Burial or Cremation
The care of your pet continues past their final breath into the care of and dignified disposal of their body. You have a number of choices available to you, depending upon the circumstances of your pets’ death, their size and your living situation and means.
You can choose to have your pet cremated. If you do not wish to arrange this yourselves, your vet will do so for you. In many cases, animals whose bodies are given to the vet to cremate will be cremated with other pets and you will not receive their ashes back. If you would like their ashes and/or wish for your pet to be cremated individually, you or your vet can make the arrangements with a pet cremation service. You have the choice of receiving your pets’ ashes back to keep or to scatter. There are a variety of urns, scatter boxes and small wooden caskets to choose from.
If your pet has died away from home you can transport it back home for burial. You will need to place a plastic sheet under their body and cover them from view as they are travelling .The bodies of our pets will decompose at differing rates depending upon their size and how they have died. It is best to work efficiently if you want to transport your pets’ body from one place to another. You can place dry ice (link to definition and where to purchase) (wrapped in newspaper) around them for longer journeys.
If your pet has died at home and they are no bigger than a medium sized dog, you are able to bury them in your backyard. There is no specific legislation concerning the burial of our pets, but some commonsense considerations do apply. The bigger your pet, the larger and deeper their grave must be. There needs to be ½ to 1 meter of soil cover over their body. It is recommended to place them directly in contact with the earth and if you want to wrap them, then do so in a light cotton material or paper or something biodegradable.
With your children, if it is a pet that fits in a shoebox, encourage the kids to paint it, to take photographs of the finished product. Involve them in the practical tasks assisting with the pets death and burial- either digging the hole, dressing the grave, drawing pictures to place with the pet as it is buried or as it is picked up by one of the pet cremation services.
You are not permitted to bury your pet on public land or in parks. The scattering of ashes is permitted in most places.
You can choose to bury your pet in one of Australia’s pet cemeteries. For the closest cemetery to you and services to support you when taking care of the body of your pet, find services here.
Author Victoria Spence