Understanding Pet Aquamation and Traditional Cremation: Which is Right For You?

Caring for pets is endlessly rewarding—they are the lights of our lives. But when one of those lights goes out, it’s hard to process the darkness and loneliness their absence leaves behind. Hard choices have to be made. Fortunately, aftercare options have come a long way from the “backyard burial,” and pet owners have choices in how to honor their beloved family companion. Two popular options are pet aquamation and traditional cremation. Eco-friendly and gentle, pet aquamation is a gentle alternative to cremation.

aquamation and creamtion

Traditional cremation, which is performed in an incineration chamber with flames at high temperatures, is one way to safely process animal remains. Pet Aquamation is a water-and-salt-based cremation process (also called alkaline hydrolysis) that also breaks down biomatter. At Tranquil Tides, pet aquamation is our specialty, and we’re proud to offer it as a respectful, low-impact way to honor your furry family member. It is similar to the process used on humans. Understanding the features of each option can help you make a decision that respects your priorities.


Environmental Impact: Is There A Green Option?

 As a grieving pet owner, you’re faced with many difficult choices. You should feel free to choose a service that honors your pet AND honors your values. At Tranquil Tides, we place a high value on eco-friendly products and services, and it’s one of the reasons we offer and encourage pet aquamation.

Gentle water flow, alkaline, and a low temperature work to dissolve soft tissues, leaving only the “ash” of bone mineral material. In fact, even the wastewater generated by the process (about as much as two or three pet baths) is so inert and clean that it can reenter the municipal water supply without treatment. Flameless and gentle, pet aquamation produces no emissions, uses 90% less energy, and allows you to take home more of your pet’s ashes than cremation by fire.

Traditional cremation uses intense heat to incinerate biomatter, releasing harmful emissions into the environment and leaving a sizable carbon footprint. With this method, less of a pet’s ashes are returned.


Cost Considerations: What to Expect

 Cost is always a factor—but it’s important to know what you get for your money. Prices vary for pet aquamation and traditional cremation. Both services use specialized equipment, and the method you choose can have a range of price points. Traditional cremation may offer lower costs through communal cremation (incinerating multiple animals at once), but this may also result in mixed ashes.

At Tranquil Tides, we strive to honor your pet’s remains, treating them with respect from beginning to end. Because our water-based process takes longer, it may cost more than traditional cremation. You can choose communal aquamation or your pet can have their own private chamber, guaranteeing that the ashes you get are theirs, and theirs only.

To get an estimate on cost and begin your healing process, call Tranquil Tides at 417-830-4794.

Emotional and Personal Preferences

Broken with grief female dog grieving owner holding the lovely pet collar and deep weeping about animal loss. Home pets relatives and love concept.

Pet aquamation or traditional cremation: which is the right option? That depends on you.

At Tranquil Tides, we can help ease your pain—and your pet’s passing—with the gentle nature of aquamation. Many clients prefer this method because it simply accelerates what would have occurred naturally in Mother Nature.


Traditional cremation is also a viable option. Some pet owners prefer it because of their familiarity with the process and the resulting ashes. The ashes produced by each method look slightly different; aquamation ashes are fine and white, whereas cremation ashes are coarse and gray. Both kinds can be stored safely in an urn or receptacle.


Availability and Accessibility

 Pet aquamation was invented way back in 1888. Today, though not as widely available as traditional cremation, it continues to gain popularity as a gentle, eco-friendly alternative. If you’re curious about your options for pet aftercare, talk with your veterinarian or contact us at Tranquil Tides to discuss your options. We serve Springfield and the surrounding area in Southwest Missouri. Contact us here to see if pet aquamation is a good option for you and your pet.

Timeframe: Understanding the Process Duration

When you’re grieving, the time between losing a pet and being reunited with them can be an important factor. Fueled by fire at high temperatures, traditional cremation is faster, with the ashes sometimes returned the same day.

The aquamation process typically takes longer (up to 20 hours) to complete. Because it is a gentle, water-based process, additional drying time is required before the remains can be returned. Tranquil Tides strives to complete the entire process within seven to 10 days.

Final Remains: Handling and Memorial Options

Pet Aquamation Memorial

 Both aquamation and cremation processes allow pet owners to receive pet remains. The results are similar, but not exactly the same. Aquamation typically produces a fine, white powder that is sterile, pathogen-free, and disease-free. Ashes produced by incineration are darker in color and coarser in texture. Both types of ash, however, are safe to spread into nature or keep in a receptacle. If you prefer, part of our service includes the option to spread your pet’s ashes on our land as a natural fertilizer.

At Tranquil Tides, our aquamation packages include:

  • Complimentary wooden urn with custom picture engraving
  • Fur clipping or feather clipping keepsake
  • Certificate of Aquamation
  • Ink paw/feather/fin/tail print keepsake

Sourced from maple—a highly sustainable hardwood—our beautiful standard urn is made in the USA. Our wooden urns come engraved with an image of your beloved pet, plus their name and dates. You are also welcome to provide your own urn. We will transfer the ashes for you.

Once your beloved companion is in our care, our artists can capture an imprint of your pet’s paw, claws, or hoof. For your littlest loved ones, like fish and reptiles, we can capture an imprint of the fin or tail. We can even add fur or a feather clipping.

Call us at 417-830-4794 to discuss how we can help.

Emotional and Support Resources

Losing a pet is painful, and having access to grief support is an important part of the healing process. Providers of both pet aquamation and traditional cremation services often offer grief support resources.

At Tranquil Tides, we grieve with you for the loss of every furry friend. We understand that the idea of cremation can be frightening; it sure was for us when we lost our beloved pup, Marshall. We didn’t like the idea of his remains being burned up. That’s when we discovered a gentler, more environmentally friendly option called pet aquamation. After going through the process ourselves, we knew we had to help other pet lovers by offering this wonderful service.

Tranquil Tides—Helping Through The Hurt

When a pet passes, it helps to know you’re not alone. At Tranquil Tides, we take pride in “helping through the hurt” when our clients need us most. As you process your loss and decide how to honor your beloved companion, it may help to read about how we’ve been able to help:

“Highly recommend! Our baby Honey passed away on a weekend. Most places that handle things like this are only open throughout the week. But Tranquil Tides was open and able to get us in quickly!”

– Google Review from Brittany Butler

Brittany Butler

“Caroline is the only choice in pet cremation. She makes a really difficult situation easier on you and your family by considering your grief and treating your beloved pet with grace and dignity.”

Google Review from James Perry

James Perry

“We lost our SASHA-BINX after a difficult health issue…We needed to feel the kindness and respect Caroline showed us and Sasha. We are so [grateful] for this help during our hurt.”

Google Review from Charles “Chip” Warner

Charles Warner


Pet aquamation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis, is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional cremation. It uses a water-and-salt-based solution to gently break down your pet’s remains, resulting in a fine, white ash.

Traditional cremation involves incinerating the pet’s body at high temperatures in an incineration chamber, producing coarse, gray ashes. It is similar to the process used for humans.

Pet aquamation is more environmentally friendly. It uses 90% less energy than traditional cremation, produces no emissions, and the wastewater generated can safely reenter the municipal water supply.

Pet aquamation may cost more than traditional cremation due to the longer process time. Traditional cremation may be cheaper, especially with communal options where multiple pets are cremated together, but this can result in mixed ashes.

Aquamation produces fine, white ashes, while traditional cremation results in darker, coarser ashes. Both types of ashes can be safely stored or spread in nature.

Traditional cremation is faster, often returning ashes the same day. Pet aquamation can take up to 20 hours, with an additional drying period, typically completing within seven to ten days.

Yes, Tranquil Tides offers various memorial options with aquamation, including a complimentary wooden urn with custom engraving, fur or feather clipping keepsakes, a certificate of aquamation, and ink paw or fin prints.

While not as widely available as traditional cremation, pet aquamation is gaining popularity. Availability may vary by location, so it’s best to consult with your veterinarian or contact local providers like Tranquil Tides.

Many pet owners find comfort in aquamation’s gentle, natural process. It can help ease the pain of loss by knowing your pet’s remains are handled in an eco-friendly and respectful manner.

Yes, providers of both pet aquamation and traditional cremation often offer grief support resources. Tranquil Tides, for example, offers empathetic support and resources to help pet owners through their grieving process.