

What is the difference between flame cremation and water cremation?

Please see Eco-Friendly Water Cremation.

When will my pet be picked up?

Pick up typically occurs the same day we receive a call from you (for a home pick up) or from your veterinary clinic (in Whatcom County).  For referring veterinary clinics outside of Whatcom County pick up is weekly. You are also welcome to bring your pet’s body to our facility.

How long will it take to get my pet’s cremated remains back?

Your pet’s after-care package will be ready for pick up in about 7-10 days.  Most pet parents pick up their pet’s after-care package from Radiant Heart in Bellingham (see the Contact page of our website for a map with directions).

For referring veterinary clinics outside of Whatcom County, after-care packages are returned to the clinic on a weekly basis.

If you order custom services, such as engraving services, then additional time may be required.

You will be notified when your pet’s after-care package is ready for pick up.

How do I know if the remains I’m getting back really belong to my pet?

We utilize a strict chain of custody and tracking procedure that includes the use of numbered steel ID tags. Your pet’s steel ID tag will stay with them throughout the cremation process (including in the crematorium). After cremation, the tag will be cleaned (so that you can read the number) and attached to the bag holding your pet’s cremated remains.

Using steel ID tags is the only way to guarantee the return of your pet’s cremated remains. Once a pet is cremated it is impossible to tell who the cremains belong to, unless there is a steel ID tag in the cremated remains to confirm the identity. Using steel ID tags and a strict chain of custody allows Radiant Heart to guarantee, with 100% surety, the return of your pet’s — and only your pet’s — cremated remains.

See Our Process for more information.

Who can use your services?

Anyone. You have a choice for your pet’s after-care. Even if your veterinarian is not a referring veterinary service, you can still use our services.

May I inspect the facility where the cremation will be performed?

Absolutely. Our entire facility is open to the public.

What do you do with communal cremated remains?

See Communal Cremations.

Are you willing to cremate a toy with my pet’s body?

Occasionally a pet parent will request that an object (such as a toy, blanket, note/poem, or flower) be cremated with their pet.

With flame cremation, if the object is made of natural materials (cotton, hemp, paper, flowers, etc.) then yes, we will be happy to cremate the object with your pet. However, objects made from non-natural material (rubber, polyester, etc.) cannot be cremated.  In the case of a stuffed toy with a natural fiber shell and non-natural stuffing, the stuffing can be removed and the shell can be cremated with the pet. Use of our flame crematorium is regulated by Northwest Clean Air Agency.

With eco-friendly water cremation (aquamation), only the pet’s body is allowed in the crematorium.

What is a “witnessed” cremation?

See Witnessed Cremations.

Do you offer payment plans?

Yes. We recognize that sometimes a pet’s death occurs unexpectedly during a financially difficult time for the pet parent, so we offer payment plans via

Do you accept Care Credit?

Unfortunately we do not accept Care Credit.  Care Credit requires the businesses they work with to have a veterinarian on-site.

Can I donate money to help low-income pet parents pay for cremation services?

Yes. Please contact Radiant Heart for information.

If I pay by credit card, what will you do with my information?

We do not retain credit card information electronically or in a paper format. Period. If for some reason your credit card information must be written down for temporary reference, once payment is processed then that information is shredded.

Do you provide pet cremation service for large animals, like horses?

Currently we can cremate pets that weigh up to about 300 lbs.

For larger pets, please refer to Horses and Other Large Animal Cremation.

How can I know if an urn I’m interested in buying is large enough for my pet?

First, make sure that you know the internal dimensions and/or volume of the urn.

The industry rule of thumb for flame cremation is that you will need one cubic inch of urn volume for each pound your pet weighs prior to cremation. That said, the cremation of a ten pound cat could result in a higher volume of cremated remains than a twenty pound dog. It all depends on the bone structure of the pet.

For water cremation you will need approximately 1.25 square inches of urn volume for each pound.

To be absolutely certain, consider waiting until you have your pet’s cremated remains. Radiant Heart is happy to provide the actual volume measurement for you.

If I leave my pet’s bedding with you, what happens to it?

Towels and blankets that are in good shape are laundered and donated to local veterinary services.

My dog had surgery on her ACL. What happens to the hardware?

Pieces of surgical hardware (plates, rods, nails, pins, screws, and sometimes wires) often survive cremation. When we remove a pet’s cremated remains from the crematorium, if surgical hardware is present then we will see it. When surgical hardware is found in the cremated remains of a pet, it is placed in a separate plastic bag with the pet’s ID number. The bag is placed in the pet’s after-care package.

If I have cremated remains for a pet, but Radiant Heart didn’t perform the cremation, can I still order jewelry or art that incorporates cremated remains?

Absolutely. Simply bring your pet’s urn to our facility. We will carefully remove the small amount required for the item you would like to purchase.  You may also mail a sample to us, and we would be happy to send you a collection kit.

What if I want to keep one of my pet’s bones?

Please let us know at the time you confirm your order, and we will do our best to save a bone for you prior to griding the rest of the cremains.

With flame and water cremation, typically one or more bones (often vertebrae) will remain in-tact and solid enough to be saved. However, the bones will still be fragile and will need to be carefully handled and stored.

The strength of a pet’s bones, and the chance to save a bone, largely depends on the pet’s age and health.  Older pets have much more fragile bones than younger pets.

What if I don’t want my pet’s bones ground at all?

No problem. Just ask. However, the cremation process (both flame and water) will result in at least some bone deterioration.  You will most likely receive a combination of whole and fragmented bone.

My pet died at a veterinary clinic and the clinic uses Radiant Heart for pet cremation. I paid the clinic for my pet’s cremation, but the price I paid at the clinic is different than the price listed on your website.  Why?

Radiant Heart sells all of our products and services directly to pet parents.  We also sell just cremation service to veterinary services on a wholesale basis.  These veterinary services then set their own pricing for pet cremation.  This is the most common form of pet cremation re-sale throughout the United States.

Pet parents have the option of purchasing pet cremation through a veterinary service or through Radiant Heart.