News & Opinion | March 19, 2019 5:00 am

Why You Shouldn’t Bury Your Pet In The Backyard

Your old pets could poison your new ones.

dog sick sense pet
Burying your pet at home could poison your other pets. (Getty Images)
Getty Images

There comes a time in every pet owner’s life when they have to lay to rest their beloved family pet. It turns out that lot of people bury their furry friends in the backyard, which might not be such a great idea.

When pets are euthanized they’re typically given a lethal dose of pentobarbital, a concentrated anaesthetic agent that puts the pet quickly “to sleep.” Unfortunately, the drug can be found in the pet’s body for up to a year, which could be a concern for people who take their pet back for an at-home burial.

Any animal who comes in contact with the pet’s remains could be poisoned by the leftover drug. One family’s dog dug up a recently euthanized pet mouse and ate it, which led to a weeklong stay at the doggy hospital after the pooch slipped into a coma. In another case, two dogs ate some cow bones from a farm which left one of them seriously sick for several days and the other dead.

It’s not just the death drug that could cause harm to other animals in your family or nearby, according to The Conversation. Any germs left behind from an illness that caused your pet’s death might be able to spread to other animals who might come in contact with the burial site.

As an alternative to at-home pet burials, pet owners can have their pet’s remains cremated and contained in an urn- just like us humans. You can also donate your pet’s body to science so it can be studied and potentially lead to scientific breakthroughs that could help other pets and even humans.

“Our pets make excellent ‘models’ of diseases in both pets and people,” veterinary pathologist Rachel Allavena explains, “allowing scientists to study the development and progression of a disease and develop new treatments.”