Can you compost dog poop? We are all taught to pick up after our pets, not only out of common courtesy but because dog poop contains pathogenic bacteria and parasites that can spread disease to humans and damage ecosystems when washed into our waterways. This is perhaps why there is a huge misconception about if you can compost dog poop or not.
Dog manure can absolutely be composted to benefit the earth and fertilize certain plants, BUT there are important restrictions on how this compost can be used. It takes a bit of effort, but if you’re an eco-conscious pet parent looking to make an impact on their pets’ environmental pawprint, here’s what you need to know to safely compost dog poop.
Important Tips on Composting Dog Poop
So, can you compost dog poop? Dog excreta is very much compostable, but you have to compost it safely and use it correctly! Compost with dog manure can be used around shrubs, trees, and landscaping beds.
Tip Number 1
Our first and most important tip is to know that composted dog manure is NOT safe to use for consumable vegetation. Disease-carrying parasites and pathogens like hookworms, roundworms, parvovirus, and giardia can live in dog excrement for days, even weeks. There is a chance that these parasites can reproduce on your crops, and if ingested, you can become very sick.
Tip Number 2
Our second tip is to make sure your compost bins are labeled correctly. We cannot stress enough that compost with dog excrement must be completely separate from your regular compost pile for your garden beds, fruit plants, and vegetables.
Thirdly, you will need to successfully maintain a hot compost pile with a temperature of 145+ degrees for several days in order to kill off parasites and harmful bacteria found in dog/animal waste. Remember to break up your composting material: small particles create hotter compost due to having greater surface area than large particles.
Fine sawdust or breaking up dog kennel bedding into very small pieces works as a ready source of carbon-rich material. Having a thermometer to read the heap temperature and a record-keeping sheet are must-haves for this hot compost project.
Once you have successfully composted the dog excreta properly, we would advise you to not use that compost around playgrounds or areas where children might get into it.
Tip Number 3
Our last tip is to always wear gloves when handling composted dog manure. The best way to decrease health risks when using dog excreta for composting is by having healthy dogs from the get-go. It is best practice to bring your dog to a vet and have them dewormed regularly. With this being said, it is best to compost your own dog’s poop and not from unknown dogs.
Why Should I Compost Dog Waste?
Composting dog poop is a genius method for disposing of dog dung and can help reduce the amount of waste and plastic deposited in landfills. A standard plastic bag takes about 20 years to break down, leaving a negative impact on our Earth (think of all the dog poop bags that we use and toss away every single day).
On this note, it is estimated that an average dog can produce three-quarters of a pound of waste per day–that is 274 pounds per year from one dog! Composting dog dung helps to break down the organic material thus using less space at the landfill, reduces the use of plastic bags, and puts rich nutrients back into the earth once composted correctly.
Can you Feed Worms Dog Poop?
Yes, you can feed worms dog excreta, and they love it! Healthy dog dung is already processed and soft, which makes it easy for toothless wigglers to eat. There is a method called Vermicompost, a type of composting that uses redworms. Worm composting produces rich organic soil with many beneficial microorganisms. You can read all about vermicomposting in our post, Worm Composting: Everything You Need To Get Started.
There are a few downsides to this method, one being that it can release a very foul odor, especially with dog dung. Vermicomposting is also high maintenance. You have to maintain the heap and make sure the worms are not flooded with too much to eat.
The bin cannot be too wet or the worms will drown. Even still, with the Vermicompost method, you must not use it on plants for human consumption. We would even suggest mixing dog poop with lots of carbon-rich materials and hot compost it first before feeding it to the worm bin just to be safe.