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Can You Compost Dog Poop?

Updated: 5 days ago


Can You Compost Dog Poop Graphic

Yes, you can compost dog poop easily, and it is a sustainable method to get rid of pet waste.


When you think of compost, you probably think of food scraps that you set aside, and then work into your garden. So, it probably comes as a surprise that dog waste is completely compostable!


Poop (feces) can contain pathogens, of course, so you need to take some precautions when composting pet waste to ensure you're not spreading disease.


This article will discuss how to compost pet waste, its benefits, and how to get rid of dog poop if composting is not an option.


Dog Poop Composting Options


When you compost, all you need to do is mix carbon-rich materials (like sawdust, wood chips, or newspaper) with wet nitrogen-rich materials (poop/manure or food waste).


There are a couple of options for composting pet waste, depending on your living situation and how many dogs you have.


Composting outside


A large yard can work well for a traditional compost pile where the waste is added to a literal pile outside.


This is quite an easy method, as long as you have your dry carbon materials on hand. All you have to do is keep adding poop and sawdust or wood chips to the pile. Make sure you're completely covering the dog feces with the dry material to trap the smell.


Soon, you'll notice the poop smell is gone, and that the inside of the pile is warm. When this starts to happen, use a shovel to start turning the pile, working the cool outer layers in, and bringing the warm layers out.


After a couple of months, you'll have a rich compost to use on your plants.


Vermiculture


Even if you don't have a yard, you can still compost your dog's poop. Vermiculture is one of the easiest ways to do it if you're not too squeamish about worms.


"Vermicomposting" is when worms are kept in a bin, and they convert the organic waste (the dog poo) into compost. However, you can't only add poo to the bin; you'll have to add food scraps too to ensure the worms get enough nourishment.


Bokashi bin


Bokashi is great for homeowners or those living in smaller places. Unlike traditional composting, Bokashi uses an anaerobic process where the "compost" does not get any oxygen. This causes fermentation by specialist bacteria, resulting in a completely composted material to use on your plants.


Hire a composting company


If you don't have the time, energy, or know-how to start composting dog waste at home, you can always contact a professional yard cleaning service who would be willing to set up a compost pile for you.


Alternatively, the service might have its own composting system located elsewhere and will be happy to come collect your dog poop and food scraps for their own pile.


How To Compost Dog Poop: Step-By-Step


Composting is really easy, and if you don't want to have visible poo lying around your garden, you can use compostable poo bags to keep everything aesthetically pleasing.


For this step-by-step guide, we're going to explain composting using a compost bin. However, these steps can be adapted for a pile in your yard.


You should have two bins - one for the compost, and one to store the dry carbon materials. You'll also need a shovel, cool water, and a thermometer (if you want to be really scientific).


Here's the process:


  1. Drill holes in your designated bin.

  2. Place the bin in a warm, dry area. Sunny spots are preferable.

  3. Place the second bin with the carbon materials close by.

  4. Add your dog poop to the composting bin and cover it with a layer of carbon materials. Mix the waste and the covering layer each time you add more to the bin.

  5. Keep doing this for a few days.

  6. If you have old compost, you can add it to your bin after a week or so to speed up the process. You can also use garden soil.

  7. Always keep the pile moist (but not soggy). Sprinkle water into the bin so that it remains damp.

  8. Once your bin is full, put the lid on and allow the microbes to get to work.

  9. Initially, the temperature in the bin will increase. Once it stabilizes or decreases - after about two weeks - you can turn the pile (i.e. mix it with a shovel).

  10. Turn the pile by working the outside, in. This ensures that all the materials reach the inner, warm area where the temperature is high enough to kill harmful pathogens.

  11. Each time the internal temperature drops, you need to turn the pile again.

  12. Once the inner compost no longer heats up, the process is complete.

  13. When the composting phase is over, you should allow the compost to cure for a few months. During this period, the microbial activity slows down, beneficial organisms grow, and the compost matures.


The Benefits Of Composting Dog Waste


When left to sit in the environment, pet poop can pollute groundwater and nearby water sources like rivers or streams.


By composting, you're removing these harmful substances and transforming them into nutritious soil feed.


The high temperature of a compost pile kills the dangerous pathogens found in dog poop, so you don't have to worry about health and safety risks.


Although you can always hire a company to come take away your dog's poop for composting, by doing it on-site you're eliminating the need for transport, which saves money and time, and reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted.


Most dog owners who don't compost simply throw the dog poo in a plastic bag and in the bin, which gets taken to a landfill. Composting saves this landfill space and reduces the need for single-use plastics (although compostable poo bags are becoming more common and offer a solution to this issue).


Finally, composting pet waste results in a high-quality soil additive. It improves the soil fertility and physical condition, turning this waste into a valuable resource.


Of course, you can always buy good fertilizer at the store; however, these often lack nutrients, and homemade compost (with both dog poop and organic waste) will provide a good source of nutrients for your plants.


Uses For Your Dog Poop Compost Pile


Compost provides nutrition to your garden or indoor plants.


Here are some areas where dog owners can safely use compost made from dog manure.


  • Gardens: It can be used in flower beds and ornamental gardens where there are no edible plants.

  • Landscaping: If you're landscaping or restoring an area, apply dog poo compost to provide the soil with organic materials and nutrients.

  • Lawns: You can add this compost to the lawn. Just make sure it has been properly cured to minimize health risks.

Where not to use dog poop compost


Although composting is known to kill pathogens, sometimes a handful of harmful bacteria can survive the process.


Because of this, it's recommended that you don't use compost made from dog waste on edible plants, like in a vegetable garden.


Parasites and bacteria like hookworms, E.coli, and salmonella can survive in compost, and you'd rather want to avoid contaminating your veggies.


If you want to use compost on edible plants, keep that heap separate from the dog poop compost and only add food scraps to it.


Also, avoid using this compost for seedlings or around established fruit trees.


How To Clean Dog Poop If Composting Is Not An Option


Animal waste is considered a hazardous material because of pathogens and parasites. Fortunately, you don't have to contact a bio-hazard decontamination team to come clean your yard.


If you're not able to compost, you can place your dog's poop in your general trash bin. Don't put it in the bin with recyclables or garden waste. If you want to avoid adding plastic to overflowing landfills, use a scooper to pick up the poop and place it directly in the bin.


Did your dog poop on the floor or concrete? Pick it up, hose it down, and dilute some bleach in water to give the area a scrub to get rid of lingering bacteria.

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