Knowing what to do with the body of a deceased beloved pet is not something many people think about when they adopt a furry family member. Some people bury their pet in their backyard, some bury them at a pet cemetery, and some folks choose to get their pet cremated.
What you do with your pet’s remains depends on a lot of factors, such as your location, whether you rent or own a place, and if you even have the option of a pet cemetery near you.
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As you consider your own options, you may come to the conclusion that the best way to honor your pet is to bury it in your own backyard. Holding a small ceremony such as a pet funeral to bury a loved pet can be an honorable way to say goodbye.
You can bury your pet directly into the Earth, but perhaps you want something a little special. That’s where pet caskets come in. If you don’t want to buy one, you can also find other kinds of materials and containers to bury your furry or feathered friend. Below we list some other suggestions to think about using for a pet burial box.
Do You Have to Bury a Pet in a Casket?
No, you do not have to bury a pet in a casket if you bury it on your own property. However, if you plan to dig a hole in a populated area, make sure you know if any utility lines are lurking below the surface. Call before you dig so that you can complete this project safely.
You may also want to think about other things like your current living situation. If you plan to move shortly, perhaps burying your pet in the backyard is not a wise idea. The ground may also be frozen, and you may be unable to mark the grave.
Burying the cremains of a pet is also a possibility, but could be a bit more costly. There are also pet cemeteries, but none may be nearby. Make sure to weigh these options as well as the costs associated with each one. Burying your pet in your backyard can be an ideal way to say goodbye and also visit your pet often.
When burying your pet, you may choose to place the animal directly into the ground. Some use a blanket to transport the animal to the place of burial and leave the cloth wrapped around the pet for convenience or comfort. The benefit of placing the animal directly in the Earth is that it is the most eco-friendly option. It is also the most economical.
One drawback of burying an animal directly in the earth is that other animals may smell and dig up the remains if they are not buried deep enough. If this is of concern in your area, you may want to purchase a vault or casket described below (or make sure the pet is buried deep enough in the ground so as not to attract unwelcome visitors.)
If you plan to bury an animal in a pet cemetery, ask about the burial rules for that specific facility. They may require the animal first to be placed in some sort of casket or vault. This is typically to ensure that the ground doesn’t collapse over the site of the burial.
DIY and Store-Bought Pet Burial Box Options Explained
Do you need (or want) to place your animal in a box before it is buried? Here are some ideas for do-it-yourself caskets. Keep in mind the dimensions, as the size of the animal must be considered before choosing a burial box, as well as the size of your backyard. Pay close attention to those details before making a purchase.
1. Cardboard box
Do not overlook a simple cardboard box when looking for a burial receptacle for your pet. Cardboard caskets exist for humans as well. They are economical, sturdy, able to be decorated or labeled, and biodegradable.
You can purchase cardboard caskets, but you may consider looking at the boxes you received from Amazon. They can be covered with attractive paper or cloth to make the container unique enough to hold your companion. In fact, this project may be given to the children of the family.
2. Styrene casket
Online retailers sell styrene caskets made specifically for pets. Styrene is made from “expanded plastic,” similar to Styrofoam. The material is inexpensive, lightweight, and easily transportable. You can buy a styrene casket for a little more than $100 that will hold the remains of a 40-pound pet.
While styrene caskets may be attractive, they are not biodegradable. Before you purchase a styrene casket for burial, consider how it will withstand the weight of packed soil above it.
3. Cloth-covered wooden pet caskets
If you wish to purchase a casket with more strength than styrene, consider purchasing a wooden pet casket for your deceased pet. One online retailer sells cloth-covered wooden caskets in various colors, including white, pink, blue, and camouflage.
While they are elegant and able to withstand a burial, they are pricey. The cost of these caskets is double than the ones made from styrene.
4. Metal pet casket
If price is not a concern, you can purchase a metal pet casket to hold the remains of your beloved animal. These pet caskets cost well over $1,000, but they have all the trimmings associated with a coffin made for humans.
Metal pet caskets are also highly durable and will not collapse under the heavy weight of the soil.
5. Crowned burial vault
Before you place your beloved pet inside any container for burial, consider what may happen after you use a spade to place dirt over the top. Some of the receptacles we have previously listed will not be able to maintain their shapes after being buried. They may collapse, and the result will be a spot of uneven ground.
In cemeteries for humans, the casket is placed into a concrete vault before soil covers the grave. To keep your pet’s burial site from collapsing, you might consider burying the animal directly in a crowned burial vault.
Depending on the size, pet burial vaults can be purchased for around $100. Before buying a pet vault, look at the rating to see how much weight they can handle.
6. Biodegradable burial pod
Another pet casket option is a biodegradable pet burial pod. These are available for smaller animals, such as fish, hamsters, and rats. The largest pod we could find measured 26 x 18 x 10 inches, so they could be used to bury larger animals as well.
Placing your pet in this container will reduce the likelihood that the animal’s grave will be disturbed by another creature for sure. It is also a greener option for those who wish to minimize their impact.
7. Wooden casket
Hire an artisan to create a wooden casket for your pet. The price of this project may vary greatly, depending on the type of wood, the skill of the craftsperson, and the embellishments on the casket. If you have the materials, you may also consider building an animal casket on your own. This would be a loving way to say goodbye to a faithful companion.
Some people choose to have their pets cremated and then bury the remains. The remains may be placed directly into the ground, or you can purchase or create an urn to hold underground.
There are plenty of pet urns on the market made from a wide variety of materials. Like caskets, urns may also collapse under pressure after the soil is replaced on top after burial. Pay attention to the size of the urn if you buy one online. Most urn retailers recommend that one pound of the deceased requires one cubic inch of urn space.
Baskets made from natural materials have also become popular burial receptacles. They are typically inexpensive, have a natural look, and will biodegrade. Consider lining the basket with a favorite blanket before burial.
One company makes an easy-to-use burial shroud that is appropriate for burial. This product cocoons the animal inside several layers of beautiful material. Cloth handles wrap around the body of the animal and make it easy to transport the pet to the gravesite.
Of course, you can also create your own shroud for your pet. If you want the product to be biodegradable, check the product label to make sure only natural fibers were used in the construction.
11. Tree urn
Some people scatter their pet’s remains while others want to visit a specific place to pay their respects and remember their pet. If you plan to cremate your pet after death, consider purchasing a tree urn to hold the remains.
These products often come with a tree sapling and instructions on how to incorporate the pet’s cremated remains with the soil. Plant the tree urn in your yard and think of your pet as you watch the tree grow and mature.
Honoring Your Pet With a Funeral and Burial
Other people may not understand the acute grief you may be feeling over your deceased pet. But as many of our own pets become much-loved family members, it can be extremely hard to heal and accept our new realities.
Hosting a pet funeral and burying said pet can be an earnest way to provide peace for not just you and your family, but to remember and honor the memories that you had with your other furry family member.