When a Dog Is Buried in Your Yard, How Long Does it Take to Decompose?

There are going to be many different reasons why you may have questions about your dead dog and how long it takes for them to decompose.  Maybe you have some type of dead dog that is on your land and you simply don’t want to disturb it in any way.  Perhaps one of your own dogs has recently passed away and you are hoping to give them a final resting place somewhere on your property.  No matter what the reason may be for you wanting to learn about a dead dog and decomposition, here is everything that you will need to know about having a dead dog and how long they take to decompose.

How Long Does a Dead Dog Take to Decompose?

If your dog has recently passed and you are planning on burying them somewhere on your property, you are going to want to make sure that the whole that you put them in is very deep in the ground.  This is because it can take your dog anywhere from 6 months, all the way up to 18 years in order for your dog to decompose fully.  If you decide to leave them above ground and not bury them at all, the rate at which they decompose is going to occur much quicker.  With that being said, in order to fully understand how long it can take for your dog to decompose, you must take into account the fact that there are going to be several different factors in play.  So, your dog’s decomposition will be dependent upon how deep they have been buried, the climate of the area where they are buried, and even if your dog has been wrapped before being buried.  These components are all going to greatly affect your dog’s decomposition.

How Your Dog Decomposes

As was just mentioned, the amount of time it takes your dead dog to decompose is going to depend upon several different factors.  Here is what you must consider in terms of decomposition after your dog passes.

  • Are you planning on leaving them above ground or are you going to bury them?
  • What type of soil are they being buried in? Different types of soil are going to have different PH levels, meaning that the soil is going to play a huge role in how quickly or slow your dog decomposes.
  • How deep are you planning on burying your dog? Is their grave going to be deeper or on the shallower side?
  • What is the temperature, climate, and environment like where you are planning to bury them?
  • Is your dog going to be buried inside of a coffin, will they be wrapped in a blanket of some kind, or are you planning on burying them in nothing?
  • How big is your dog? This is important as larger dogs are typically going to take a much longer time to decompose when compared to their smaller counterparts.

How Long Does Decomposition Take When They Are Buried Underground?

In a standard, average climate, a dog that has been buried underground and has not been wrapped up in anything, will more than likely take between 6 months and 1 year to fully decompose.  If you were to bury that dog even deeper in the ground and inside of a plastic coffin, it can potentially take up to 18 years for them to completely decompose (which by decompose, what is meant is that everything will have been absorbed into the soil except for their bones).

How Long Does Decomposition Take When They Are Left Above Ground?

If a dog dies and is then left above ground to decompose, the entire process is going to be somewhat quick.  On top of your dog’s body decomposing naturally, you will also have the scavengers of the area picking away at their corpse as well.  This means that maggots, flies, and even some of the weather factors are all going to be speeding up the decomposition process.  Taking into account that the temperature is not going to be too cold or too hot, you should expect the decomposition process to be much quicker, that being to the tune of 1 month or even less if it was a smaller dog.

What are the 5 Stages of Dog Decomposition?

If you decide that you are going to leave your dog above ground in order to have them decompose quicker, you are going to witness 5 different stages that their body is going to go through.

  1. Fresh Stage – This stage is going to be right after your dog passes away. Within the first 3-6 hours after their passing, their body is going to start cooling down and rigor mortis is going to start occurring.  Blood will began pooling on the bottom of their body that is in contact with the surface that they are on.  Flesh flies and blowflies will began appearing, seeking a place to lay their eggs and feed.
  2. Bloat Stage – This is the stage where gases will began accumulating inside of your dog’s dead body, leading them to having a bloated type of appearance. Fluids are going to start being pushed out of the orifices of your deceased dog due to this same buildup of gases.  This is also going to be the phase where you will start smelling your dog decomposing.
  3. Active Decay Stage – This is the stage when your dog’s body will begin to decrease in size. Maggots will be noticeable as they are eating all over your dog’s body and all of the fluids will now have escaped.  Once the active decay stage has finished, all of the maggots will then leave your dog’s body.
  4. Advanced Decay Stage – By the time this stage occurs, there is not going to be very much left that will need to decompose. Your dog’s bones and hair will still be there, but even the grass around where they are decomposing is going to have started looking dead too.
  5. Dry Remains Stage – This is the final stage of decomposition, meaning that all that will be left of your dog at this point is going to be cartilage, bones, and dried out skin.

Now that you are aware of how your dog is going to decompose and what you can expect as far as a timeline is concerned with the entire process, you may be wondering how long you should wait until you do bury them.

How Long to Wait to Bury Your Dog?

While losing a dog is going got be like losing a member of your family, you will need to give them a final resting place.  But how long after they pass should you wait to bury them?

According to several different veterinarians, you are not going to want to wait too long before you bury them and say your final goodbyes.  If you leave your deceased dog laying around and give them a chance to start the decomposition process, you will notice that they have started putting off an odor and started to attract flies within the first 24 hours of their passing.  However, you are going to want to wait to bury them enough so that you are able to actually confirm that they are indeed deceased.  As soon as you notice that rigor mortis has started setting in (which is within the first 2-6 hours of their passing), it is a confirmation that they are now deceased and you can start to process of burying them.

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