What to Know About Composting Dog Poop


In this Article

  • Can You Compost Dog Poop?
  • Is Dog Poop Bad for the Environment?
  • How to Compost Dog Poop
  • Composting Dog Poop Safely

Composting dog poop is a technique that allows you to repurpose your pet’s waste while also preventing water pollution and public health hazards. However, not many people know that composting dog poop can be dangerous, as animal waste can contain pathogens and bacteria. Here’s what you need to know.

Can You Compost Dog Poop?

Composting dog poop is a growing trend that seems to offer a solution to dog owners who don’t know what to do with their pets’ waste. For many years, pet owners simply put waste in the trash, threw it near bushes and trees, or left it on the side of the road. Yet, recent studies show that these practices are harmful to the environment.

Composting refers to the technique of collecting organic material and adding it to the soil as a fertilizer. Leaves, tea bags, and eggshells are some of the most common composting materials. This technique reduces the amount of reusable organic trash that ends up in a landfill.

As such, it wasn’t long before researchers started experimenting with dog poop composting. Surprisingly, they found that dog waste makes for a good compost ingredient that can work in most composts. This includes both indoor and outdoor compost piles.

Yet, composting dog waste doesn’t come without its difficulties. Pet waste can contain parasites and germs that can come in contact with your waterworks. Similarly, the odor is a big concern for most people — although it can be suppressed if you compost correctly.

Is dog poop good for compost? Unfortunately, it’s hard to measure the value of a specific compost ingredient. Experts suggest that dog poop can be as good as any other compost material. Furthermore, the odor and possible parasites can be avoided with the proper composting technique — even if you live in an apartment.

Is Dog Poop Bad for the Environment?

The environmental impact of dog poop has been a growing concern for a few years now. Pet waste can affect water quality, polluting it with nutrients and pathogens that can have devastating effects on nearby water bodies. However, many people aren’t aware of this problem, as pet poop can seem like a smaller pollution source than it is.

Pet waste contains nutrients and pathogens — two known pollutants that can make water unsafe to drink. If a lot of animal poop finds its way into a water body, it can make it turn green and smelly, making it unusable for swimming, fishing, and boating.

This happens because the nutrients present in dog poop stimulate the growth of algae and weeds in the water. Similarly, the pathogens don’t decompose and disappear — instead, they infect the water, making it dangerous to drink. Fish caught in contaminated water bodies are also harmful to eat, as they can transmit diseases present in the water.

However, dog poop doesn’t only affect public health through water. Experts suggest that when dog waste is present on the streets, you can get infected with several conditions. For example, a common bacteria found in dog waste is Enterococcus Faecium — an enterococcal infection that can cause fever, fatigue, and urinary tract infections.

By composting dog poop, you’ll make sure that you’re not contributing to any water pollution. Similarly, you’ll help prevent the transmission of conditions closely related to animal waste.

How to Compost Dog Poop

Composting is an ever-growing practice that’s constantly changing to adapt new techniques created by hobbyists and professionals. As such, there are many ways to correctly start a composting pile that involves dog poop. Here are some of the most popular composting techniques that you can use to compost dog waste:

Outdoor composting. Outdoor compost piles are the “traditional” way of composting. They’re perfect for anyone with a garden, as they aren’t hard to keep and require less attention than other methods. Outdoor composting also has the advantage of not having as much odor, which can be slightly annoying when dealing with dog poop.

To start an indoor compost pile, ensure you have a proper bin that can hold all the materials you dump in the pile. Then, add some soil and the ingredients and let it sit, checking to see if it needs water a few times a day. After some time, the compost will get warm and start to consume the organic material.

Indoor composting. Naturally, you may not have a yard or outdoor space to place your compost. In that case, you may want to consider composting in your apartment. This works similarly to an outdoor composting pile — although it should be contained in a special bin that contains worms.

However, some composting veterans point out that dog poop may not be the best ingredient for indoor piles. They argue that indoor composts don’t reduce odors as effectively as outdoor ones, making them hard to maintain unless they’re very well-ventilated.

Bokashi composting. Bokashi composting is a special technique that doesn’t actually “compost” (decompose) the ingredients. Instead, it removes oxygen inside the bin, fermenting the materials and killing pathogens in the process.

The underlying principle remains the same, and you can use the resulting product to fertilize your plants. The great advantage of Bokashi composting is that it takes up very little space compared to other techniques. But it does require a product called “Bokashi bran”.

Composting Dog Poop Safely

Composting dog poop, or any other animal waste, can be dangerous. It can contain pathogens and attract pests, flies, mold, and fungus spores. However, composting dog poop doesn’t bring any dangers when done correctly.

The most important step to safely compost dog poop is to keep the compost temperature over 70°C for several days. Furthermore, ensure that your dog gets regular veterinary care to avoid as many pathogens in its poop as possible.

Finally, keep the compost pile away from small children, who may not realize that they can’t play with the compost materials due to the lack of odor. This can result in dangerous infections.

Show Sources

American Kennel Club: “Is Dog Poop Compostable?”
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality: “Bokashi | Compost Guide.”
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: “Environmental Contamination by Dog’s Faeces: A Public Health Problem?”
Journal of Environmental Management: “Comprehensive management of dog faeces: Composting versus anaerobic digestion.”
Michelson Found Animals: “A Safety Warning for Composting Pet Poop.”
RI Stormwater Solutions: “Do You Scoop The Poop?”
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control: “Composting – Simple Steps for Starting at Home.”
United States Environmental Protection Agency: “Composting At Home.”
Zero Waste Washington: “Can pet waste be composted?”

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