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Pet Burial: Backyard Alternatives for Grieving Owners

Backyard pet burial , A dog is a companion animal that becomes part of the family. At some point in life, maybe due to disease or old age, we have no choice but to say goodbye. The loss of a pet can be emotionally challenging.

How you bury your pet becomes a vital grieving process for many pet owners. For this reason, they would love to plant them in their backyard. However, is it recommended? It isn’t a good idea to bury your dog in your backyard, nor is it encouraged.

In this article, we shall examine why burying your dog in your backyard isn’t advisable, what you should do instead, and what other options you have.

Can You Bury A Dog In Your Backyard? An Explanation

backyard pet burial

Losing a pet significantly affects the parent pet owner like any other grief. And as the pet owner, you would love to safeguard its remains. The most convenient place that comes to mind is the backyard. Nonetheless, the backyard is not a good idea because:

Possible Resurfacing By Animals

Burying your dead dog in the backyard may cause other pets (from the neighborhood) or wild animals to dig it up. When the pets decompose, they release gasses that other animals can detect. Don’t forget some dogs are trained to find and communicate about items hidden beneath the soil’s surface.

Resurfacing is a significant issue, especially if the dead dog received euthanasia (anesthetic drug injected into pets for a good death). Unfortunately, the drug remains in the buried body of the animal for up to a year.

Therefore any animal that will scavenge on these remains will be poisoned, leading to more loss as they die. If your dog dies of a contagious disease, the other animals will get infected, spreading the illness throughout the neighborhood.

Resurface in Flooding

During the heavy rains, your buried dog in the backyard may cause resurfacing of the dog’s remains, thus exposing similar health issues to other pets. In addition, seeing your dog’s remains sparkle back fresh emotional distress. 

Eco Contamination

A rotting dog can cause soil contamination which seeps into the underground water, thus spreading to other areas and exposing health risks to anyone who comes into contact with the contaminated water or soil.

Legal Problems

Backyard pet burial is listed as illegal by some states and cities. Therefore, to avoid getting yourself on the wrong side of the law, visit your local authorities to establish which regulations are in place to avoid heavy penalties if you violate them.

Those states that allow background burying have given regulations regarding the time, depth, and distance you should bury your pet.

Losing Your Backyard Memories

Being near your dead pet can be comforting. However, this may rekindle the bereavement upon relocation, as the buried pet won’t move with you.

What Alternatives Can You Use to Bury Your Pet?

Other options for the backyard that is safe and environmentally friendly include cremations, cemeteries, and donations for research. Let’s have a brief look at what they are


Backyard pet burial is done in two ways. First, you may have the dog cremated and lay it to rest in an urn at home or rock it in the garden or backyard. The second option is where you have your dog cremated and bury your pet’s cremains in a biodegradable urn or spread them in a place that is meaningful to you and the pet.

Donation for Research

You can donate your dog for research promoting awareness of the importance of caring for pets and learning more about the disease and its treatments.


Backyard pet burial is a good option for the backyard. The state regulation may limit you from burying your dog in your backyard; give it a professional burial while keeping other animals and the environment safe.

Alkaline Hydrolysis/ Aquamation

The cremation uses water, heat, and alkaline substances/ chemicals to break down the dog’s body instead of a flame. This procedure quickens the decomposition process more than in ordinary situations, and the remains are given to the owner.

What You Should Know If You Want to Bury Your Dog


You may desire to bury your pet, but it is good to cremate it first as it incinerates the dog’s body, thus preventing the poisoning parts from taking place.


Ensure you bury them deep to avoid other animals and flood water from unearthing them. Hence, try to place them 3 feet deep.

Utility lines

To avoid contamination, break other underground lines like water lines and electric and gas pipes as you dig the grave; it is good to call relevant authorities to guide you to the correct spot.


To avoid water contamination, choose a place that is high and dry. When the grave is elevated, it is hard for the flood waters to resurface the remains and prevent groundwater from leaking contaminants into the environment.

What are the Pros and Cons of Home Burial?


  • Help with the grieving- people respond to the loss of a pet differently, so for some, burying it gives them great comfort.
  • When burying is done well, it is advantageous to the environment as it will be carbon neutral, and the remains will return to the soil.
  • The cost of burying a dog is affordable.


  • Inaccessibility to suitable land, more so for those in a rented apartment
  • There is a possibility of leaching of poison from the dog into the nearby soil, which may translate to food contamination.
  • It can sometimes be hard for you to seek permission from the authorities, thus draining you physically and emotionally.
  • Most pet owners have found relief as the Animal Welfare League offers good cremation services.

Is It Okay To Bury In Your Backyard?

backyard pet burial

Burying a dog in your backyard is not a good idea. However, if you choose to go down that path, there are multiple factors you need to follow to be safe. First, seek permission from the authorities regarding the grave’s depth and location.

Therefore, when burying a pet, dig a deep grave of 3 feet to prevent another animal from smelling, wrap the dog in a biodegradable bag, keep other pets away until you finish, and choose areas considering other utilities. Finally, place a concrete slab on top of a stone when through. Otherwise, you can opt for alternatives, as explained above.