CAN DOG POOP BE COMPOSTED SAFELY?

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: CAN DOG POOP BE COMPOSTED SAFELY?
Author: Halipoo (Halipoo)
Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 8:14 pm
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One thing I liked about the Humanure Handbook was its itemised list of life forms and pathogens potentially in fresh human poop and conditions that would render them lifeless. I would like to see a similar list for cats. Any vets or biologists in the house?

We feed our two cats a couple kilos a month of retired racehorses, pig's arses, endangered wild goats, whatever they put in that stuff, and they already poop in stove pellets. Perfect C:N already.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Friday, December 30, 2011 - 5:42 pm
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Talk about a "dog's breakfast!" Well done Flick!

Author: Flick (Flick)
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - 3:20 pm
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I used to vermicompost our dog manure when we lived in New Orleans. The vermi part was accidental; I'd read about dead chickens being composted, and I figured if you can do that, you can compost anything.

We had multiple large dogs, and putting it out in the trash made the trash heavy. I thought about an arrangement like a Doggie Dooley, but our "yard" was concrete, and the water table is high there.

Got big, dark plastic trash cans with lids. Drilled a bunch of holes in the sides. Filled 'em with dog waste and dry leaves, sometimes shredded newspaper. I kept the mixture moist but not wet, and the waste well covered with a layer of leaves or sometimes dampened newspaper. I did put the lid on because otherwise I think it would have gotten too wet. There was no odor. It did not attract flies.

I set the cans in the sun, as I had not read much at that point about killing pathogens, but I knew heat would do it. As I was filling a can, and until fall, it would stay in the sunshine and get pretty hot in SE Louisiana. Never measured the temps, though I'm sure most germs etc. died over several months of hot weather.

Come fall and cooler weather, the compost worms moved in on their own. Dunno where they came from, in a concrete courtyard. By spring, the content of the can was down to about 25% of its former volume, and it was all worm castings. You could pour it out like sawdust. Beautiful. I put it on my ornamentals.

When 1 can filled with waste, I'd start on another one.

Now we're in a rural area with a lower water table. We have a 35-gal plastic barrel with the bottom cut off, set down into the ground, and a shovel-size slot in the top so we can scoop up and put the waste there. I guess it's like a doggie pit latrine. It never fills up. I occasionally add water if we haven't had rain for a while. There is a big swath of much greener grass on the downhill side ;-).

Author: The_virginian (The_virginian)
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - 2:56 pm
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I have been composting it and letting it age for over a year. I use it on everything in my garden with no ill effects. Tropicalesque plants love it, my bananas grow over 12 feet high in the summer.

Author: Katelynn (Katelynn)
Friday, June 05, 2009 - 2:38 pm
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I also have the question about composting my cat's manure. I was planning on making a little composting "toilet" set up right next to mine in my cabin and disposing of both the same way. I can't see how it would be harmful if heat and time does its thing, right? I've never used sawdust for cat litter before but we'll both have to get used to it.

Author: Dan Treecraft (Dantreecraft)
Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - 3:00 pm
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So --- I'm still not sure - are there any special precautious considerations for composting CAT doo-doos into the garden, right-along-side their humanoid cousins? My wife would like to have it spelled out, having been quite sufficiently phobaeized by some well-intentioned master gardener or other school teacher sorts.

Author: TCLynx (Tclynx)
Saturday, June 23, 2007 - 3:28 pm
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I agree Rich. And the way many people deal with pet poo is they leave it where it is which is definitely not safer than composting.

Author: Rich (Richard_w)
Friday, June 22, 2007 - 6:24 pm
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I've read that one of the reasons listed for concern in composting dog doo was due to the fact that dogs and pets are more likely to contain intestinal parasites that can infect humans.
Studies have shown that if you properly compost manure (from any living thing) with proper heat and time it should be safe. The danger comes when there is a rush to use the compost before it is ready. Time breaks things down and the heat in the pile gets it there faster. Otherwise our planet would be covered in excrement since creation.

Author: TCLynx (Tclynx)
Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - 3:27 pm
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I love the idea of composting almost anything but not everyone can be trusted to do it properly. Heck, I've been in way too many places that people can't even be trusted to put the actual trash in the trash recepticals.

As with the composting of human manure, pet poo should be composted in such a maner as to kill off the dangerous pathogens and covered well enough to keep pests away (which is all that is needed to compost most of the other "uncompostables" like meat, grease, and dary products). If the compost is suspect for perhaps not heating up well enough, then it should be allowed to age longer or be used on non-eddible plants.

Perhaps you could start a pet poo composting drive at your apartment complex? You might no be able to get the management to implement such a thing but maybe they wouldn't stop you from doing it.

Author: John D. Younkin (Deconstructer)
Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 4:45 pm
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Some thought should be given to composting pet manure in apartment complexes. The potential for such a setup already exists. When I lived in an apartment in VA, the complex expected you to take your dog manure and toss it in a plastic bag and place it in a trash can. It would be simple to replace the plastic bags with paper ones with a little sawdust dispenser beside. You could even put the sawdust in the bags ahead of time. I think the apartment complex bagged their grass. It could be used as cover. It all seems so simple. Do anyone have any thoughts on this?

Author: admin
Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 12:16 pm
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More on recycling dog doo:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/03/0321_060321_dog_power.html

Author: admin
Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 11:38 am
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Here is an email I received today:

I am writing you to relate to you my experiences with composting dog manure.


In 1990 my mother gave me an article from the local newspaper about
composting. The article praised the virtues of composting and explained how
to do it but had a list of things that DEFINITELY could NOT be composted.
On this list were items such as meat, fat, animal products, AND dog
droppings. They were MOST emphatic about the utter uncompostability of dog
poop! I have heard your myth busting explanations about meat, fat and other
animal products and my own experiences have proven it out many times over.
In your book I remember reading that you have not done any composting of dog
manure because your dogs deposited their scat out in the woods, etc.


At that time I had 2 big Labrador Retrievers, Buddy (Black) and Murphy
(Yellow). Each were close to 100 pounds, had never been "fixed" (not that
they had ever been "broken", that's another subject) and collectively they
ate close to 100 pounds of Purina Dog Chow per month without ever gaining an
ounce. Extremely energetic and of course extremely prolific when it came to
their manure. I estimated that I easily had 3/4 ton* of dog manure per
year. When I read the article I thought to myself in sarcasm, "So all the
manure from all the wolves and coyotes (also being canine) and feral dogs on
the whole planet who have been pooping since the beginning of creation;
their poop just lays there, it never breaks down! They say 'Dog poop won't
compost'". I said in my heart, "Watch me!"


I got a 30 gallon plastic garbage container and cut a semicircle hole at the
bottom on the side bug enough for a shovel to go thru and cut away part of
the bottom of the container adjoining that shovel hole. I set the container
under the garage roof so that some extra water would flow into it from the
roof. Then I simply piled the dog poop into it. I found that the
earthworms were particularly fond of borrowing up thru the dirt into it. As
the mass would compost and settle a continuous supply of wonderful composted
dirt would crumble out from the shovel slot. It had no smell whatsoever,
except the smell of fresh earth. (I found that even with the relatively
small container of 30 gallons the rate of composting would usually keep up
with the continuous fresh supply of manure which I estimated to be 100
pounds a month.


For the next 5 years I grew the most wonderful tomatoes and green peppers
from that compost that you could imagine. My tomatoes would grow so fast
they would split. Their stalks were so big I usually could not uproot them
by hand at the end of the season. My green peppers weighed in at 9 ounces
and had succulent 3/4 inch walls. Water squirted from them when you bit
them. The green pepper bushes were waist high and 3 feet across.


Often times people won't listen if you just tell them you have to show them.
I knew ahead of time that of course you could compost dog manure but I
needed to do it to show that complete ridiculousness of such a statement
that says "Dog Manure will not compost". Perhaps the woman who wrote the
article had neighbors with dogs and didn't want them composting the dog poop
next to her yard. It amazes me the inability of people to simply think
sometimes. When people like that are in authority we are all in trouble.

Author: Jeff J
Monday, June 26, 2006 - 10:09 am
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We recently made a 2 bin composting system and live in the Chicagoland area. I have read a lot about the dangers of composting dog waste and its transmition of E-Coli and other pathogens. Has anyone ever gotten sick through composting dog waste and using it on vegetables?

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