Can you bury an animal in your backyard? Pet burial laws in the UK allow you to bury your pet’s remains at home. Thus, many pet owners choose to make their back garden their furry companions’ final resting place. To them, it is a more personal way of laying their beloved pets to rest. Moreover, home pet burial is also a more practical and cost-effective option.
Whilst these are understandable reasons, it is not the safest nor most reliable choice. Back garden pet burials not only endanger the lives of people but also harms the environment and wildlife.
Why Should You Be Wary of Back Garden Pet Burial?
If a pet has been put to sleep, this process involves administering a highly potent anesthetic agent called pentobarbital. It takes up to a year for this drug to dissolve from a deceased pet’s body.
Stray or wild animals might dig up back garden pet burials. They might scavenge on the pet’s remains and end up getting poisoned by the euthanasia solution.
Moreover, if your pet died because of some disease, it will still persist within his body even after death. Therefore, home pet burials may also cause the spread of viruses and diseases to wildlife and neighbourhood pets. For instance, it is known to cause parvovirus in dogs.
Another complication of back garden pet burial is its potential to contaminate the nearby water sources. Since any organic material will break down during decomposition, it will transmit bacteria and nutrients into the nearest water or soil. Therefore, it can sully the cleanliness and safety of the water supplies.
In some cases, pet burials are held near lakes, local reservoirs, and other water supplies. The possibility of disease transmission carried by the animal furthermore heightens the hazard of water contamination.
Lessons Learned the Hard Way
Rachel Allevana, a veterinary anatomic pathologist, shared two heartbreaking aftermaths of home pet burials that she has witnessed first-hand. These accidents are eye-openers that can warn pet owners to choose the proper burial method for their deceased pets.
The first accident was about a family that euthanised their pet mouse, which they held a home burial for later on. Unfortunately, the family’s pooch, a terrier, managed to uncover the rodent’s burial site and ate it. For almost a week, the dog became comatose and was in intensive care.
The other case of a home pet burial accident involved two farm dogs. They found bones from a cow that has been euthanised months prior. This one ended more tragically as one dog died, whilst the other was severely sick for many days.
What Are the Other Options Available Other than Home Pet Burial?
Although these accidents from home pet burials seldom happen, the effects could be fatal. If this method of laying a deceased pet to rest is not a safe option, then what is the best way to bury a dead pet?
Pet owners are suggested to consider other alternatives such as professional pet cremations or donating their deceased pets to vet pathologists.
Is it better to cremate or bury a pet? Pet cremation is far safer than pet burial. Since the whole pet cremation process is handled by experts, it evades the environmental and health risks that are prone to happen in home burials. These options offer the pet owners a wide range of options that they could choose from.
Donating Pet Remains to Experts
Donating your deceased pet to an expert for post-mortem examinations will help determine the cause of death.
Additionally, they may also use the samples and information they have gathered from the autopsy for research purposes. It is going to be utilised to develop knowledge regarding diseases and treatments of animals and people.
Donated pets supply veterinary pathologists with valuable information on how a certain disease may affect the body. Since the pet’s veterinarian is also informed of the autopsy findings, they can validate the diagnosis.
It is extremely significant because they can provide closure for the grieving owners due to their pet’s passing.
How much does a pet burial cost?
Burying your beloved pet dog or cat in a pet cemetery can be expensive. It may cost between £300 and £750. Pet cremations are far less costly than cemetery pet burials. Note that the price will depend on the type of cremation and the size of your departed pet.
Communal cremation costs from £40 to £100, whilst the fee for private pet cremation or individual cremation is approximately£75–£200.
Are you wondering if there are fees to get your pet’s ashes returned? The answer is, usually, pet cremation companies will charge around £100–£150 for the transportation fee.
Where Should You Bury Your Pet at Home?
If you do not have the means to bury your pet’s remains in the cemetery dedicated to pets or have it cremated by a pet cremation service, you may opt to bury your pet at home. However, take note of the following:
- It is illegal to bury your pet on rented land or public space. Back garden pet burial should be done in a land that you own.
- Make sure to check with the vet first to ensure that your pet’s remains are not hazardous to human health. (If a vet refuses to release your pet’s remains due to risky reasons, a written explanation can be requested from them.)
- Take final care of your pet by wrapping him in biodegradable material. This can be in the form of a wicker, a woolen rug, or a cardboard rug. This will prevent stray or wild animals from digging out his remains.
- Bury your pet in a spot away from water sources. His grave must be no less than three feet deep to keep his remains covered.