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Pet Ashes Law: What is the law on burying or scattering cremated pet ashes?

Pet Ashes Law: What is the law on burying or scattering cremated pet ashes?


Sadly unlike human ashes, animal cremains are considered to be a ‘waste item’ in strictly legal terms. The law doesn’t take into account the amount you loved them. Thus they are covered by the law, you are allowed to bury or scatter the ashes in your garden as long as you own the property.

Scattering their ashes, is a different issue and theoretically is not allowed however public bodies such as a local authority or the Environment Agency have to take a proportionate approach and if it is not causing a nuisance, they will deem it not in the public interest to take action.

Let me give you an example, pouring the remains of a pet over neighbours fence would prompt action, but a dusting over a wide expanse such as moorland or the sea would not. It is about being considerate.

Over time the ashes will ingrate into the soil, the more thinly spread and closer to the surface they are, the faster this will happen.

15 thoughts on “Pet Ashes Law: What is the law on burying or scattering cremated pet ashes?

  1. Reply
    Christine - June 27, 2023

    Has anyone been allowed to bury their pet or its ashes in a Churchyard (rather than a cemetery)?

    1. Reply
      Karen Martin - July 4, 2023

      Hi Christine,

      To my knowledge I’ve never known anyone to be allowed to bury their pet in a graveyard. I have heard, anecdotally, that funeral directors have placed a pet cat or dog in with a deceased person so that they are buried together but it is illegal I’m afraid.


  2. Reply
    Courtney Lillie - February 26, 2023

    Hi. I’m wanting to scatter my dogs ashes on the beach. Who would I need to check with to see if this would be acceptable?

    1. Reply
      Karen Martin - March 15, 2023

      Hi Courtney

      Scattering your dog’s ashes on the beach is a lovely way to honour them, you just need to be aware and mindful of others using the beach. May I recommend scattering them in the sea at the end of a high tide so that the ashes go out with the tide and not onto the beach. Karen

  3. Reply
    David Lee - September 16, 2022

    Can a owner have their pets ashes scattered over their grave side ?

    1. Reply
      Karen Martin - November 1, 2022

      Hi David, the quick answer is yes but it does depend where the owner has been buried. Many churches for example do not allow it, you need to ask the land owner’s permission. There are many natural burial sites that now offer this service when you purchase the grave site

  4. Reply
    marley - July 25, 2022

    i got my dog cremated, an i allowed to bury his ashes in a forest where we always used to sit on a large hill? i havé tree seeds that i can plant too, im going to keep some of his ashes but i want to know if i can bury them where nobody goes

    1. Reply
      Karen Martin - November 1, 2022

      Hi Marley, you will need to ask the land owners permission to scatter, do you know who owns the forest?

  5. Reply
    Jak - April 20, 2021

    Can mi babyz petz Tu zum pepl get put wiv me when I get cremated

    1. Reply
      Karen Martin - May 6, 2021

      Thank you for your question Jak. Your baby pet can be buried with in quite a few locations now but you must check beforehand, as with most things it will depend on who owns the site. I hope this is helpful. Karen

  6. Reply
    Sue - May 22, 2019

    Can my pets ages be put in my coffin when I’m cremated?

  7. Reply
    Vivienne Stopp - August 13, 2018

    Can a pets cremated ashes be put on his deceased owners geave

    1. Reply
      Hannah - August 16, 2018

      Hi Vivienne
      You would need to check with the cemetery to find out if they would allow this, I believe it differs depending on location.
      Kind regards

    2. Reply
      Sue Houghton - October 17, 2021

      I left my dogs ashes in cardboard file and planted flowers on top is this acceptable

      1. Reply
        Karen Martin - January 11, 2022

        Hi Sue, did you bury the cardboard file in the garden? Planting flowers on top of buried ashes is a wonderful way to celebrate your dog.

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