Pet Home Burial Instructions

  1. Review and familiarize yourself with the enclosed copy of Washington State laws regarding pet burial. 

  2. Check your county ordinances for restrictions. 

  3. Consider whether you own the property on which you intend to bury your pet. If you do not own the property (for example if you are a renter), obtain permission from the property owner.

  4. Consider environmental factors. Does your desired burial location have tree roots, and/or rocks that will make digging difficult.

  5. Consider future additions when choosing a location.

  6. Call your local utilities office to come mark your yard. There may be gas lines or water lines buried underground.

  7. If you need to delay the burial, you may want to place your pet’s body in an airtight plastic container and put your pet in a refrigerator or freezer.

  8. Wrap your loved one in a small blanket, t-shirt, or pillow case made of a biodegradable fiber such as 100% cotton. Avoid any kind of plastic, synthetic fibers or synthetic fiber blends. You may or may not decide to use a cardboard box as a casket. Biodegradable pet caskets and biodegradable urns are available. Wood urns are acceptable for this purpose. These can be purchased through your local crematory or ordered online.  Before placing the order, verify the size you will need.

  9. Many people like to bury flowers, a special pet toy or other meaningful object  with the pet.

  10. An adequate depth for burial is four to five feet. This is deep enough to prevent other animals investigating the area. At least three feet of soil should be on top of the body. 

  11. If you elect to have your pet cremated then buried, using an organic soil mixture along with the cremains will create a nutrient-rich mixture that will benefit the earth and help plants around the burial site flourish. (Burying cremains with no mixture can be too concentrated in carbon to allow for proper growth.)

  12. When handling deceased pets’ remains:​

    • Wear protective clothing.

    • Wear disposable rubber or plastic gloves while handling remains.

    • Wear a protective mask to prevent the inhalation of fungal spores.

    • All clothing worn while handling remains should be scrubbed with soap, detergent, or bleach.

  13. ​Use a headstone, decorative piece, tree, or flowering shrub to discourage digging. If you plant a tree or shrub over the grave, be sure the original hole is extra deep to allow for the root ball and a thick layer of dirt for the roots to grow.

  14. Remember, if euthanasia medications were administered, a pet’s body is deadly to other pets and wild animals if consumed.

  15. Consider creating a memorial display (a nice option for family with children). Ask kids to find objects around the yard to decorate the grave. Provide each child with a collection bag and ask them to collect – shells, flowers, feathers, bark, acorns, leaves, twigs, stones, berries, and keepsake objects such as leashes, collars, and even pictures or drawings made in honor of your pet. Touching, smelling, and assembling a memorial display of their own in honor of a dear friend teaches respect for the dead and the family grave site. It reaffirms the importance of the loss to the family as a whole.

  16. Many people find it comforting to hold a small memorial ceremony at the graveside.  It can be good for the soul to hear other’s memories and favorite attributes your recently departed friend. This can be the beautiful final farewell your pet deserves.