How to Bury a Dog In 9 Steps

Losing your dog is hard. Figuring out how to bury your dog may be even more complex. Here are a few tips to follow.

1. Determine State’s Laws

Some states do not allow you to bury your pet animals. They only allow the burial of animals in pet cemeteries. These are locations that have been zoned for dead animals. The necessary health measures have already been put into place.

If your state does allow pets to be buried, then you need to consider local zoning regulations next.

2. Determine Local Ordinations

Zoning also has its own regulations. You may find that most local zoning ordinances, such as residential ones, allow for pets to be buried in the backyard. However, those that are in public zoning areas are rarely legal. If you want to bury your pet on a public hill, for example, then you likely won’t be able to.

Once you’re clear on whether or not you can bury your dog, you then need to determine whether or not your dog is a health hazard.

3. Determine Dog’s State of Health

Before your dog passed, was it healthy? Did it suffer from any diseases? If not, then you’re free to bury your dog. If it did have a disease, then you should not bury your dog. That disease can be released through the soil and eventually get into your water or someone else’s water. It may make them sick as well.

4. Check The Area for Water Supply

That leads us to the next step. You need to figure out if you have well water or if there are any water sources in the area you intend to bury your dog. If so, then you shouldn’t bury it there.

Your dog’s remains will eventually decompose and leak into the water. You may end up becoming sick.

5. Determine Burial Depth

Dogs should be buried at least six feet below the ground. If you’re unable to dig that deep because of gas lines, sewer pipes, your septic tank, or just because you lack the strength to do so, then you likely shouldn’t bury your dog.

Six feet is a requirement.

6. Collect Burial Materials

Once you finally have your spot, you’ll need a few different tools and materials to properly bury your dog. The first is some sort of burial container that should also be biodegradable. You’ll also need a shovel or your pick of digging tool.

Additional materials may be their favorite toys and a grave marker.

7. Start Digging

You’ll want to make sure that the hole is six feet deep and also is tall and wide enough to fit the container. This may take some time.

8. Place Container Inside

Once the hole is dug, you can place the container inside of the hole. You may want to put the toys in their own case or just lay them over the container.

9. Cover the Hole and Place Marker

Finally, you can cover the hole again. You can mark the spot with some kind of grave marker.

How Long Does A Buried Dog Take To Decompose?

It can take anywhere from six months to 18 years for a dog to fully decompose. There are a few different variables that can determine the duration. The first is whether or not the dog is buried inside of a container. If they aren’t, then they’ll decompose quickly. The microbes and worms in the soil will quickly start to help the decomposing process because they have direct access to the body.

Those that are inside the container will take a bit longer. It helps preserve the body to a certain degree. It also means the microbes in the soil need to get through the container first before being able to access the body.

The depth of the burial also determines how long it might take. Bodies that are buried closer to the surface will decompose faster than those that are buried deeper in the ground.

The size of the dog also plays a factor. Smaller dogs decompose faster than larger dogs because there’s less to erode away.

Should I Bury My Dog In A Plastic Bag?

If you’re concerned about scavengers digging up your dog’s body, then you may want to bury them in a plastic bag. This will also delay the decomposing process. The plastic bag will reduce the smell as well. This makes it less likely for scavengers to be attracted to the body and dig it up.

There are environmental hazards to consider with using a plastic bag. It could take several years for the bag to eventually decompose. You may want to opt for a biodegradable bag.

If your concern is preserving your dog for as long as possible, then you’ll want to use a heavy-duty plastic bag.

5 Reasons Not To Bury Your Dog In Your Backyard

There are few reasons why you should opt to bury your pet elsewhere. Here are five of them.

1. It Endangers Other Animals

If your dog passes peacefully through euthanasia, then they’re going to have a potent chemical in their body for a long time. It’s inevitable that some kind of creature is going to eventually nibble on the dead body.

As a result, they’ll be taking in that chemical. This could have lethal or serious consequences for them. It may endanger any other pet that you may have.

2. May Spread Disease

One of the biggest reasons you shouldn’t bury your dog is because it can spread disease. If your dog died of a disease, then it can pass that disease through the soil and water. You or your other pets may become ill.

3. May Be Lingering Reminder

It’s always difficult to move on after a pet. While having a pet grave in the backyard may help you remember your dog, it isn’t always a good thing if it doesn’t allow you to move on. You may hold onto your grief and depression. There are healthier ways to deal with the passing of a loved dog.

4. It Invites Scavengers

Carrion, coyotes, and other scavengers may be attracted to the scent of the decaying animal in the ground. You may find your yard filled with these animals. They can carry their own diseases, too, or make a wreck of your yard.

5. Future Homeowners Won’t Want It

If you want to sell your home eventually, then you may find it difficult if you have a grave in the backyard. New homeowners won’t want to deal with digging up the body and removing it. This could impact your sale.

Is It Better To Cremate Or Bury A Pet?

Burying a pet may advantageous for those who want to keep their pet close to the home after death. However, that’s more for the pet owner’s benefit than the dog’s. Cremation is a better choice.

It limits the chances of dangerous diseases from spreading. It keeps the water pure. You also don’t have to worry about laws and regulations with a cremation.