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Making compost from dog dookie

 
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I own a dog. I am planning to own another one soon if all goes well. These dogs will give me a lot of crap, and I want to use it as effectively as possible.

I am trying to figure out a way to safely make use of their poop. I've heard omnivore poop has harmful bacteria in it, but it seems like this could be removed by simply boiling or burning the stuff.

Is there some way to make dog poop a safe compost ingredient?
 
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Phil Patterson wrote:I own a dog. I am planning to own another one soon if all goes well. These dogs will give me a lot of crap, and I want to use it as effectively as possible.

I am trying to figure out a way to safely make use of their poop. I've heard omnivore poop has harmful bacteria in it, but it seems like this could be removed by simply boiling or burning the stuff.

Is there some way to make dog poop a safe compost ingredient?



If you mix it with other items for composting and hot compost it (really HOT) then it can be sterile.

You could mix it with Hydrogen peroxide and that can help.

THEN hot compost it.

Adding in leaves and chicken manure will get it really HOT!

Only herbivore manure should be used after composting though. And be careful WHAT those animals eat. Roundup and such can pass right through that animal and contaminate your soil for up to ELEVEN YEARS. (but usually 9 months to a year depending on levels).


Stay FAR AWAY from domestic cat manure! Has too many bad living things in it. You don't even want to handle the litter box it is that dangerous!
 
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In addition to hot composting:

- If you use baggies for your dog poop, there are compostable bags you can get but you have to read the labelling carefully. Home-compostable, compostable, biodegradable, "earth safe" etc are all terms that mean different things and they're not well-controlled terms.
- Limiting the use of your dog-dookie compost to fruit trees and ornamentals will lower the risk of spreading disease. The bacteria in poop can't spread through the plant itself; it spreads when the edible parts of a plant come in direct contact with infected soil or water.
 
Phil Patterson
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Meg Mitchell wrote:
- Limiting the use of your dog-dookie compost to fruit trees and ornamentals will lower the risk of spreading disease.



Thank you, do you think this would work with a grape vine?
 
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Good on you for wanting to make use of that resource. I echo the caution offered above.

I think a hot compost will do just fine, but the kind that I would use if I were to then use it on food crops would have me getting a compost temperature probe and finding the highest surface-area carbon materials for composting that I could, and I would figure out how to turn it as efficiently and quickly (and cleanly) as possible, as I would want to get it up as hot as necessary to kill pathogens, and keep it there until there was no more bacterial fuel, where it would go into a secondary bin, probably open-bottomed BSFL, and then either another bin, but for my worms, or else just into the garden, where all my worms go when they graduate.

If you want to dessicate the poop, I would use a patio stone in a sunny spot, and then construct a "hot frame" for it, exactly like a cold frame for a raised bed, but intended to trap the heat, create airflow through convection up a short, black chimney, and keep bugs off of it. This last one is not a bad idea, as while insects will break it down for you, if you're concerned with pathogenicity, they are vectors for the spread of disease if they make a meal of some dog turd and then go off in search of other pursuits, like sipping the sweat from your skin.

I suppose you could even make a dog shit retort and drop it on a backyard chimineya or bonfire every once in a while. Just sit upwind of the fire and hope the wind doesn't change directions.

-CK
 
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hau Phil, as others have brought up, hot is the word when using carnivore poop in compost. To that end, it will pay you big time to purchase a compost thermometer so you can make sure you get the internal temp up above 175f, any less and you will not get rid of the pathogenic bacteria.

I compost all our animal manures (chicken, hog, dog, donkey) in hot compost heaps that get hot enough to compost whole animals (baby hogs that die for any reason usually), I make sure these compost heaps get over 180f by adding a bottle ammonia as I make the heap.
I also cap with soil so the heat that is generated will remain contained within the heap, it usually takes me about 6 weeks to complete the heating and cooling cycles of such a compost heap.

I like Chris' suggestion of double composting such a manure compost, you can not be too safe when it comes to carnivore poop in compost.
(I don't  recommend trying to incinerate dog poop, it is better to compost it or dig a latrine hole either will work. In the latrine hole you add lime after every deposit.)

Redhawk
 
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Chris Kott wrote:Good on you for wanting to make use of that resource. I echo the caution offered above.

I think a hot compost will do just fine, but the kind that I would use if I were to then use it on food crops would have me getting a compost temperature probe and finding the highest surface-area carbon materials for composting that I could, and I would figure out how to turn it as efficiently and quickly (and cleanly) as possible, as I would want to get it up as hot as necessary to kill pathogens, and keep it there until there was no more bacterial fuel, where it would go into a secondary bin, probably open-bottomed BSFL, and then either another bin, but for my worms, or else just into the garden, where all my worms go when they graduate.

If you want to dessicate the poop, I would use a patio stone in a sunny spot, and then construct a "hot frame" for it, exactly like a cold frame for a raised bed, but intended to trap the heat, create airflow through convection up a short, black chimney, and keep bugs off of it. This last one is not a bad idea, as while insects will break it down for you, if you're concerned with pathogenicity, they are vectors for the spread of disease if they make a meal of some dog turd and then go off in search of other pursuits, like sipping the sweat from your skin.

I suppose you could even make a dog shit retort and drop it on a backyard chimineya or bonfire every once in a while. Just sit upwind of the fire and hope the wind doesn't change directions.

-CK



They could build a Rocket Stove and COOK the doggie doodle.....
Small batches but in the end, sterile AND have the wood ash/bio char as a bonus.

 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:
(I don't  recommend trying to incinerate dog poop, it is better to compost it or dig a latrine hole either will work. In the latrine hole you add lime after every deposit.)

Redhawk



I have used a combination of methods, the latrine hole with bokashi bran and into a worm farm. The latrine hole has to be big enough to fit a bottomless bucket with holes drilled around the sides so that the lid can go back on between deposits. The bokashi distributors in NZ sell a ready made kit https://www.zingbokashi.co.nz/pet-waste/
I also use a worm farm, with holding the poop after my dog has been wormed. The worms are feed a combination of poop and spent coffee grounds and the finished vermicast is spread around trees. Neither method smells nor attracts flies.
 
Meg Mitchell
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Phil Patterson wrote:

Meg Mitchell wrote:
- Limiting the use of your dog-dookie compost to fruit trees and ornamentals will lower the risk of spreading disease.



Thank you, do you think this would work with a grape vine?



I think the only difference between a grape vine and a fruit tree would be that the grapes are growing closer to the ground so might be more likely to get splashed with dirty water. Personally, I just grow wildflowers in my dog poop compost. It ends up being good for the fruits/vegetables in the end anyway since it attracts bees and other pollinators.
 
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Megan Palmer wrote:

Bryant RedHawk wrote:
(I don't  recommend trying to incinerate dog poop, it is better to compost it or dig a latrine hole either will work. In the latrine hole you add lime after every deposit.)

Redhawk



I have used a combination of methods, the latrine hole with bokashi bran and into a worm farm. The latrine hole has to be big enough to fit a bottomless bucket with holes drilled around the sides so that the lid can go back on between deposits. The bokashi distributors in NZ sell a ready made kit https://www.zingbokashi.co.nz/pet-waste/
I also use a worm farm, with holding the poop after my dog has been wormed. The worms are feed a combination of poop and spent coffee grounds and the finished vermicast is spread around trees. Neither method smells nor attracts flies.



Goat poo is about the best poo there is.
Dries fast, 22 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 pounds (dry weight), doesn't stink, easy to handle, etc.

For dog poo though you might want to look into the NPK issue to see if it is even feasible.

Or feed your dogs fake dry dog food (mostly plant material with a little fat for flavoring).

At least you would have an easier time sterilizing it.
 
Kai Walker
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Make a 'Dakota Stove'

One side fire, other side doggie doodle.

Once cool, plant something on the doggie doodle side.
 
Kai Walker
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Phil Patterson wrote:I own a dog. I am planning to own another one soon if all goes well. These dogs will give me a lot of crap, and I want to use it as effectively as possible.

I am trying to figure out a way to safely make use of their poop. I've heard omnivore poop has harmful bacteria in it, but it seems like this could be removed by simply boiling or burning the stuff.

Is there some way to make dog poop a safe compost ingredient?



Smaller dogs small poop?

Regarding the Dakota Stove I mentioned ; Be sure the doggie doodle is completely dry on the doodle side and don't pack it in. Just add as things go down.
 
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Contrary to general belief, dog and cat poop isn't toxic waste requiring a hazmat suit. And other than possible parasites, there is very little danger. Simple hot composting takes care of most parasites.

People seem to be more phobic about cat poop because of the fear of toxoplasmosis. But most toxo is actually passed via other mammals. So if your phobic about toxo, then it would be wise to avoid all fresh mammal manures and raw meats. Yes, contaminated uncooked meats can pass toxo to those who eat it.

To use fresh mammal manure that has not been hot composted, a gardener could use it in an orchard-like setting by simply burying it. Just be sure it is covered over deep enough to prevent rain splash, and don't use it in areas that are expected to flood. Or you could allow it to age in a cold compost bin for a year before using it. Simply drying it will not eliminate all parasite danger, because some parasites encyst for their survival. So heating and drying, such as baking under clear plastic sheeting, would work. Or cooking it is some fashion before drying would work to kill parasites. But it needs to be really heated up to kill parasites, so simple drying in the sun won't work for all parasites.

In my own experience, dog and cat poop make excellent fertilizer. The plants respond very well to it. Since I keep my dogs and cats parasite free, I have no fear using it as a fertilizer.
 
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I don't know if I could do this because of the smell. I know someone who was composting their dog waste and the stench in that bucket about brought me to my knees.

We burn our dog poop in the burn barrel but we never use those ashes for anything as we burn things with nails and such at the same time.
 
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I once heard someone say that he composts his dogs' poop in a very simple way. He sinks a bucket with a lid and holes in the bottom in the ground near some fruit trees or perennials. Then he puts someworm bedding and worms in it, and drops the dog poop in daily. The worms compost it quickly and get rid of the smell quickly.
 
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My husky X akita dog eats and poops a lot. I have a 250L compost bin under my 2 pear trees where I chuck all the poop in there along with grass clippings, dead fish from aquaponics, spent coffee grounds and regularly topped up with kefir slurry. Poop in there first covered by a white jacket of mycellium almost like a camembert and incinerates to powder after a while. There are worms in there and summer visitors of black soldier fly larvae helping further with the processing. It gets hot in summer but I have never measured the temperature. I am also not using the black soldier fly larvae for my fish thinking that it would be contaminated.

I never take the compost out of this bin and let the pear trees utilize in time.
 
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elle sagenev wrote:I don't know if I could do this because of the smell. I know someone who was composting their dog waste and the stench in that bucket about brought me to my knees.

We burn our dog poop in the burn barrel but we never use those ashes for anything as we burn things with nails and such at the same time.



You could screen the ashes to filter out non ash items.

Then use the valuable ashes!

Note: do not ever burn plastic. It gives off poisonous fumes and contaminates the ash.
 
elle sagenev
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Kai Walker wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:I don't know if I could do this because of the smell. I know someone who was composting their dog waste and the stench in that bucket about brought me to my knees.

We burn our dog poop in the burn barrel but we never use those ashes for anything as we burn things with nails and such at the same time.



You could screen the ashes to filter out non ash items.

Then use the valuable ashes!

Note: do not ever burn plastic. It gives off poisonous fumes and contaminates the ash.



I should clarify that by saying "we" I mean my husband and he's VERY careful about what he burns.

I'll be honest here though, as the permie member of my household I still can't see myself screening out metal in the dog poop burn barrel. lol
 
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When I kept an 8 acre farm I had a separate compost pile for both dog/cat waste layered with dry leaves, wood chips, etc.  Yard clean ups and litter box changes  I used brown paper bags,  rolled up what I cleaned up in that,  and dropped it in the compost pile.   I left it LONGER than my home/food waste compost and used it like others suggested for trees, etc,  not foods or soil I was going to have my hands in or food in direct contact with.    It broke down fairly quickly and layered with plenty of dry matter it did not have a bad odor at all.    It was not that far from the house because it needed to be a convenient location.  

Now that I"m in the city I have an in-ground dog waste "dooley" system but still need to bag and trash cat waste.  
 
Kai Walker
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Heather Staas wrote:
When I kept an 8 acre farm I had a separate compost pile for both dog/cat waste layered with dry leaves, wood chips, etc.  Yard clean ups and litter box changes  I used brown paper bags,  rolled up what I cleaned up in that,  and dropped it in the compost pile.   I left it LONGER than my home/food waste compost and used it like others suggested for trees, etc,  not foods or soil I was going to have my hands in or food in direct contact with.    It broke down fairly quickly and layered with plenty of dry matter it did not have a bad odor at all.    It was not that far from the house because it needed to be a convenient location.  

Now that I"m in the city I have an in-ground dog waste "dooley" system but still need to bag and trash cat waste.  



Many peoples today use dried animal dung for fuel for their fires.

Perhaps you could explore this as an option?

 
Kai Walker
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Here is an idea:
Put doo-doo in a big pot. Set it atop a rocket stove.
cook until well done.

Mix in the wood ash from the stove, and moisten it. Let sit for a while.

 
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I knew this would be the place for answers!

I've read so much conflicting info online about dog poop in compost. Sounds like the general rule is poop from any meat-eating animal shouldn't go in? But then what about chicken poop? Mine sure love their bugs.

Hmmmm... maybe I need a 2nd compost pile that's just for ornamental plants / trees / flowers, and 1 that's for vegetable garden?

Guess I'm still slightly confused.
 
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The Chia Poop Experiment

While not exactly an answer to the formal composting question, this experiment may be helpful for people reading this thread.

As background, my community has put up little plastic dog hygiene stations with plastic garbage bins, a plastic bag dispenser, and a plastic sign that says, “Clean up after your dog!” Of course no one likes to step in dog poop during their morning walk and I wholeheartedly agree that dog owners should clean up after their pets. I always take the time to bury my dog’s waste and tamp the top of the earth with my boot.

Unfortunately, this approach has caused a stir among many of my friends who believe that putting poop in plastic bags then a plastic bin then having a ten-ton diesel truck drive it to the land fill is a much more sensible approach. “The poop is toxic; it carries disease! Dog poop is terrible for the environment!” Is it really “toxic”? According to the label, all of the food ingredients are natural. The added meat and eggs are organic. Is burial wrong? The question of waste treatment has become stressful and filled with uncertainty.

Naturally, a permies-type would examine this poop issue more deeply and try to come up with a novel approach to the problem that is healthy and beautiful. Thus began the Chia Poop Experiment.

My Shepherd eagerly chows down on about 2c of grain-free dry dog food laced with about 1/4c meat or egg and covered with about 3/4c water each day. To this mix, I now add about 1t chia seed and the dog is equally satisfied. To study the results of this food additive, I let the dog’s waste sit undisturbed in her favorite understory poop spot here in the yard so that I may observe the outcome of the outcome.

Daily examination of the extruded assemblage reveals good structure. Observing the dog, I see that she is happy and her coat, eyes, tongue and energy level are in excellent health. She is in no way bothered by her new diet.

On day 5, I notice that the sprouting has begun! By day 8, the small masses begin to look green, like soft turf divots. At this point, I step on a chia blob and, sure enough, nothing sticks to my boot. The roots have reached into the surrounding dirt and gently anchored the matted mass. It is a eureka moment.

Now, when I take my morning walk, I continue to bury the poop as before. Yet each time I walk with a friend that questions my burial approach, I relate the results of adding a little chia seed to the dog’s diet. I explain the Chia Poop Experiment, naturally extruded seed balls, and how our canine companions can help with greening the planet.

My yard is more verdant than ever, but I mostly walk alone now.
 
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Amy there are certain places in the UK where there is so much dog waste being left behind that it is altering the chemistry of the soil and causing issues for native plants, of course these areas are particularly fragile ones with strange plants and rare soil types, not your average city parkm but it is something to think about. Adding other non native plants to these areas would just accelerate their decline, and could get you a large fine depending on if you are caught and where you are.
plant based bags are available and can then be added to your compost system at home.
 
Amy Gardener
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Thank you for your concern, Skandi. Chia is a native plant of the American Southwest. This would probably not be a good choice to use in a fragile UK ecosystem.
 
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