Pet Caskets: Types, Cost & Cheap or DIY Alternatives


The death of a pet is never easy. Though many pet owners opt for cremation, some pet owners would prefer a traditional burial and casket to memorialize their loving companion. There are many options available that work with a wide range of budgets.

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Pet caskets differ slightly from human caskets in size, cost, material, and the ability to personalize. However, when it comes to choosing a casket or even creating one for your beloved pet, you’ll be able to find a cost-effective, beautiful, customized casket that serves as the perfect tribute.

What’s a Pet Casket?

Pet caskets and pet funerals have been around for thousands of years. The earliest pet burials we know of are those which occurred in Egypt when cats were often mummified and buried along with their owners.

Today, there is a growing trend of pet cremation, though pet burial is still widely accepted and utilized. There are even a growing number of dedicated pet cemeteries that offer all the services regularly utilized with human funerals and burials.

Many pet owners don’t want to bury their pet in a backyard and often worry about doing so in case they ever relocate. A pet cemetery provides a permanent place for your pet that allows you to go visit and place flowers at the grave, knowing your pet is safely interred. 

Whether you decide to bury your best friend in a pet cemetery or for burial in your own backyard pet cemetery, you’ll need a casket. A pet casket is similar to a human casket in that it can be made of a wide variety of materials and can be placed in the ground.

Just like human caskets, pet caskets can be biodegradable or completely sealed so they are water and airtight. Many have beautiful interiors with a cushion and satin or velvet lining and are made of traditional materials such as cherry or mahogany. However, the fancier the casket, the more you should expect to pay.

How Much Does a Pet Casket Usually Cost?

Like everything else, the price of caskets depends on different factors. The first thing to consider is the size of your pet. The smaller your pet, the smaller casket you’ll need. Most caskets are divided into the following size ranges:

  • Extra Small - Up to 8 lbs
  • Small - Up to 25 lbs
  • Medium - Up to 50 lbs
  • Large - Up to 90 lbs
  • Extra Large - Up to 180 lbs

The smaller the animal, the less expensive their casket will be. This is largely due to the expense for materials and time to create the casket. In general, you can expect to pay much less for a casket that will house a cat or Shih Tzu as opposed to a Great Dane.

Another consideration to factor into total cask is the material the casket is made of. Just like with human caskets, higher grades of material will cost more. Traditional wood caskets typically range anywhere from $200 to $600 depending on the size and type of wood desired. Biodegradable caskets, on the other hand, typically range from $20 to $50. 

DIY caskets will cost as much as you spend on materials to make it, but won’t have any labor or shipping costs associated with purchasing a ready-made casket from a supplier. High-impact polystyrene caskets can go up as high as $300 depending on desired features and customization. Metal caskets will cost the most and can be nearly as expensive as a human casket depending on the size needed.

In order by expense, here is what you can expect to pay for a pet casket:

  • Metal - Up to $1,200
  • Wood - Up to $600
  • Polystyrene - Up to $300
  • Wicker - Up to $300
  • Biodegradable - Up to $100

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that also protects your pet from the elements, a polystyrene option is often the best way to go. These caskets can be fully water and airtight, lined, padded, and customized for around $300.

Can You Build Your Own Pet Casket?

With the trend toward DIYing these days, why not DIY your own pet casket? You might consider this option due to your budget, a desire to craft something personal for your furry best friend, or because you have skills like woodworking. So, yes, you absolutely can build your own pet casket. 

When deciding to build a pet casket, there are a few things to keep in mind before you start out. If you want to build a casket from wood, be sure that you have the woodworking skills necessary to tackle the job. While you can simply nail or fasten boards together with wood glue, if you have a specific design in mind, it could be a good idea to consult a local builder to ensure you have the tools to bring your design vision to life.

As any woodworker knows, it’s important to first draw up your plans before you begin sawing. Measure each piece and carefully craft your design. Take your time and let your creation be a labor of love for a pet who gave you their love and dedication for life. If you want to build one but aren’t sure about crafting plans, you can purchase plans or a kit. There are wood casket kits available to purchase with all the parts needed which you can assemble and personalize.

If you don’t have the skills or tools necessary to build a wood casket, you could consider building a biodegradable casket from cardboard, instead. Just like the wooden options, there are numerous DIY kits available to choose from and each can be assembled at home. 

Different Types of Pet Caskets and Cheap or DIY Alternatives

Similar to human caskets, pet caskets aren’t limited to one specific type of material. You can choose from metal and wood caskets, sealed options made of polystyrene, and environmentally-friendly options made from a wide range of biodegradable materials. 

The type of casket you choose will largely depend on how long you want it to last in the ground, whether you want your pet sealed, or whether you want a green burial. Here are several types of caskets available for pet owners.

1. Metal caskets

These caskets look just like human caskets and often cost just as much. They are made of steel and are often sealed to prohibit water, air, or soil from entering.

These caskets are highly customizable and can be made in different colors such as gold, rose gold, or silver. They also have beds inserted that are covered with fine grade satin or velvet. If you want the ultimate in luxury for your pet’s final resting place and budget isn’t an issue, metal is the best money can buy.

2. Wood caskets

Wooden caskets are an ideal choice for pet owners who want an elegant casket that resembles human caskets. In fact, many wood pet caskets can be made to match the casket of their owners, if a design has already been chosen.

These caskets come in many options and the grade of wood chosen relates directly to the available budget. Pine is less expensive and more budget-friendly while wood such as oak, cherry, and mahogany are on the more expensive end. 

The total price for wood caskets will differ depending on the size of the animal and the amount of wood required for the casket. Just like metal caskets, wood caskets usually have a padded ped inside and are lined with satin.

3. Styrene caskets

Styrene is a plastic that is non-degradable. Caskets made of styrene or polystyrene are ideal for pet owners who want their pet to rest in peace without the potential for air, water, or soil to leak into the casket.

This casket is a permanent option that works well for burial in a pet cemetery or a backyard cemetery. Since the casket will not degrade, it can be disinterred and transferred from one backyard resting place to another should the owners ever relocate.

Polystyrene caskets are budget-friendly options that come plain but can easily be decorated and customized. 

4. Wicker caskets

If you want a biodegradable option that is still budget-friendly, wicker caskets are a beautiful option. Woven into intricate designs and lined with a pillow, these caskets are ideal for animals up to medium-sized animals weighing up to 50 lbs. Wicker is harder to personalize since there is no flat surface area to draw, write, or paint. 

However, they can be decorated by weaving or tying ribbons into the weave of the basket. A small toy or memento can also be included inside with your pet for burial. Woven caskets are always biodegradable and are green-burial friendly.

5. Cardboard casket

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, cardboard caskets are the way to go. Don’t let the name fool you, however. Cardboard caskets are made to look beautiful and elegant and serve as fitting tributes for any pet’s burial. Many are decorated with beautiful scenes, are adorned with poems, or can be personalized with your pet’s picture, name, and dates. 

For pet owners wanting a green burial that adds to the environment, you can choose a cardboard casket that is infused with wildflower seeds. As the casket breaks down, you’ll see a profusion of wildflowers grow up in the place of your beloved pet’s burial. This casket is ideal if choosing to bury your pet in a backyard memorial area.

6. DIY caskets

If you want to make your pet’s casket, you can easily DIY a wood or cardboard casket. These come in kits or you can choose to create your own plans and build it yourself. If you want to learn a new skill, read up on a weaving tutorial to create a wicker woven casket. Another inexpensive DIY option available that is growing in popularity is 3D printed caskets. This is a cost-effective option for small-sized pets. Any DIY casket can be customized according to your wishes. 

Customization can be an important step in helping children say goodbye to their beloved friend. Consider having your child draw or paint a picture, write a poem, or write a goodbye message on the casket in preparation for burial.

A Fitting Burial for a Close Companion

Burying your furry friend can be a difficult process but thanks to the wide range of options available, you can be confident in choosing a casket you know they would love. What matters most is feeling like you have done right by their memory, and choosing the right casket can help you honor them the way you know best.

If you're looking for more ways to honor your pet after they died, read our guides on planning a dog's funeral and pet urns for dogs.


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