🐶 Whats The Best Way To Bury A Dog? [2022]

Pros Cons Of Home Burial

Reasons why home burial may be right for you include:

  • Grieving- no two people respond to the loss of a pet the same way. For some, having them buried at home is a great comfort.
  • Environment- done well, a pet burial will be carbon neutral and your animal goes back to the soil.
  • Cost- we have to be realistic about what people can afford.

However, home burial is only an option, and these days less people do it. I suspect the reasons are:

  • Difficulty- a good home burial is both physically and emotionally draining.
  • Availability- many people don’t have access to suitable land, especially if they are renting or live in an apartment.
  • Preference- the Animal Welfare League here provides a good cremation service that most owners find very comforting.

Another potential problem (as discussed in the comments below), is leaching of the pentobarbitone from the body into surrounding soil. Euthanasia drugs appear to persist for a long time in the environment. This is of particular concern if food crops are being harvested in the vicinity.

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Pet Cemetery

Growing up, my neighbors up the road ran a pet cemetery. Fun fact: amputated human body parts are often buried in them, as well!

Pet cemeteries are pretty easy to find with the old Google. They are especially good choices for very large companions, though Loving Rest, one of the cemeteries in my city, offers burial for fish and small pets.

Alternatives to Burying Your Dog in the Backyard

Backyard pet burials aren’t for everyone, and there are several alternatives to consider if you’re on the fence or convinced it isn’t best for you.

Some dog burial alternatives include:

  • Pet cemetery: At these facilities, the bulk of the work surrounding dog burial is handled for a fee, including digging the hole and maintaining the grounds. Most are traditional grave sites like human cemeteries while others have mausoleums with spots that you buy. This can cost upwards of $500 for the burial plot and handling charges, and you may also need to pay yearly maintenance fees.
  • Cremation: This involves incinerating remains into ash that you can store at home in a pet urn or have made into pet memorial jewelry. Dog cremation generally costs anywhere from $150 to over $1000, and typically involves receiving your dog’s ashes back within a few days. Pricing is greatly impacted by your dog’s size and whether you choose communal cremation or private cremation.
  • Alkaline hydrolysis: More environmentally friendly than cremation, alkaline hydrolysis is a process that uses water, alkaline chemicals, and heat to break down the body. This isn’t as widely available as cremation, however, though pricing can be comparable.
  • Donating for research: For doggos with rare or hard-to-treat conditions, this is one of the most selfless ways you can handle his body. Some universities are looking for deceased dogs with rare medical maladies to study in hopes of saving lives in the future.
  • Taxidermy: While this certainly isn’t the option for most, you can have your dog preserved via taxidermy. This is an expensive process, with fees beginning around $1000. If done well, it can look like your dog is simply resting, though it can be difficult to see them forever stiff.

Cemeteries Aren’t Always Permanent Though it isn’t very common, it’s worth considering the fact that pet cemeteries are occasionally sold or repurposed. This can cause you to have to revisit your pet’s death many years afterward, which can obviously be traumatic. Just be sure to inquire about your chosen cemetery’s long-term land rights and plans. 

Step 3: If You Chose to Bury Your Pet —

If you want to bury your pet there are some things you need to find out in advance.

If you are a renter you need to get the owners permission. Although they may never know or find out if you do it without permission, it is still better to ask.

You need to find out what the local laws permit. Probably a call to the county sanitarian or a county attorney can get you all the information you need. There may be restrictions regarding the size of what you want to bury. There is a big difference between a little kitten and a full grown German Shepard. A pet rabbit would probably be no problem. A pet pony might be a different story.

Before you dig anywhere, especially in a suburban area, call to locate the utilities first. The web site below can get you the numbers for your state.

The utility companies have been running the advertisements for many years. You really do need them to verify that the area you want to bury a pet in is clear of utility lines and pipes. This is serious, since you need to dig down at least 2 to 3 feet and some utility lines are as little as 2 feet down you need to call and get them to check. This is one thing you should do in advance since it can take several days for them to actually do this.

So make yourself a checklist

1. Check with the landlord (maybe also the neighbors just to be courteous.)

2. Check with local authorities. You should get permission in advance.

3. Contact the utilities to locate underground lines for you. If the spot you wanted has lines there ask about where you can bury a pet. They should be able to tell you.

4. If you don’t have the physical ability to actually dig find someone in advance that can help you.

5. If you don’t have a good shovel and or other digging tools, buy them when they are on sale and keep them for when they are needed. Besides, if you do have a yard or other area you will likely need the tools for other things like planting trees.

Tips

  • If burial is not possible, you can have your cat cremated and scatter its ashes somewhere.

    Thanks! Helpful 2 Not Helpful

  • Check before you scatter the ashes; it might not be legal where you live. However, maybe you can keep the ashes in a box and keep them somewhere safe.

    Thanks! Helpful 2 Not Helpful

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Health Hazards of Burying a Dog

Speaking of potential risks when burying a dog, even when your pet burial plans are legal, you must still consider all the health hazards that burial may present to the local community. These dangers are often the reason for pet burial at home sites being illegal, but even when legal, this should be heeded when thinking about how to bury a dog.

Some important considerations include:

  • Whether or not your dog’s remains are biohazardous – did your pet have a disease that could pose a hazard if he is buried? If so, DO NOT consider at home burial.
  • Whether your burial location is near to a water source – If you bury your pet close to a water source, it is possible that his remains could contaminate that source. DO NOT bury your pet close to rivers, lakes, streams, etc.
  • Whether you can bury your pet deep enough in the ground – If you cannot dig deep enough due to gas lines, ground consistency, strength, etc. DO NOT bury your pet in this location.

These health hazards are the reason we have laws about burying animals and fowl, and you can read more about this on FindLaw.com – some very useful information here.

Should you bury your pet in a plastic bag?

I am personally against doing this and I explain exactly why I think that you shouldn’t bury your pet, such as a dog, in a plastic bag. You can read about it in my full article here.

Step 6: In Bonds Case —

In Bonds case I have decided to take the extra step of putting a big rock to mark his spot. He was just to special in to many ways to not have a semi permanent marker. I am planing on either painting it or maybe even engraving it in the future. I just have to figure out how to do it. It’s a nice big piece of granite with a flat face.

While I was buying bedding plants for the garden some lilies caught my eye and I thought it would be fun to plant them around his rock. I have had lilies like these before and they come back every year for what seams like forever. So now every spring they will come back and add a spark of color to the grass and his rock. As if to say, “hey, remember me?” So, who knows, for years to come, after everyone else has forgotten, the lilies will remember and be there in the spring. Bond was born in the spring, and he died in the spring and now his flowers will bloom in the spring.

Although he spent most of his life with my daughter, he was born here, not far from where he is now. And his mom, Juliette, that feral cat that came in from the cold is here also, just a little ways away.

What Youll Need

  1. Firstly, you're going to need a pet casket of some sort. You can make one yourself out of a box, or you may want to invest in a professionally hand-crafted pet casket. I didn't have the second option, but I was quite happy with the one I made myself. You do not need to buy one, but they are there for those who feel drawn to them.
  2. Secondly, you're going to need a proper shovel that you can stand on whilst digging. If you're burying a very small box, and if the ground is very soft, you might be ok with a small shovel — but if I'd only had something small, I'd have been digging the entire day.
  3. Thirdly, you're probably going to need a second person. This hadn't even occurred to me, and I'm lucky that I had a friend who volunteered to help me. In my case, I had to walk and carry my cat into a National Forest — by the time we got to the place of my choosing, I could barely lift my arms. I would never have been able to carry the shovel; this is why I say you should plan to have a second person if it all possible.
  4. Lastly, you need to be prepared for a long and strenuous dig. This is another reason you may want to have a second person with you. In my case, I picked a spot that I was drawn to, and after 10 cm or so of digging, the earth was very hard, rocky and full of tree roots that had to be dug through. I was determined to bury her in that lovely spot, and it took me 3 hours to dig an appropriately sized hole. If you're digging somewhere else, you may not have that problem. But all I can tell you is that it was very hard and I wish I'd brought water with me because I was exhausted by the time it was done.

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How to Bury Your Dog: A Step-by-Step Plan

Before beginning the burial process, it’s best to devise a plan to follow. This can make the process easier on you emotionally, as you don’t need to think or search for items in the moment, giving you a chance to grieve during the burial.

1. Say Goodbye

Saying goodbye to your dog’s remains isn’t easy, but it’s a vital part in the grieving process. You may want to stroke his fur or take a paw print impression or ink blot during this time, so you can always keep him with you. 

2. Wrap Your Pup’s Body

Wrap your dog’s remains in a sheet, blanket, or other disposable item for burial. Some pup parents opt for using their dog’s favorite blanket with a toy tucked inside, but this is entirely up to you. Not only does this make burial easier since you won’t see your dog’s body in the ground, but it will also contain any messes that occur after death.

3. Pick a Location

Select a spot in your yard that is suitable for digging. It should provide adequate drainage and never experience standing water, as this can lead to resurfacing. Ideally, it should be in an area that’s not at risk of digging by other animals, including other resident dogs, such as a gated-off garden. 

4. Dig the Hole

Digging the grave before you bring his remains outside can give you a few minutes of peace when you need it most. It’s also far easier to do this without having to stare at your dog’s prepared remains. 

The hole should be at least 3 feet deep and wide enough to fit your dog’s remains, though rules may vary according to local regulations. In areas where wildlife is common, a deeper hole may be ideal.

5. Place Your Dog’s Body In Hole

Some owners opt for placing their dog’s body in a wooden or cardboard coffin, but you can also place your dog directly into the earth in his wrapped state. Gently lower your pooch’s remains into the hole. 

6. Refill the Hole

You can say a doggy prayer or add flowers atop your dog’s remains before you fill the hole, or you can immediately begin burial.

Halfway through refilling, you may want to spread a thin layer of kitty litter to block any decomposition odors that will attract the attention of other animals. Fill the grave entirely and walk over the top to make sure it’s pressed down to avoid tempting other animals into investigating the disturbed soil. 

7. Add a Memorial Stone or Marker

Many pup parents opt to add a headstone, pet memorial stone, or grave marker that honors their beloved pet. You can make one yourself using wood or you can custom-order a stone headstone that may feature things like your pup’s name, image, or a special phrase. Some people opt to decorate the grave with flowers, too.

If a backyard burial is too hard for you to do yourself, you can also ask a trusted friend for assistance or opt for burial alternatives, such as pet cemeteries and cremation.

how long can you keep a dead cat

Most states require you to burry a dead cat within 24 to 48 hours of it dying. This is because there are laws about not letting animal corpses remain unburied for too long, as they could cause health issues amongst animals or people.

What will you do with the remains after you have buried them?

While many pet owners will choose to mark the gravesite of their pets with a small headstone or memorial, other people may choose not to mark the grave at all. It is important to decide in advance what you will do in this regard so that you can make arrangements for marking the grave beforehand if necessary. If you decide not to mark the grave, be sure to keep detailed records of where the pet is buried just in case you may need it later. 

Consider purchasing a headstone or memorial marker

If you decide to bury your pet in a casket or burial container, consider purchasing a headstone or memorial marker for your pet’s grave. Many people choose to mark the gravesite of their pets with small headstones or memorials. You can also purchase pet grave markers from companies that sell both granite and bronze grave markers just for pets.

If you choose to do this, it is important to follow these steps when choosing and installing your pet’s marker:

Purchase a small, flat stone or piece of slate instead of a large headstone. Smaller markers tend to look more natural in the landscape and are less likely to be knocked over by animals. Choose a marker that does not have any writing on it as this will make it easier for you to move the marker if necessary. You should also choose a marker that is small enough that you can easily carry it to the burial site.  If the grave is in an area where there is significant foot traffic, consider placing the grave marker under ground level so that it is not stepped on by anyone passing by.

How to burry a pet

Step 1;

The first step is assembling your kit. You’ll need a shovel for digging, something that can serve as an identifying marker (a toy or collar), and some means of marking where the grave is located once it’s filled back up again with dirt. If you’re not sure about this last point, here are three suggestions: making use of nearby landmarks such as trees or rocks; using string or twine marked at intervals with small objects like pebbles; or just drawing arrows on top of each other so you can follow them up to the grave from a nearby landmark.

Step 2;

Now start digging. Try to make the pit roughly square or rectangle-shaped if you can, as it’ll be easier to cover up later. If you’re not good at digging deep holes, place some large chunks of wood in the bottom of your hole before you start digging. The wood will prevent the dirt from caving in on your pet’s final resting place, but be sure to remove the wood before covering up your pet.

Step 3;

Bury your pet. When you’ve unearthed the body of your beloved animal companion, it is time for them to go into their final resting place; the grave.

Step 4;

Once your pet is in the hole, find or create some sort of marker above their resting place. You might want to move this marker once you’ve covered up the grave again, so consider whether it’ll be safe to use something like a toy or collar that can get lost over time. A good idea is to take a nearby tree, or nearby rock formation and place the marker on it so you can easily find the grave again later.

Step 5;

Now cover up your pet, being careful not to kick any dirt into their resting place. After covering them up with dirt, pat down the surrounding area with your shovel until no signs of the grave remain visible.

Step 6;

Once your pet is covered up, you can write their name somewhere on your marker. This will help you find the grave of your beloved pet if you ever need to visit it again. You might also want to mark down some information about them, such as age or health problems they had while alive, in a small notebook. This way, if you ever visit the grave in a few years from now and it seems like you forgot something when burying, you’ll have some quick reminders about who this pet was when they were alive.

Step 7;

Finally, take time to think about your pet. Reflect on any memories of them that stand out in your mind. Pay attention to what they meant to you, and consider how this experience has changed your life for the better or worse.

You can read through this article repeatedly if you want a refresher of all the steps involved with burying a pet. It might seem unbearable at first but try to take some time out from your busy day and remember your pet.

How to bury a pet when the ground is frozen

If it’s during the winter and the ground is frozen, you can either wait until spring to bury your pet or perform a burial at a different time of the year. You can put your pet in cold storage by wrapping it in plastic and placing it on a tub covered in ice to effectively preserve it until when you are able to dig the ground and burry it.

Reader Success Stories

  • Nett J.

Dec 1, 2021

    Nett J. Dec 1, 2021

    “This article has helped me prepare for my dog passing away soon. My dog is hiding in the bathroom, he wants to be alone. He has never done that before, so I know it’s almost time for my beloved little Scrappy to go to doggy heaven. As I cry writing this.” …” more

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