Saying our final farewell to our beloved pets is a difficult reality of the cycle of life. During these times we encourage families to try and plan ahead whenever possible. Planning ahead can help alleviate distress at the time of loss and allows you for focus more on planning a proper burial. In this article we outline some of the most common concerns & suggestions for planning a dignified burial.
Preparing for Burial
Choosing a Proper Location for Burial
Choosing a proper location for the burial is an important step when considering a final farewell. Many families choose to use a personal space such as a backyard or other special location close home. This close proximity helps keep the pet close which is a source of comfort for many individuals.
Another option available is to use to use a local pet cemetery. We encourage checking with your veterinarian for reputable suggestions or looking in a local phonebook for other alternatives in your area. Prices can vary widely in pet cemeteries depending on location and plot.
City & County Burial Regulations
One aspect which is commonly overlooked is verifying regulations with any local authorities in your city/county. Some cities have regulations which do not allow a burial to be performed at a home. The most accurate information available is available at your local county health department or animal control for specifics in your area. For safety purposes we encourage checking with local utility companies to ensure you are not digging above any utilities such as electricity or gas.
Communicating with your Veterinarian
If your veterinarian is going to be keeping your pet for a day or more it is important to let the vet know your plans for a burial. This will allow the vet to properly position the legs, allowing for easy placement into the casket.
Burial Depths & Suggestions
When performing a burial the most commonly recommend depth is at least 18″ below ground surface. In areas with high levels of water we encourage digging deeper to ensure water tables do not unearth the casket over time. We strongly encourage individuals to use a depth of 24″ or deeper to help discourage any curious wildlife.
As always when digging, we recommend checking with local utility companies to ensure you are not digging above any utilities such as electricity or gas.
Sizing – Choosing the Correct Size Casket
When selecting a pet casket it is important to select an appropriate size for burial. The proper way to select a casket is done simply by having 3 measurements:
- Length: Distance from the pets nose to base of tail.
- Width: Distance from the top of the back to the hind stifle (knee).
- Height: When the pet is laying on their side this will be how high they are.
The length, width and height measurements can then be used to select a casket with an appropriate inside dimension.
It is always recommend to select a casket that is at least an inch or two larger then the measurements taken. This will help to accommodate any liner used and make the transfer as simple as possible.
Sealing – How the Caskets Close
When selecting a casket there are a variety of ways that each casket will seal. Below we list some of the available caskets and how they seal.
Friction fit caskets are sealed with a lid that is simply pressed on. In addition a double sided adhesive is provided to help create a tighter seal. The blue adhesive is shown on the perimeter of the casket to the right.
Adhesive sealing caskets allow the top to be sealed with the use of an adhesive tape or glue. This simple method allows for the adhesive to be placed along the outer perimeter of the casket so the lid can be gently pressed on. The photo to the right shows the edge surface of the casket.
Materials – Biodegradable vs. Non-Biodegradable
When choosing a casket there are two primary differences in the materials; biodegradable and non-biodegradable. Biodegradable caskets will naturally deteriorate over time. One of the primary reasons for choosing a biodegradable casket is for their ecological and environmental impact. Placing a pet in a biodegradable casket will allow the body to return to the environment as the result of natural processes. Biodegradable caskets are typically made from organic materials such as tree bark or paper.
The non-biodegradable caskets are used commonly to help preserve the body and keep any outside elements separated. The non-biodegradable caskets such as the Eternal Rest will likely take hundreds of years to naturally break down. The most common used materials in non-biodegradable caskets are polyurethane or high-density polystyrene.