How to Have A Successful Pet Burial At Home


Your pet passed. What do you do now?

You know you want an at-home pet burial. It’s where you raised him as a puppy. It’s where your family is.

What Are the First Steps for a Successful Pet Burial at Home?

First, Make Sure Your Pet Is Definitely Gone

Check your pet’s pulse. Bring him to the veterinarian if necessary.

Tell your children, and if they are ready, let them see your pet’s body. This can help children understand what is happening.

Using the term “put to sleep” is often confusing for children.

  • Children under 2 will feel and respond to a pet’s death without necessarily understanding.
  • Between the ages of 2 and 5, children will miss their pet’s friendship.
  • Children between the ages of 5 and 9 may feel responsible for their pet’s death, so parents must be clear.
  • After age 10, children will experience their pet’s loss like adults and may be ready to see the pet’s body for closure.

Allow other pets to interact with the corpse. They may grieve, which is natural. If living pets are unable to interact with your lost pet, they may search for his body after he is gone.

Freeze, refrigerate or dry out your pet’s body. It will begin to smell within 6 hours, depending on the heat.

Check Local Laws for Pet Burial at Home

Most states allow at-home burials but check local laws. Some states also allow burial on public land, but be sure to check with your local police department.

Use Precaution When Handling the Body

Prevent exposure to disease and insects such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitos, by taking certain precautions.

For example:

  • Wear protective clothing, rubber gloves, and a protective mask.
  • Don’t eat or drink near the remains
  • Dispose of soiled items in a labeled outdoor garbage bag.

Choose a Proper Pet Burial Location

Select a High, Dry Spot

Research nearby utility lines to avoid.

Choose a location downhill from a well. It should be at least 50-100 feet away from wells, ponds, drainage, and other water sources.

Avoid shallow locations, as bedrock below can provide a source for leaching into the water.

Choose an Appropriate Receptacle for Your Pet

First, place your pet’s body in a heavy-duty plastic bag that fits his body.

Next, place the bag in a wood, metal, or plastic bin. Plastic storage bins with locking lids work well.

How to Bury Your Pet

Dig a Hole

After you have selected the ideal location, dig a hole at least 3 feet deep.

If foxes or other predators are prevalent where you live, be sure to line the edges of the hole with bricks or slate. Add a slate that will act like a lid to prevent predators from exhuming your pet.

Additionally, you can sprinkle lime when you’re finished as a predator deterrent.

Place the Box in the Ground

After you lower the box into the ground, cover it with dirt. Pack down the dirt as you go.

This is a good time to include your pet’s favorite toys or their collar.

Host a Ceremony or Create a Memorial

Include Children in Your Pet Burial Ceremony

This is beneficial to you and is especially helpful for small children. Allow them to read a story, poem, or written note for the furry friend who’s passed.

You can also play a song that reminds you of your pet or serve guests “human food” your pet enjoyed.

Create a Memorial Site for Your Pet Burial

Choose a headstone or decorative stone. Your children could decorate a commemorative slate.

You can also plant a tree or flowers over your pet’s grave.

Burial Alternatives


Your vet will have resources available if you would like to cremate your pet. You can still memorialize your friend with a decorated urn.

Pet Cemetery

Contact local pet cemeteries to see if they fit your needs. Be sure the cemetery has the appropriate permits and licenses so the property will remain a cemetery if it is ever sold.

Sanitation Pick-Up

Check with local sanitation laws. Your local sanitation department may accommodate animal pickups.

Although it seems cold to dispose of your pet this way, know that only the body is leaving. Your pet will be with you forever.

If you choose one of the above-mentioned options, you can still place a memorial stone in your yard to commemorate your pet’s life.

Did you have an at-home pet burial?

How did you memorialize your pet?

  • Home burial
  • Cremation and urn
  • Pet cemetery
  • Sanitation disposal and memorial

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