Burying Your Animal
It is important to follow some basic instructions for burying your beloved animal.
For a larger animal like a dog or cat or rabbit it is necessary to dig a grave at least three feet deep, so other animals will not try to dig up the grave. Be sure the grave is not close to a water source, like water pipes, or a stream, and if you live in a city make certain the gravesite is not near any underground cables, gas lines, or a well for human consumption of water.
A serious warning to everyone is if your deceased animal has died of any infectious disease it could pose a health risk so in that case I would recommend cremation. If you are in doubt, call your veterinarian, or a veterinary college or university veterinary school, for information, especially if your animal died at home, not in the care of a veterinarian.
You will need to put your departed animal in a wooden box or heavy cardboard or biodegradable container that you will be using for the coffin. Never use plastic. Wrap your loved one in a natural material of your choice and put a plastic liner under the body. It is best to secure the lid and when filling soil on the top of the coffin, someone should make sure the soil is packed down, not loose. You may want to wait a few days for the soil to settle before putting the grave stone or marker on top of the site because it will settle and especially if there is rain or inclement weather. It is also best to plant the flowers or add the sculpture or maybe a small bird bath after the earth has settled. Some families like to further adorn the gravesite with beautiful stones or seashells they have collected, around the edge of the grave or all across the top of the grave site. Another option is to buy a packet of wildflower seeds or small plants that are perennials that will come back every year. Showing this kind of reverence and respect for a beloved animal brings great joy, especially for children.
If you live in a climate with a harsh winter and the ground is frozen when your dear animal goes to the Rainbow Bridge I would recommend cremation. Then the burial or spreading of the ashes can take place when the weather warms up. I would not recommend freezing your animal until spring like some people have recommended. It is too traumatic and can be disturbing psychologically. Many people feel they have to go through the death all over again. It is not good for the human spirit, and especially damaging for children.