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Pet Aftercare

Where To Bury a Pet: Understanding Private vs. Cemetery Burial

We explore the difference between a private home burial and a burial at a pet cemetery, as well as what you should consider when deciding between these two options.

Dr. Bethany Hsia

June 25, 2023

Pets are often a part of the family, and saying goodbye to them can be extremely challenging. Whether your pet’s passing will occur in a traditional veterinary clinic or in the privacy of your home, having a plan for your pet's body can help you process your loss.

While some pet parents prefer cremation for their companion animals, others find that burial offers the comfort of a place to visit and feel close to departed loved ones.

If you're struggling with where to bury a pet, continue reading for information on the difference between private and cemetery burials and what you should consider when deciding between these two options.

Private vs. Cemetery Pet Burials: Key Differences

Before deciding, it’s imperative to understand the differences between private and professional burials to determine which option is right for your pet.

A private burial, on your personal property provides an intimate opportunity to grieve over your pet and keep their final resting place close. Another benefit to home burial; it is often the most economic option for laying a pet to rest.

Professional burial services through a pet cemetery vary widely. It is important to contact the cemetery before your pet has passed so you can acquaint yourself with all the options available and the facility can be sure a plot is prepared for your pet. The cost to have a pet buried in a cemetery will depend on several factors including: the size of your pet, the availability of plots, the type of plot (communal or private), and any memorial items you wish to include. If you plan to have multiple pets laid to rest at the pet cemetery over the years, you may want to inquire about purchasing adjoining plots in advance.

Key Considerations When Choosing Where To Bury a Beloved Pet

Deciding on an aftercare plan is a crucial aspect of saying goodbye to a beloved pet and can help you process the loss. However, in addition to considering your wishes, you will need to be cognizant of important external factors.

Private Burial Laws

You will need to check local and state regulations to be sure that burial on your property is permissible and what guidelines to follow for selecting a location. If you live in a home with a homeowners association be sure to check your covenants, conditions, and restrictions. You will also want to research the rules regarding disclosing animal gravesite information to potential buyers, should you ever decide to sell the property.

Possible Pet Resurfacing After a Private Burial

As unpleasant as it is to consider, we must discuss the possible risks involved with a private burial. Common causes of resurfacing include environmental factors such as flooding and unearthing by wildlife, or simply not burying the pet deep enough. It is important to note that euthanized pets may be fatal to wildlife or other animals disturbing the gravesite.

Guidelines to avoid resurfacing scenarios will be laid out by your local and state government. However, as a rule of thumb always:

  • Ensure burial is legal in your area
  • Avoid burial near bodies of water and soil that is rocky or sandy
  • Be certain there is a minimum of 2 feet of earth above the pet (your area’s regulations may require more)
  • Consider placing wire or grating above the pet and below the topsoil

Burial Container

Another unfortunate but important topic to consider is environmental contamination. As a pet’s body releases itself to the earth, there may be hazardous compounds released as well. If your pet passed away or was euthanized with a contagious disease, speak with your veterinarian to determine the proper precautions. Additionally, if your pet has been given chemotherapy or other large doses of medications consult with your veterinarian. In such cases, they may recommend special caskets or cremation.

If additional precautions are not necessary in laying your pet to rest, there are several options for burial containers. Eco-friendly pods or caskets are commercially available and can give an opportunity for personalization as you memorialize your pet.

Memorializing Your Pet

One of the benefits of burying your pet is that you can create a physical memorial befitting of the impact they’ve had on you. This may be a special marker such as a headstone, bench, or a memorial tree. However you choose to memorialize your pet, simply taking the steps to express their importance to you can be a cathartic way to move through your grief.

Choosing the Right Aftercare for Your Pet

Navigating the end of your pet’s journey can be an emotionally fraught task. Gathering all the pertinent information ahead of time will help you prepare an aftercare plan that honors your pet's memory. After considering the options available to you, pick whichever one will provide you and your family with solace and comfort.

At CodaPet, we understand that deciding where to bury a deceased pet is a highly personal decision, which is why we offer in-home euthanasia and aftercare options that align with how you choose to honor your pet's memory.


Dr. Bethany graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. After graduation, she moved west. Dr. Bethany spent a year at a small animal exclusive practice in Washington state, where she was first introduced to in-home euthanasia.  Read More