How Deep to Dig a Dog Grave + Burial Tips

How deep to dig a dog grave

When your dog passes away you have a number of options. Some people will let the vet deal with the cremation, others will choose to bury their dog on their own property. If you do choose to that, then it’s important to consider how deep the grave should be dug.

If you don’t dig the dog’s grave deep enough it can result in unfortunate situation involving wild animals or the weather. Similarly, understanding the rules and regulations of pet burial in the United States, state by state, can help us to decide whether it is an option in the first place.

Lastly, knowing what alternatives there are to backyard burial can provide us with several options to choose from before laying our beloved dogs to rest.

But, if it’s the short answer you want first, here’s my quick advice on how deep you will need to dig your dog’s grave to prevent anything bad happening.

How deep should you dig a dog grave? To be completely safe, I would recommend that you dig a dog’s grave to four foot deep. This will mean the grave is at low risk of being disturbed by scavengers or earth movement due to things like flooding.

Of course, you don’t have to go that deep with the dog’s grave, but below I will explain why I recommend this grave depth for pets.

How deep should you dig a dog’s grave and how?

When digging a burial hole for your dog, the first thing you should do is find a suitable location. Make sure that the hole is not located anywhere near electrical, water or gas lines, and avoid digging near neighbor’s fences or areas that are close to standing water.

It is also a good idea to pick a grave spot that is unlikely to be disturbed, whether by children, animals, or accidental human interference. If you live in an area that regularly floods, you might be better off choosing an alternative option to laying your dog to rest in your yard (which we will give some examples of further on).

After having chosen a suitable area, you can begin digging your dog’s final resting spot. If you have chosen a burial container or casket, make sure that the hole is wider and longer in length than the burial object.

To ensure your dog is not disturbed by other animals, you should dig a dog’s grave at least 4 foot deep. However, it is worth checking out the local laws to confirm this (some of which we will touch on later in the article).

Additionally, you may want to dig the dog’s grave deeper if you are very concerned about local scavengers or if you live in an area that receives a lot of rainfall.

Having completed this task, you can then ask a friend or family member to help you lower them gently into the grave. Burying your beloved companion with his favorite toys can be a bittersweet way to send them off, and if you have no casket, wrapping them in a biodegradable soft blanket or towel is another alternative option.

It is worth noting that plastic bags and other non-biodegradable items should be avoided so as not to harm the environment.

From here, you can fill in the hole, honor your pooch with some heartfelt last words, and place a plaque or cross in the area as a sign that you will always love your departed pooch dearly.

Is it illegal to bury your dog in your backyard in some states?

In most states (and sometimes even counties and municipalities), the laws and regulations concerning pet burial vary quite significantly. Therefore, you should always make sure to do your research before digging up an area in your backyard.

For example, in Washington State, laws exist that declare the burial of pets is illegal after 72 hours have passed since their demise.

How deep should you dig a dog grave
Your dog’s grave should be deeper than this (Image licensed via

Similarly, these laws also state that animals should be buried at least 3 feet under the soil and 100 feet away from any source of standing water, such as wells, streams, reservoirs, rivers, and lakes.

However, these rules differ significantly in states such as Missouri, where the laws regarding pet burial and dog graves are much stricter.

For example, you would be breaking state law if you were to bury your dog under 300 feet from an existing neighboring residence or body of water, as well as 50 feet from any property lines located in your area.

Handy Hint: If you have dug your dog’s grave, here’s when you can expect them to have fully decomposedby.

For many dog owners, these laws make the act of burying their dogs near impossible unless they own large amounts of land. In most cases, the burial of animals is seen as undesirable in Missouri, and owners are encouraged to seek alternative means to lay their pet to rest.

In Texas, almost the complete opposite of this is true. In most areas of the state, there are no set rules of how to go about burying your dog (except that they need to be covered by at least 3 feet of dirt)… meaning in Texas you should dig a dog’s grave at least this depth.

In most cases, you are free to bury your pooch however you see fit, as long as you own the land, or have the property owner’s permission to do this. However, it is worth mentioning that these laws can vary depending on the city you reside in. You should always check with your local governing body before taking any action in burying your pooch.

In fact, the same mentality should be applied to any town or city, be it in Alaska, California, or Arkansas, regardless of the state rules.

Overall, although the laws and regulations vary greatly throughout the country, the act of burying pets in backyards is not illegal in the US – so long as it does not harm the environment.

Although these state-by-state stipulations can be frustrating for owners desperate to give their pets a private send-off, they are intended to keep animals, people, and the environment safe.

If you ensure that you conduct your research thoroughly and have a large enough backyard or suitable area of land, you should be able to bury your beloved companion without too much worry.

However, if you find yourself struggling with the loss of your beloved pooch and cannot carry out this task, try asking a close family member or friend to assist you.

What alternatives are there to backyard burial?

Although burying a beloved dog on your property can be comforting, there are several other alternatives to graves that are just as respectful and dignified.

Firstly, cremation is one such option that many modern dog owners prefer over burial. For one, it is a quicker process and is often easier for owners to deal with than digging a burial hole for their dogs.

At the crematorium, dog owners can choose a particular urn, box, or piece of jewelry for their dog’s ashes to be placed in. From there, owners can decide whether to scatter their dog’s ashes or keep them somewhere close, such as in an urn located in the garden or in their living room space.

Next to cremation, pet cemeteries can offer dog owners who are looking to move in the future (or those without gardens), a quiet place to visit their dogs grave. For some owners, leaving their dogs behind can be a painful experience.

Although some pet cemeteries have a sinister reputation, due in part to pop culture and other mediums of entertainment, they are often located in scenic areas surrounded by nature.


Saying goodbye to a beloved dog, one who has brought so much joy and love to a family, is without a doubt, one of the hardest things for dog owners to go experience.

Over many years, dogs integrate themselves into our lives, creating bonds with us and becoming tight-knit members of the family.

We spend countless hours taking our dogs for walks, playing with them, feeding them, and cuddling them. And naturally, it starts to feel like they will always be a constant presence in our household, always there to make us laugh and smile when we are sad.

Unfortunately, there is no dog breed that lives forever, no matter how we may wish this to be the case, and eventually, almost all of us will have to lay a beloved canine to rest at some point in our lifetime.

Although it can be distressing to think about, realizing our dogs will not be here forever can help us to better appreciate the time we have with them right now.

When you get to this point, understanding how to bury our dogs in the proper manner can bring us a slither of comfort knowing that we are capable of sending them off in a respectable and dignified way.

After all, this is the least that our beloved companions deserve. When the worst happens and we lose a dog, many of us will look to our garden for a suitable burial place, often finding comfort in the knowledge that their graves are located close to our homes.

So, if do decide to do things your way, how deep you should dig a dog’s grave should really be 4 foot for the reasons I’ve outlined.

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Image in header licensed via

Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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