How Long Does It Take For a Dog to Decompose? (Quick Facts)

How Long Does It Take For a Dog to Decompose

Life is a beautiful scene, especially when you have a tight bond with a loving dog companion. However, after its life is finished, a dog’s body can be buried or naturally left to the device of Mother Nature.

If buried deep underground, it can take between 6 months and 20 years for a dog’s body to fully decompose. However, if left above ground in the open, full decomposition can happen between 2 week and 2 months.

There’s more to know about the decomposition of a dog’s body, so stick around and allow me to tell you more.

How Long Does It Take For a Dog to Decompose Buried In Dirt?

When a dog is buried in the dirt, it can take anywhere between 6 months and 20 years to fully decompose. This is because it has protection from scavenger animals and potentially a solid cover to protect the dog.

Additionally, the Earth has its own mechanism that slowly – but surely – decomposes the dog by using various mechanisms that degrade the dog such as enzymes, natural earthly chemicals like methane, and small animals like worms and beetles.

Dirt is also a facet that makes the process long because the dirt is actually a form of preservation for the dog.

How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Decompose Above Ground?

When the dog is above ground, decomposition starts within the hour and can be completed within 2 months. Being above ground means that there is no box to protect the dog and no dirt to preserve it either.

Therefore, while above ground, it is exposed to elements such as the sun, wind, and water, which speeds up the degradation process. Scavenger animals, such as vultures, are also above ground and will take full advantage of the dog, making decomposition much faster than if the dog was underground.

This is more of the typical scenario, as most dogs are left to decompose above the ground.

How Long Does It Take For Dog Hair To Decompose?

What I found out is that dog hair tends to be soft and warm, therefore making it flexible and biodegradable. Because of this, it typically takes about one month for dog hair to fully degrade.

The hair can be taken in by the soil and absorbed into the Earth. It can also be used by other animals, like birds, as a support to their new home. No matter where the hair is, because of the physical nature of hair being dead once it grows out of your scalp, dog hair doesn’t need much to decompose.

How Long Does It Take For Dog Bones To Decompose?

Dog bones take the longest to decompose. Above ground, the body takes a few months to decompose, while beneath it, it can take years to degrade down to the bones. Dog bones can take on average 20 to 30 years to degrade.

The skeleton of the dog is still wrapped in tendons which protect the bones. Once they have disintegrated, the collagen inside of the bones will begin to soften and become brittle. After this phase, the bones become small enough to leave around a mineral frame of the dog.

When Does A Dog’s Body Start To Decompose?

Decomposition of a dog’s body begins as soon as the dog’s heart stops beating.

Because of this, blood isn’t capable of rushing through the dog’s body to keep its muscles and tendons alive, which is why after the body ceases to move, the muscles of the dog is the first to start decomposing.

Following the muscles, the skin and hair begin to become dehydrated and dry, making it easy for the hair to fly off and its skin to shrivel up underneath it. In the end, decomposition starts when the dog life ends.

How Long Can You Keep A Dead Dog Before Burial?

My research shows that you can keep a dead dog approximately 12 to 24 hours before burying it. There are several reasons for such a short time period including emotional distress, acceptance, and of course, the stench that comes from decomposing the body.

Generally, where you keep the dog after it dies can also determine how much time you spend with it before placing it into the ground. A cool room will degrade the body slower, while a warmer room would speed up the process.

How Long Does It Take For a Dead Dog To Smell?

A dog’s body will begin to decompose as soon as it dies; and within 10 to 12 hours, the dog’s body will create a strong and unpleasant smell that insists that the dog be buried or taken to another area.

It has been proven that chemicals from the body, such as methane and sulfur, leave the body one the components within it have completely broken down. It is these chemicals that create the stench of a dead body, and it happens much sooner than the full degradation of the dog’s body.

How Deep Should You Bury A Dog?

Generally, if the dog is small, you’ll want to bury it with at least 4 feet of dirt; whereas if the dog is medium or big, 6 feet is deep enough to be sufficient.

You should follow this rule of thumb because this depth has been shown to be too deep for scavenger animals to smell the scent of the dog’s body and keeps them from trying to dig it up.

Additionally, once the decomposition begins, 3 to 6 feet of layered dirt is an adequate amount of earth to keep the degradation animals – like bugs and maggots – from reaching the top of the soil.

Minimum Depth To Bury A Dog

The smallest layers of soil that should be layered on top of a degrading dog’s body is 2 to 3 feet.

This depth suffices because it is both deep enough to grant the dog’s body peace for animals that may want to dig it up if they smell it, as well as shallow enough for you to not have to put in too much energy to give your dog a proper memorial.

Also, this depth is shallow enough to not interfere with utility lines that may lie 4 to 6 feet underground.

Can You Bury A Dog In Your Garden?

You’ll want to check with your state law to determine if it is legal to do so in your area, but generally, in most states, it is completely acceptable to bury your dog in your garden.

Your home garden could be a sentimental resting place for your family pet, as well as a nice setting that will protect it from other animals. Keep in mind that you should bury that dog at least 8 to 10 feet away from plant life, as the chemicals from the degrading body could interfere with their growth process.

Best Way To Bury A Dog

The best way to bury a dog is to place it in a secure area away from any power lines or water sources that may be prone to flooding.

Research also shows that burying your dog in a form of containment is best to keep the body preserved, versus simply placing the dog’s body directly into the Earth. This will cause the spread of various bugs and the creation of new ones.

Most forms of containment exist in the forms of bags, boxes, and coffins made out of various biodegradable materials such as plastic or wood.

Should I Bury My Dog In A Plastic Bag?

A heavy-duty plastic bag is one of the most efficient ways to bury your dog. The plastic bag will encase the full body of the dog and keep all of the degradation process within it. The smell of the dog will also be masked, therefore, reducing the amount of animals that may try to come and dig it up.

Additionally, you should know that placing the dog in the plastic bag preserves the body longer and secures it better within containment boxes such as wooden or metal coffins.

How To Bury A Dog With Parvo?

Parvo is a highly contagious virus that creates gastrointestinal distress and illness within puppies and dogs. Parvo is also capable of spreading through soil, which makes it a hazard.

The best way to bury a dog with parvo is to first wrap it in a heavy-duty, sealable, plastic bag. Next, place the bag in a shut-and-cealed coffin or box to keep the disease from spreading. Finally, place the box in a safe area where the dog is less likely to be dug up by other animals.

How To Bury A Dog In the Winter?

To properly bury a dog during winter time, you’ll first want to wrap the dog in a secure plastic bag and place the bag in a tight and sturdy box structure.

When it’s time to bury them, you’ll want to dig past the frost line until you reach soft soil so that the casket is a few feet deep below the frost line. Next, simply place a tarp of the container and refill the burial site with the soil.

This process has been proven to work and ensures a secure and peaceful resting place for your dog.

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