Creating a Personal Memorial:
HolisticalVets' Guide to Burying a Pet at Home

To schedule an appointment for in-home pet euthanasia, please click here.

HolisticalVets LLC is providing the following guide solely for general informational purposes, and it is important to note that it should not be considered legal advice, as laws may have changed since this was written and some regions may have stricter laws and regulations than others. Please check with your local and state laws to ensure that you are legally compliant.

We understand that the loss of a beloved pet is a deeply challenging and emotional experience. At this difficult time, our goal is to provide you with compassionate support and guidance. If you are considering burying your cherished pet in your backyard as a way to honor their memory, we strongly advise you to conduct thorough research and familiarize yourself with the specific laws and regulations in your location before proceeding with a home burial. It’s important to note that laws can vary based on your state, county, or municipality.

Compliance with local and state laws is essential, and if applicable, seeking authorization from your landlord is advised (please note that burying deceased animals is generally not permitted in urban and suburban areas). We also encourage you to review your county ordinances for any additional restrictions in place. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to contact your local utilities office to mark your yard, as underground gas lines or water lines may be present and should be avoided during the burial process. When choosing a burial location, it’s worth considering potential future additions to your property, allowing for flexibility and ensuring the undisturbed resting place of your pet.

Image of rainbow over land for HolisticalVets' Guide to Pet Burial at Home pageWhile the following suggestions are not official guidelines, they can help protect the well-being of humans, animals, and the environment.

When selecting a suitable gravesite:

    • The selected gravesite should adhere to the requirements set by local laws and should be a minimum of three to five feet deep. This depth should allow for the top of your pet’s body to be covered with more than two feet of soil, which is highly important to provide a respectful resting place and help prevent disturbances from other animals. Please remember that the remains of euthanized pets can be poisonous and fatal to wildlife if ingested, as euthanasia medications may still be present. If digging to this depth is not feasible, placing a large rock or wire over the burial site can discourage wildlife access. While an urn or box is not mandatory, you may choose one if it holds special significance (you can learn more about those options from your local pet crematories or online searches).
    • Additionally, the selected gravesite should not be in sandy or rocky soils, flood-prone areas, or near the foundation of your home. It should also not come into contact with bodies of water (e.g., lakes, streams, rivers, open drains, etc.) and should be at least 200 feet away from any streams or groundwater sources and at least 500 feet away from drinking water wells.

Image of cat in grayscale for HolisticalVets' page about burying pets at home

When preparing your pet’s body:

  • Consider wrapping your cherished pet in a soft blanket, a comforting t-shirt, or other materials made from fabric instead of plastic (please remember that deceased pets may release body fluids, so take necessary precautions to protect yourself and others). Avoiding materials made from plastic promotes a more natural process of returning to the earth and including sentimental items such as letters, pictures, toys, or anything that holds special memories of your companion can be meaningful.

When burying your cherished pet:

    • For natural decomposition, consider sprinkling approximately 1 cup of lime powder (calcium hydroxide) at the bottom of the grave and another cup on top of your pet’s body, then gently fill the grave with soil, compact it softly, and level the ground.
    • Placing a headstone or decorative item can serve as a beautiful personal memorial.

We hope you found this information helpful and we extend our deepest condolences for the loss of your beloved pet. Please know that we genuinely care about your well-being during this challenging time. Our thoughts and support are with you and your family as you navigate the process of honoring your pet’s memory and finding solace in cherished moments together.

Resources: Euthabag and Lap of Love