No one wants to think about it, but sooner or later, you may have to bury your beloved pet in your back yard. Emotionally, this can be a very healthy way for you and your family to grieve the loss of your furred, feathered, or scaled family member. This is especially true if you have children in your family.
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Things you need
- Tape measure
- Box or coffin for your pet
- Grave marker
- Your pet's favourite things (optional)
Measure the length, width, and height of the box into which you have put your pet's remains.
Dig a hole in your back yard that will fit that box. Dig to a depth of 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 feet) plus the height of the box to ensure that wild animals do not dig up the grave.
Arrange a small ceremony with any family members and friends you wish to invite. Burial ceremonies can be as involved as you wish.
Lower your pet's casket into the ground carefully. Ask a friend or family member to help you if the pet was especially large.
Shovel the dirt you removed from the hole back over the casket. Tamp it down firmly with the shovel and your feet once all the dirt is back in place.
Place a grave marker over the site so you always remember where it is. Flowers can be added at this time. You may even prefer to plant perennial flowers over the grave as a memorial.
Tips and warnings
- Burying your pet's favourite things with your pet can be helpful, especially to young family members who may not have dealt with death before. Ask them to help you plan the service. It will be emotionally helpful, and also a good educational experience.
- If your pet has died of an infectious disease, check with your vet to see about cremation. Infectious diseases, even in pets, can pose a health risk if the bodies are not cremated. Your family can then choose to keep the ashes, or to scatter them in a ceremony afterward.
- If the ground is too frozen for you to bury your pet, wrap the body carefully in plastic and put it in your freezer. This works well for smaller pets, although it may not be an option for larger pets. If your larger pet dies while the ground is frozen, cremation through your vet or a reputable pet cemetery may be the best option.
- If you are a renter, check with the property owner to see if they will allow you to bury your pet in the back garden. While it may be legal to bury a pet, it is usually not legal to bury a pet on private property if it is against the owner's wishes.
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