How To Bury A Dog? Can I Bury My Dog In My Yard?

There’s nothing more painful than the death of a beloved dog. Though all dog owners need to face this at some point, no one is ready for the inevitable. Now, the hardest part of losing a dog isn’t only about grieving but facing the reality of how to bury a dog who’s been a part of the family. As a grieving dog owner, you will be flooded with questions and will eventually get confused. In this article, we’ll be discussing the where, how, and more about burying a deceased pet dog.

1. Where to bury a dog?

Now that your beloved dog has crossed the rainbow bridge, it’s time to make a decision about what to do with your beloved dog’s remains. There are many ways to lay your pets to rest but the most humane way is to bury a beloved dog. But where should you bury your dog?

Pet Cemetery

A pet cemetery is one of the places where you can bury a pet dog, especially if you live in an apartment. According to the International Association of Pet Cemeteries, there are more than 700 pet cemeteries in the United States so there is no shortage of places to bury a pet dog. There things to consider though. First is the proximity of the pet cemetery from your home since a grieving dog owner would want to visit his or her beloved dog every day. The second is the hefty cost. Burying a small pet in a traditional pet cemetery can cost approximately $400.

Note that when we say small animals, it includes animals with tiny to small body frames like hamsters, kittens, guinea pigs, cats, and dogs of small breeds. This burial fee includes all the basics like a small burial plot, a basic casket, and the opening and closing of the gravesite. There is also a separate fee for the annual grave maintenance, memorial stone, and ceremony.

Home pet burial

Burying a dog in the backyard is still the most popular option. It’s more private and less expensive as well. You don’t need to drive when you miss your dog. And you can also personalize your loving dog’s grave as much as you want.

2. Burying a Dog in the Backyard

It is understandable that burying one’s own pet is a very difficult task especially when you are alone and don’t know where to begin. This is the time that you’ll be needing emotional support from your family and friends. So if you can’t get yourself to handle your pet’s remains, you may ask someone from your family or closest friends to do it for you. And now that you’ve decided to bury your dog in your backyard, there are things that you need to know about preparing your dog’s remains after death. This includes how deep should the burial spot be if it would smell and of course, if it is legal to bury your dog at home. We’ll discuss these and more in the next sections of this article

3. Choosing the perfect location

The first step is to choose a spot where you would want to bury your dog. If there is a spot in your backyard or garden where your dog used to enjoy playing, then you may consider that. But if it is not applicable then you may choose a lovely area of your garden or backyard. You also have to take note that your chosen area should be wide enough for your dog, not at risk of flooding, and far away from underground pipes and cables. Moreover, you need to make sure that you don’t have any plans of excavating that spot in the future.

4. How deep should you bury a dog?

The next important question is how deep should you bury a dog? Most experts recommend digging 3-5 feet deep. This is to prevent animals that will scavenge and dig your dog’s grave which is especially true with dogs, foxes, skunks, and other animals. Since your dog’s grave is deep, more often than not, these animals will eventually give up after digging less than a foot. Rain is also one of the reasons for digging deep. If your dog’s grave is not deep enough, as rain falls it will wash away the topsoil and will eventually uncover the grave.

5. The proper way to bury a dog

There are many ways to bury a dog. Some people prefer to lay the remains of their dogs directly on the ground but a pet deserves something better. Here is a simple guide on how to properly bury your pet dog.
  • Before burying your pet dog, make sure to wrap it with breathable and biodegradable materials like sheets or towels.
  • Your pet used to be a part of your life so it deserves to be placed in a pet coffin and not just any box. Again choose a pet coffin made of biodegradable materials.
  • Once your dog is already placed in the grave, fill the hole in with the mound of dirt you got. Then lay stones over to prevent animals from digging.
  • There are many dog burial ideas but the most personal is opting for a ceremony for a pet dog. If you are considering having a formal ceremony, it is best to involve your family and even friends. Having emotional support can lessen the grief.
  • Mark your dog’s grave. You may put a pet memorial stone or plant flowers or bushes around it.

6. Will a buried dog smell?

You’ve gone through the toughest part of being a dog owner, burying your best furry friend in your own backyard. But a question keeps on bothering you, “Will a buried dog smell? That very moment you felt your dog’s body gone cold, decomposition already started. It will soon give off a foul odor that will attract insects. Decomposition is also dependent on the weather. This means the hotter the weather, the faster the decomposition process is. This brings us to the most important reason why you need to dig 3-5 feet below the ground. And that is to minimize the unbearable smell of the decomposing remains of your dog. Given that you have buried your pet dog properly, it shouldn’t have a very strong odor that can be smelled all over the place.

7. Dog Burial Ideas

We all know that the pain of losing a beloved pet is incomparable. You’d want your precious dog to be well remembered and respected as a part of your family. So here are some dog burial ideas:

  • Pet Funeral Ceremonies - Formal or informal pet funeral ceremonies are part of a dog owner’s healing process. It helps the owner to recognize his or her dog’s death.
  • Memorials - If a ceremony is not possible, one of the best things to do is to have a small remembrance of your beloved pet. Some people had their dog’s image or paw prints engraved on a necklace.
  • Art - You can paint your dog and put it in an area that’s special for you and your beloved dog.

8. Is it legal to bury pets in your backyard?

After getting down on the nitty-gritty of burying a pet dog in the backyard, let’s talk about the legal aspects. The good news is that it is legal to bury pets in the backyard in most cities in the United States. But it is still best to check with your county if they allow it or not and if they allow such burial, do they have certain rules and regulations that you should follow. 

If you live in the states of Arizona, Arkansas, and Wisconsin, then you are not allowed to bury your pets even in your own backyard. While the state of California does not allow pet burial in pet owners’ backyards, on the other hand, they do note that such rules aren’t always enforced in rural areas. Despite the fact that certain states are very clear on the legalities of pet burial, there are certain states that don’t have such rules like the states of New York, Rhode Island, and Washington. So if you live here, the best thing to do is call your local veterinarian and ask for advice.

9. Final Thoughts

All dogs go to heaven as they say but even the thought of your beloved dog being away from you is heartbreaking. Burying a dog in the backyard is a very personal way of dealing with the pain and grief of losing a part of yourself. It is also your own way of showing your pet dog how much you appreciate and love him. 

No one can ever predict what will happen in the future but preparing for the worst can give you a chance to decide in advance and avoid making decisions that you will later regret. This is especially true when you are in shock and grieving.  It’s okay to plan ahead and prepare for the things that you and your beloved dog will need when that day comes. Most importantly, do what is in your heart but don’t forget to seek the advice of people around you as well as your local vet. 

Remember that we all have different feelings about losing a precious dog and it’s okay if you can’t go out of your way to deal with the remains of your pet. What’s important is how you loved and cared for it when it was still alive.

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