Is it a good idea to compost dog poop and use it as a source of fertilizer? Let’s find out in this article.
There are certain hazards that are associated with dog waste, but if you take necessary precautions, composting dog poop is possible. However, it has to be far from edible gardens and natural water sources because dog poop sometimes contains bacteria like E. coli, salmonella and even ringworm.
In this article, I’ll talk about why composting canine feces is a much more environmentally friendly option than just putting it in a plastic bag and chucking it in the nearest trash can. I’ll also explain how you can do it and why you should keep it separate from crops that are meant for consumption. When you finish reading this article, you can pat yourself on the back for knowing more about dog poop than the average person!
Benefits of Composting Dog Poop
One of the biggest benefits of not throwing your dog’s poop in a trash can is that you’ll be decreasing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), composting can lead to a reduction in dog waste by 50%. You’ll be saving tons of landfill space by composting as it will remove the need to transport dog waste to a disposal facility.
Many people choose not to clean up after their dog because, well, it’s a rather stinky business (please excuse the pun), but this can have a detrimental effect on the environment. Dog poop contains pathogens and other dogs will often be tempted to eat it, which can make them sick and it can also find its way into our water sources. Composting it will ensure that it doesn’t pollute these water sources and it will also improve the quality and fertility of the soil.
What Dog Waste Can Be Used For
Before we talk about what dog waste compost can be used for, let’s talk about what it can’t be used for. You cannot use it in compost that’s used for vegetable gardens. The pathogens that are found in it can survive in the soil for years, so it’s best if you keep it separate from your edible garden. It also shouldn’t be used for seed germination as it has high salinity.
Now let’s talk about what you can use it for. The EPA recommends that you use it as a soil additive for revegetation and landscaping. It’s a good source of organic matter and plant nutrients, so you can add it to your garden or potted plants. It can also be used as a mulch material, so you can put it around a plant to enhance or insulate the soil.
How to Composte Dog Poop
There are a couple of things you’ll need before you start composting your pooch’s poop. You’ll need nitrogen-rich materials and carbon-rich materials. The former will include things like dog waste, bagged fertilizer, and the latter will include sawdust, shredded newspaper, a shovel, and two bins or containers. One bin will contain the waste and the other will be used for composting. You’ll also need a thermometer to check the temperature of the compost.
This is step-by-step how to effectively compose dog poop:
- Pick a place in your yard where you can put your compost bin. Make sure it’s in a sunny, dry area and pregnant dogs and kids can’t get near it. Drill holes in the side of the bin that will contain the composting material.
- Add dog waste into the bin and as you do that, add one shovel full of carbon source like sawdust or grass clippings and then mix them thoroughly.
- Add some water into the mixture until it becomes moist.
- Once the bin is full, cover the mixture with something so that when the microbes start doing their job of breaking down organic materials, the heat that’s released from the process remains inside and increases the temperature of the compost pile.
- Using the compost thermometer, measure the temperature of the pile every day. When you notice that the temperature is starting to go down (usually takes two weeks), you can start turning the compost.
- Each time you turn the compost pile, the temperature will increase. You will know the compost process is finished once the temperature stops increasing when you turn the compost pile. Sometimes, the compost pile can get too hot. When that happens, add some water in the mixture to decrease the temperature.
- To stabilize the pH, you have to cure the compost for months and sometimes even a year.
Well, there you go. You just learned how to compost dog poop! Don’t worry if you don’t have a garden of your own. You can use small compost bins which you can easily find anywhere. Composted material from these bins can be used on both outdoor and indoor plants.
Are There Any Health Concerns?
You should keep pregnant dogs and other animals away from the compost area because they can contract diseases and spread them to other animals (and possibly even humans). Another problem is that compost contains mold and fungus spores, which can trigger allergies for many people. You should never compost waste from a dog that has a disease.
Roundworm eggs, which are found in the intestines of infected dogs, can damage lungs, liver, spinal cord, and even the retinas in the eye if they are ingested by humans.
You can minimize these risks by wearing rubber gloves and regularly washing your hands. Set up a separate area for dog waste and composting and don’t use waste from dogs you don’t know because they could be infected. Keep your composting tools and clothes separate from other tools and clothes. Don’t let other people (especially kids) come near the composting area and don’t use dog poop compost on crops that are meant to be consumed by humans.
Compostable Bio-Plastic Bags Aren’t So Compostable
Using compostable bio-plastic bags is not a good idea. They’re usually tossed in with other plastic bags and they’re sent to landfill where they can’t compost because there is no light or air, so there’s no real advantage to using these bags.
Bags that are labelled as biodegradable break down into micro plastics and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) actually warned 20 manufacturers for marketing their products as biodegradable when they usually just end up in the landfills where they don’t biodegrade in the amount of time that these manufacturers promised. Look for certified compostable bags and you’ll be fine.
Congratulations, now you can pat yourself on the back for knowing more about dog poop than most other people do. Many people tend to just leave their dog’s poop on the ground instead of cleaning up the mess and this can result in environmental problems and contamination of our water sources. Dog poop contains bacteria and other harmful pathogens, and other dogs can get ill if they consume it (which many of them do).
Composting your dog’s poop is a great way to make sure that you’re not harming the environment or other people and animals. It has tons of benefits – you get to save landfill space and enrich your soil, and while the process takes a lot of time and effort, it’s doable for most dog lovers.
It can’t be used on edible crops, but you can use it as a soil additive for revegetation and landscaping. There are some risks involved and you should never compost a dog’s poop if the dog is infected, but as long as you take necessary precautions, you should be fine. Happy composting, dog lovers!
Hi! My name is Hamza, I studied Japanese in Tokyo for a year and just moved back to Pakistan. I spend most of my time playing and writing about my pups Milo and Yuki.