Do you compost regularly?
Or are you interested in getting started with composting?
Can you compost dog poop as part of this process, or should you skip it?
Many households that have a composting pile also have a dog or two. If this sounds like you, then chances are good you’re interested in figuring out if Fido’s “presents” can be a part of the family compost.
In this article, we’ll explain the basics of composting dog waste so you’ll have a better idea of how to make this work for you. The more you understand about the process, the better you’ll be able to choose whether or not dog poop composting is in your household’s future.
Read on to learn more!
JUMP TO A SECTION:
Basics of Composting Dog Poop
Read up on the basics you need to know about how to compost your dog’s feces. The more you understand about this process overall, the more likely you’ll be to compost safely, effectively, and successfully the first time!
The type of compost you create is crucial when it comes to composting pet waste.
When you compost household food waste, you may be able to be a little choosy about the materials you use in your composting pile. However, when dog waste is present, you’ll need to account for the somewhat different makeup of this material.
- Try one part sawdust to two parts dog waste. The carbon in the sawdust will help the dog waste to break down quickly and easily, which will encourage fewer odors and fewer chances for contaminants to make their way into your compost, too.
- Cover the compost pile with black plastic to contain heat and warm the compost. The warmer your compost and the longer this heat is maintained, the less likely you’ll be to encounter unwanted pathogens.
- Turn the compost often. This will aerate the compost and encourage the growth of healthy bacteria.
- Wait at least four weeks, but up to six weeks. It may take a little while for dog poop to compost properly!
Dog waste may contain parasites, so getting the compost to a high enough temperature will ensure those parasites are killed off.
This is true of composting just about anything, and it’s why heat is an important part of the composting process, too. Getting your compost to a high enough temperature and then keeping it at that temperature will ensure the health of your compost and will keep your household safer from contaminants.
If you have a composting toilet on your property, there’s no reason why you can’t potentially add your dog’s feces to this toilet as well.
Keep a close watch on it at first, if you do this, to ensure it doesn’t throw off the compost too badly. These toilets heat the compost enough to kill off pathogens in human feces, so they’re generally hot enough for dog feces, too.
Dog waste compost can be used on decorative plants but shouldn’t be used on plants that are going to be eaten.
This is because the parasites may not always be able to be killed off completely. Although they are generally taken care of by the composting process, it’s hard to say for sure that your compost is completely parasite-free or bacteria-free when it’s finished. For this reason, you should avoid using dog waste-based compost on plants that will be eaten.
You should not put dog poop directly on plants without first composting it.
Many people think it’s fine to just toss the dog poop right on the flowerbed. However, this contributes to groundwater pollution and may also cause your plants to be beset by unwanted contaminants, too. Even if you’re only using the feces on flowers and not on edible plants, you should avoid bringing parasites and harmful bacteria into the mix by simply composting the dog poop first.
As a side note, cat poop shouldn’t be used in your compost, as it can carry toxoplasmosis.
Cat poop is generally more dangerous for humans to be around than dog poop is, so keep this in mind when trying to figure out what to do with your pets’ waste.
It is okay to add pet urine to the compost pile.
However, it’s difficult to collect dog urine, and cat urine often has cat litter present in the clumps, so it may be challenging to actually do this.
There are a lot of reasons why you might want to compost dog poop, but to some people, these upsides may not be enough to justify the additional effort it takes to ensure dog poop is safely handled in the compost pile.
However, even though it may take a little time to get the hang of proper dog waste composting, there are a lot of reasons to consider going this route. If you’re interested in benefiting the environment and even benefiting your household in some unexpected ways, it’s a good idea to brush up on these.
So what are some benefits of adding dog poop to your compost pile? Here are a few to keep in mind:
- When you compost dog feces, you’re removing this waste from places where it may otherwise pollute the groundwater. Unfortunately, dog feces that is left sitting on the ground and isn’t attended to in a timely fashion may contribute significantly to groundwater pollution. As parasites and pathogens from the dog poop leach out into the surrounding soil, they are absorbed by the groundwater in the area.
- From there, these contaminants may easily make their way into human drinking water by way of any broken pipes that may be present in the area. And if they find their way to reservoirs, they can reach larger populations in no time. Although this may seem a little overly dramatic, dog poop can easily introduce contaminants into human water supplies when it isn’t taken care of.
- When you compost dog waste correctly, you’re removing potentially dangerous pathogens and making safe, healthy soil for the environment. You can use the soil made from composting this dog waste to fortify your decorative plants. They’ll be more vibrant and colorful, they’ll grow stronger, and they may even be more resistant to disease as well.
- If you compost dog waste at home, you don’t have to worry about it being transported to landfills. Anything you throw away that is taken to a landfill takes up valuable space in that landfill. We already have too much garbage in landfills as it is, but composting can help you cut back on the amount of waste you contribute over a year.
- Finally, if you compost your dog’s feces, you’ll be able to save money and cut back on your plastic consumption at the same time by avoiding the purchase of doggy poop bags. Although you should still have some on hand for picking up waste that may be left in neighbors’ yards or public locations, you can use a scooper to gather any yard waste and toss it into the compost pile without the need for plastic bags.
Keep all of this in mind as you try to determine whether or not composting dog poop bags is the best course of action for you and your household!