The answer is normally yes but it will depend on the working practices of the crematorium and any licensing conditions that may apply. An appointment time will have to be made and this will usually involve an additional charge.
However, when you ask this question you need to have a definite idea about what you want to see. Some of you may want to see your pet placed into the cremation unit. This may be linked to religious beliefs but may also be for reassurance of the procedures. Others may simply want to be present in the grounds at the time of the cremation. Cremations that are attended by the owner have to be scheduled into what is often a busy day. Our working practices are the same as a human crematorium but we may not have any ceremony. People often associate the ceremony at a human crematorium with the time of the cremation but it is not necessarily the case. Whilst the ceremonies are at a fixed time the actual cremations will be carried out in order and may be at a later time, although always by the end of the day. To carry out a cremation at a specific time means that some leeway must be allowed at the start to ensure the unit is available. This is why an extra charge is often levied.
If you want to see the start of the cremation to reassure yourself that it is your pet is being cremated alone then there are a few points to understand. Most genuine pet crematoria are small machines that are not allowed to use coffins for the cremation. To abide by the regulations the cremation unit must be raised to the correct temperature before the start of the procedure. This means your pet will be going into a very hot chamber which may result in instant combustion. You have to ask yourself if you really want this to be the last memory of your pet.
If you go ahead there is obviously a safety issue so you would have to follow instructions from the crematorium as to where to stand and you must not try to interfere with the procedure. It is normal for an additional member of staff to be present to prevent this. There have been cases in the past where people have collapsed when viewing the cremation and therefore some crematoria may not allow this. Your crematorium may have a viewing room where you can watch through a window or they may show it on a CCTV camera. However we know of places where they only show the pet going towards the unit, not the actual inside of the unit. This may be because it is not being carried out individually.
If you want to be reassured about the start of the cremation but do not want to see your pet go into the hot unit then we advise the following. Arrange a scheduled time for the cremation. Ask to see inside the unit before the start of the cremation. Ensure the hearth has been cleaned of all traces of previous cremations as poor operations will not take the trouble to gather all the remains. Wait for the unit to heat up again and arrange to stand somewhere you can feel part of the process without having to see the actual loading. The total time for the cremation and preparation of ashes will vary from about one and a half hours to four hours depending on the size of the pet. It is best to go off and come back later for the ashes but talk to the crematorium about what you want and what they are able to provide. For complete reassurance always use a member of the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries & Crematoria. We set standards to ensure your cremations are carried out correctly and in the in manner you rightfully expect.