Can you use dog poo in compost? Expert Advice

There is a huge misconception that dog waste is not compostable. It very much is – its just NOT safe to use in compost that will be used for consumable vegetation. Parasites and bacteria can live in dog waste including E. coli and salmonell along with several types of worms like ringworm and tapeworm. They can live in the soil for years so it’s best to keep your dogs waste away from your gardens or from where your animals can get to it. According to the EPA dog waste is a safe soil additive for revegetation and landscaping when it is composted properly.

When you compost dog poop it becomes a nutrient that will improve your yard and trees. If the soil in your yard is lacking organic matter no store-bought fertilizer will get you the results you are looking for in your lawn. However, when you produce good compost you can create a quality soil additive that will improve the condition and fertility in your soil.

Recently we published a dog blog on reasons why you should pick up your dogs poop. And the reasons are many. When dog waste is not cleaned up properly it will pollute the ground and surface water, attract flies/pests, create an unsanitary environment for dogs and other animals, which can transmit parasites and other infectious diseases back to humans.

As you know, our Doggy Do Good® premium pet waste bags are 38% vegetable-based and a great alternative to regular polyethylene plastic bags, which are not compostable and take decades to break down. So feel free to use our bags in your home compost because they are made in part from corn starch (an annually renewable resource) and other bio-based proprietary components. When composted properly, our poop bags are safer for the environment and will break down completely.

You will also need two bins, one to contain the composting materials and one to actively compost in, a shovel to turn the compost, a long-stemmed thermometer, and a water supply. Water from a garden hose is okay however, you may want to let the water sit in the sun to get warm before adding it to compost. Cold water will lower the temperature of the compost and we want it to stay warm.

In about four to six weeks, the mix will be crumbly and ready to mix with other organic items.

If you wish to tackle composting of your dog’s waste safely, follow a few precautions. First, make sure you create ideal composting conditions. Start with 1 part sawdust and 2 parts dog manure. Compost mixtures require adequate carbon to help break down the nitrogen-rich manure. Sawdust is almost pure carbon and will compliment the high nitrogen content of this manure.

Those of us who love our four-legged friends have an undesirable by-product of caregiving: dog poop. In the search to be more earth-friendly and conscientious, pet poop composting seems a logical way to deal with this waste. But should dog feces go in compost? Sadly, this may not be as effective and sensible as it may seem.

Cover the pile with black plastic, if necessary, to keep heat in and help focus solar energy on the pile. Turn the mix weekly and check the temperature with a compost thermometer to ensure that the pile is at a suitable temperature.

This causes a condition called Visceral Larval Migrans. The tiny eggs can then migrate through the bloodstream and attach to the lungs, liver, and other organs, with a host of different unpleasant symptoms as a result. Most unpleasant is Ocular Larval Migrans, which occur when the eggs attach to the retina and may cause blindness.

What’s The Best Way To Dispose Of Dog Poop?

Hot composting is the best way to dispose of dog feces and recycle them into a resource that can be used in the garden.

If you know self-sufficient homesteading techniques, the method is similar to a composting toilet used to process human waste.

The compost pile you use to process your dog poop should be separate from your other composting activities. In other words, you should have a dedicated pet waste compost pile or area.

The basic recipe is simple. You need to include relatively high levels of carbon to stimulate hot composting and sterilize the waste as much as possible. Feces is mostly nitrogen, so you need to balance this with a carbon-rich material to help break down the materials.

Studies performed in Alaska with mushers (dog sled runners) indicate that the best way to achieve the proper carbon to poop ratio is

  • 1 part sawdust.
  • 2 parts dog poop.
  • Do not add any other garden waste to the pile.

    Placing the feces in a pile and covering it in sawdust also helps to eliminate flies and reduces the odor. (You can also use shredded newspaper or fallen leaves. Any shredded carbon material will do).

    When the pile is large enough, mix it well, and cover the pile with a tarp or black plastic to allow the temperature to reach a minimum of 140°F or 60°C. Turn the pile once a week and cover again to ensure even heat distribution throughout the compost pile.

    The crucial aspects of the process are:

  • High carbon content in the form of sawdust.
  • Temperatures above the minimum level.
  • A long-stemmed compost thermometer helps monitor the internal temperature of the compost pile. (Amazon)

    There is no guarantee that all pathogens will be adequately dealt with in the composting process, particularly large roundworms or Toxocara canis. Consequently, the resulting compost should not be used to fertilize food-generating plants.

    The dog poop compost can safely be used to feed non-food producing plants such as flowers, lawns, shrubs, and trees – just not your fruit trees!

    Dog Poo Compost – Recycling the SMELLY stuff into GARDEN GOLD