Pet Burial Laws By State
Losing a furry friend is one of the hardest things we go through as pet owners. Though we tend to just think about the process of saying goodbye, there are some other decisions to consider as well. Once our furry friends pass on, we must then determine what to do with their body.
In this article we will dive into the details of burying your beloved pet and help you understand the pet burial laws by state.
General Rules On Burying Your Dog
Before we discuss the pet burial rules by state, let’s first dive into the tools you will need to bury your beloved companion. Though we often have an idea in mind of what the burial process entails, we will go into each step below.
First, it is important to be aware of the best options of burial boxes for your pet once they pass. Since your furry friends will be buried in the ground, it’s up to us to find the best biodegradable option. Plastic bins and bags can take years to decompose, making wood or cardboard your best option.
Another factor to consider is how deep your furry friend will need to be buried. If your pet is not buried deep enough in the ground, you run the risk of their grave being disturbed by other animals or environmental factors. To ensure the safety of your pet’s resting place, their burial spot should be at least 3-5 feet deep. Most state burial laws will give you an idea of how deep you must go.
Alternatives To Burying Your Dog In Your Yard
When we say goodbye to our pets, we can become overwhelmed on what to do next. While burying your dog in your backyard is a wonderful way to keep them close, there are other alternatives that we often forget about. To make sure you have all the options on the table, let’s discuss a few alternatives to burying your pet. Keep in mind that some of these options will come with a price tag.
Cremation is becoming the most popular option in terms of remembering our pets. Most animal clinics work with a local cremation service that can offer you a variety of options, ranging from cedar boxes to urns that hold your pet’s ashes. While the average cremation cost will range from $75-$200, your local veterinarian can discuss your options in detail.
If you do not want to bury your pet in your backyard, you can always bury your pet in a local pet cemetery. These cemeteries are created for animals only and will offer a place for your pet to rest in peace. Once your pet is buried in a pet cemetery, you are allowed to visit your pet as often as you would like.
Remembrance stones are a wonderful way to tie your pet’s memory to your home without actually having them buried in your backyard. These stones can be created with your dog’s ashes infused into the stone, then allowing you to place the stone in a special spot in your yard. Most cremation services offer this option, so be sure to ask your local clinic about this option.
Pawprints are another way to keep your pet’s memory alive without having your pet buried in your backyard. You can have your pet’s paw print pressed into a circle of clay that will forever hold, leaving you with a wonderful peace of your furry friend. You can create this on your own when your pet passes away, or ask your veterinarian to create the claw paw print for you.
Is It Legal To Bury A Pet In Your Backyard?
Now that we have discussed some of the details on burying your pet in your backyard, let’s dive into the legality of the process. Thankfully for pet owners that want to remember their pet on their property, it is legal in most states to bury your pet in your backyard.
While it is legal in most states, there are rules and regulations that each state must follow. Though each city may differ in terms of pet burial rules, let’s discuss the pet burial laws in each individual state.
Burial Laws By State
Below is a list of general pet burial laws in each state. While these are the burial rules we have collected, it’s important to check the burial laws for your individual city to be sure.
Disclaimer: We try to provide the most accurate and factual information on state burial laws. These laws can change or get updated throughout the year. For your specific location, please either ask your local veterinarian or search for your city/county/state law regarding their requirements as well as if this is something you are allowed to do. Likewise, if you live within a community that is governed by a Homeowners Associations (HOA), you will want to read their rules or contact them to see if its against their HOA rules to bury your pet in your backyard.
Alabama does allow pet owners to bury their pets in their backyard, as long as they are buried a minimum of 2 feet underground.
Alaska does allow pet owners to bury their pets on their property, but mentions how this can be challenging due to frozen grounds. If you are unable to bury your pet properly due to ground conditions, they recommend following through with cremation.
Most cities in Arizona do not allow home burial of pets on your property, but do allow public pet cemeteries. If you live in Arizona, it’s best to discuss your county’s laws with your veterinarian.
Arkansas does not allow home burial of pets on an owner’s property. Their laws state that the owners must cremate or dispose of their pet’s body within 12 hours of their death.
California law does not allow a pet to be buried on a pet owner’s property. They do note, however, that these rules are not often enforced in rural areas.
Colorado states that pets can be buried on their owner’s property as long as they are not contaminated with infectious disease. There are also in depth rules in terms of burial regulations, so it’s best to speak with your vet about these specific rules if you live in California.
Burying your pet on your property is allowed in Connecticut, as long as you bury them deep enough to avoid scavengers.
Burying your pet in your backyard is allowed in Delaware, but they advise against burying them near any water source.
Florida does allow your pet to be buried on your property, but recommends cremation if the pet is contaminated with an infectious disease.
Pet burial is allowed on your property in Georgia as long as you bury them deep enough to avoid scavengers.
Hawaii does allow home burial, but advises you to check with your individual homeowners association beforehand.
Burying your pet in Idaho is allowed as long as they are buried a minimum of 3 feet underground.
Illinois does allow pet burial on your property as long as the pet is not contaminated with an infectious disease.
Pet burial is allowed in Indiana as long as the pet is buried at least 4 feet deep underground.
Iowa does allow pet burial on your property, but encourages you to check with your individual homeowner association.
Burying your pet on your property is allowed as long as the pet does not pose a risk to the surrounding environment or ecosystem.
Pet burial is allowed on your property as long as the burial site is not within 100ft of a water source, and is buried at least 4 feet underground.
Pet burial is allowed in Louisiana as long as the burial site is at least 6 feet deep, and the animal does not carry any infectious disease.
Maine does allow pet burial on your property as long as it is not near a water source, or the pet is not carrying any infectious disease.
Pet burial is allowed in Maryland as long as the pet is buried at least 4 feet underground.
While the rules vary from town to town, it appears that pet burial is generally allowed on your property. Just be sure to contact your veterinarian to be sure.
Pet burial on your property is allowed in Michigan as long as the site does not interfere with a body of water.
Pet burial is legal in Minnesota as long as the pet is buried sufficiently and away from any body of water.
Burying your pet on your property is legal in Mississippi as long as the pet is buried at least 2 feet underground.
Pet burial is allowed on your property in Missouri as long as the pet is buried 300ft away from your neighbor, and away from any bodies of water.
Pet burial is allowed on your property as long as the pet is buried 2 feet underground.
Pet burial is allowed on your property in Nebraska as long as the pet is buried 5 feet underground and at least 500ft away from any water wells.
You are allowed to bury your pet on your property in Nevada as long as the pet is buried at least 3 feet underground.
You are allowed to bury your pet in your yard in New Hampshire as long as it is at least 75 feet from any water source.
Pet burial is allowed on your property in New Jersey as long as the pet is buried at least 2 feet under.
You are allowed to bury your pet in your yard in New Mexico as long as you have approval from your homeowner association.
There are no state laws involving burying pets on private land in New York, so it’s recommended to speak with your veterinarian about your city’s rules.
North Carolina does allow pet burial on your property as long as they are buried 3 feet underground, and within 24 hours of knowledge of their passing.
Pet burial on your property is allowed in North Dakota as long as they are buried 3 feet underground and are free of any infectious disease.
Ohio does allow pet burial on your property, but urges you to contact your city for specific details on regulations.
Burying your pet in your backyard is legal in Oklahoma as long as the pet is buried at least 3 feet underground.
You are allowed to bury your pet on your property in Oregon as long as they are buried at least 3 feet under.
Pet burial is allowed on your property in Pennsylvania as long as they are buried within 48 hours of their passing.
There are no set regulations on pet burial in Rhode Island, so it’s best to seek advice from your local veterinarian.
Pet burial on your property is allowed in South Carolina as long as the pet is buried at least 1 foot underground.
You are allowed to bury your pet on your property in South Dakota as long as you bury the pet within 36 hours, and they are buried at least 3 feet underground.
Pet burial on your property is allowed in Tennessee as long as the pet is buried away from a water source, and buried at least 3 feet underground.
Pet burial on your property is allowed In Texas as long as the pet is buried at least 3 feet underground.
You are allowed to bury your pet on your property in Utah as long as you do so within 48 hours of their passing.
There are no set regulations in Vermont, so it’s best to seek advice from your local veterinarian.
Burying your pet on your property in Virginia is allowed as long as you do so within 48 hours of your animal passing.
There are no set pet burial rules, so it’s best to seek advice from your local veterinarian.
Burying your pet on your property is allowed in West Virginia as long as they are buried at least 3 feet underground.
Pet burial is not allowed in some counties of Wisconsin, so it’s best to seek advice from your local veterinarian on your city’s rules.
Some parts of Wyoming require approval before burying a pet on your property, so it’s best to contact your local veterinarian for further advice.
As you can see, the pet burial laws vary from state to state. Since regulations can differ in each county, it’s always best to reach out to your local veterinarian for any burial advice for your furry friend.
My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 10 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience I’ve gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! Read more about us here.