How to Build a Dog Casket

Unmarked tombstone in graveyard
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  • Keep tools away from children. Wear protective eyewear when operating a saw.


  • Once you've placed your dog's body inside the coffin, secure the lid with additional screws or nails. Add paint, decorative moldings or wooden appliques to personalize your pet's coffin. Customize the interior of the coffin by adding padding and fabric. Eliminating the veneer tape will create an easier project. If storage allows, premake your pet coffin.

Having a canine companion can be one of the most joyful experiences a person has in their lifetime. Dogs are often considered family members, and losing a dog can leave a family devastated and broken. A proper sendoff for a deceased pet can begin the closure process. Building a coffin for your beloved friend allows you to personalize his final resting place.

A Personalized Goodbye

Using the measuring tape, measure your dog. If you're planning to customize a coffin for your dog, measure him while he is living. Measure his height from the top of his head to his paw, and his length from nose to tail. Note your measurements.

Using the pencil, draw out your noted measurements on your plywood, adding 3 to 4 inches to both length and width. You'll need six pieces, two sides, two ends, a bottom and a lid.

Cut your pieces carefully using the circular or table saw.

Sand all pieces using the sandpaper. Removing all rough edges will make burial easier and safer.

Using the power screwdriver and wood screws, secure the end pieces to the sides, adding a screw every 2 inches for stability. When complete, you'll have created a rectangular box.

Place the bottom piece on top of the rectangular square. Secure it using the screwdriver and wood screws, spacing screws about 2 inches apart for stability.

Flip over the box carefully.

Measure all edges and note measurements. Include the edges of the top, which has not yet been secured to the coffin.

Based on the measurements collected in Step 8, cut the veneer tape.

Using the veneer glue, carefully glue the veneer tape lengthwise on the edges. Half the width of the veneer tape should be on each of the pieces that meet where the edges form.

Using the power roller, roll the veneer tape to smooth and remove excess glue.

Wipe up excess glue with the sponge.

Carefully lay the top of the coffin on the finished box.

Place hinges approximately 6 to 12 inches apart, depending on the length of the coffin. The number of hinges you'll need will depend upon the size of your dog and the size of the coffin. If your coffin is 2 feet in length, placing a hinge at each end of the length of the coffin, and one hinge centered at the 1-foot mark should create sufficient stability. Similarly, for a small canine coffin which might only measure 1-foot in length, a hinge at each end and one centered at the 6-inch mark will work fine.

Using the power screwdriver and hardware included with the hinges, secure hinges in place.

Items You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Yardstick or long ruler
  • Pencil
  • Two sheets of 1-inch hardwood veneer plywood
  • Table or circular saw
  • Wood screws - 2 1/2 inches in length
  • Power screwdriver
  • Hinges
  • Wood veneer tape
  • Power roller
  • Masking or painter's tape
  • Sponge
  • Scissors
  • Veneer glue
  • Medium grit sandpaper