Burying a Pet

For you pet parents who are considering burying a pet, there are several options as well as pros and cons that need to be explored before proceeding. The following will help in your decision-making.

Backyard Burials

There has been a long tradition of burying a pet in the backyard. Many of us have childhood memories of “services” held for the hamster, goldfish, and possibly even the cat or dog. Burying the hamster in a shoebox seemed so normal.

However, burying a pet today requires more than just the shoebox and shovel. It requires a check with your local municipality to determine if it is legal to bury. You may need a permit to bury your pet. Also, there may be directions of how deep and where the grave can be dug. Remember, there are many utilities that can be buried in your yard as well. Check before digging.

Also, when considering burying a pet in the backyard, ask yourself a couple of questions. First, will you be in this home for a long time? Second, are you comfortable leaving your buried pet behind if you move?

A backyard burial does not have to be permanent. Some pet parents have unearthed their pet before a family moves. The body, along with the soil, is cremated so the family can keep the beloved pet in an urn.

Backyard Burial Tip: When burying a pet, don’t do so in a shallow grave. Be sure to have at least two feet of soil on top of the body. You want the grave deep enough so that other animals cannot smell the pet’s scent. It is natural for other animals to dig into the grave if the scent is strong.

Pet Cemeteries

Many communities have pet cemeteries. Check with your local veterinarian, crematory or cemetery to get more information about burying your pet in a cemetery. Ask some questions like:

  • What is the cost of burial?
  • Are there annual fees or dues?
  • Can you visit conveniently and openly?
  • What are the costs of the grave space, opening and closing costs?
  • Are you responsible for maintenance fees, etc.?
  • Is it acceptable to decorate the grave?

If burying a pet feels right to you, a bit of forethought can go a long way. If burying a pet doesn’t seem like the right fit, you may want to consider pet cremation instead.

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