8 Ways to Compost Dog Waste at Home is a list of 6 common methods of composting and 2 New Methods that can be used to compost Dog Waste or any other pet waste, simply and easily in your backyard
The 2 New Methods I discuss in greater detail in the article “Composting Dog Poop & Compostable Dog Bags – 2 easy methods” Any waste you save from council tips help the environment and council costs, which is ultimately yours and my costs as we all pay council rates.
But let’s first look at the concerns associated with Bacteria and Pathogens in Dog Poop
The issue of Pathogens and Bacteria in Dog Poop
The issue of Pathogens and Bacteria in dog poop is not altogether unfounded but can easily be resolved with proper composting. Ideally you must not use composted dog waste on or around your edible veggies. This is mainly because worms and pathogens in dog waste can pass from animal to animal or animal to human if it ends up on food you eat. Especially if you don’t wash your veggies before you consume them or wash your hands before you eat if you have been out in the garden with your dogs.
Dog to dog is more common especially with dogs who eat others’ poop or their own poop for that matter. The risk is minimal if you are a good pet owner and keep your dog properly wormed and treated for any dog communicable diseases. But you still do not want to be putting this waste around your veggies or fruit trees.
However, you can put it around your edible trees as long as you don’t eat fruit that has fallen on the ground. This is something to consider if you have small children who might be foraging or playing in the garden. It’s a good reason to keep your kids wormed which is what happened to us when we were kids and I never understood why.
Many people who have dogs do not have gardens, unless they have a garden area partitioned off from their dogs. But they still need to be aware of dog droppings in their yard and how best to manage it. Many people use dung beetles, but I have not found any evidence that these little composters destroy bacteria and pathogens in dog poop. If you don’t have kids playing on your lawn, then it is probably not an issue.
Rules to follow to reduce bacteria or pathogen infections
If your pets are well looked after, wormed, and treated regularly for nasty dog diseases, the risk of passing on harmful pathogens is greatly decreased. But it always pays to be on the safe side and follow some basic rules.
- Wash your hands after handling dog waste.
- Wash your hands after handling your dogs.
- Do not eat with your hands if you just petted your dog.
- Collect your dog poop in compostable bags when out walking.
- Don’t leave it on the ground or pavement for someone to walk in.
- Dispose of compostable dog bags and poop at designated collection points.
- Or take your dog poop and bags home to compost at home.
- Pick up dog poop in your garden especially if you have children.
- Never use the composted waste on your edible veggies.
- Wash tools you might use to pick up dog waste.
- Ideally don’t use the same tools on your veggies.
- Compost their poop thoroughly before using it in the garden.
- Compost the dog waste in places where children don’t play.
- Compost it around your ornamental plants and flowers only.
- Never eat anything off the ground if you have dogs unless the items are washed properly in warm water with vinegar or bicarb soda.
Even though you can get sick from dog waste it is rare if you follow basic cleanliness rules, care for your dog properly and don’t add other dog waste in your compost in case that animal is sick or diseased.
6 Common Ways to Compost Dog Poop
6 common ways to compost dog poop are the same compost methods that people use to compost all their kitchen or garden waste. The difference is not using this composted waste on your veggie garden. So, you need to keep your dogs composted waste separate from other compost you use in your garden. You can read about each method of composting it in greater detail in this article on Composting Principles, and 8 Methods of Composting
- 1. Open air composting (hot composting) – needs to heat up to 65ﹾC to kill pathogens
- 2. Tumbler composting (a form of hot composting) – Same as above
- 3. Worm composting (vermicomposting) – worms break down the pathogens
- 4. EMO composting (bacteria composting) – bacteria breaks down the pathogens
- 5. Direct Composting (in-ground composting – trench composting) – worms or heat work
- 6. Combined Composting (in-ground in an eco-eze Compot) – Soldier Flies treat contaminated waste or pet waste.
I found it very difficult to find any scientific evidence on what pathogens or bacteria is left in your compost when composting with worms. But I did find a study using Soldier Fly Larvae and Beetle larvae (which I know nothing about) that suggests the end product of Soldiers Flies is anti-bacterial. This suggests to me that the best way to dispose of your dog waste is with Soldier Flies, though all the other methods work to varying degrees, Thesis on composting dog waste with Soldier Flies
2 Extra Easy Ways to Compost Dog Waste at home
- 7. Compostable dog bags with dog waste in a planter pot
- 8. Compostable dog bags with dog waste inside an eco-eze Compot inside a planter pot.
Over the past year or two, I have extensively tested these methods (Composting Dog poop & Compostable Dog Bags) and discovered them to be fast, efficient, portable, and simple (FEPS). They provide a convenient alternative to traditional composting methods, eliminating the need for extensive labor. Initially I referred to this method as the PES (Portable, Efficient, Simple) Method. I believe that adding “Fast” to the description better captures the essence of these 2 methods.
My Recommendations and Why
First recommendation is of course No 8 (Compostable dog bags with dog waste inside an eco-eze Compot inside a planter pot) because it utilises the Soldier Fly in a dedicated system while still allowing you to compost the doggie bags, garden waste and paper waste all at the same time. The scientific thesis undertaken can be read here. Plus, it is portable and easy to use by anybody with very little work involved
Second recommendation is No 6 (Combined Composting) using eco-eze Compot in the ground. Again, because it is a dedicated Soldier Fly composter that can be used for both worms or Soldier Flies, for all your kitchen waste or just your animal waste and can be used in many different ways such as No 8. It requires very little work, gives your beautiful soil, is easy to use for most people and nourishes your garden in the best way with the leachate produced by the Soldier Flies and Frass or castings from worms. And all you do is keep topping it up with your waste until such time that it fills up with soil when you then empty it into your garden and start filling it again.
Third recommendation is No 4. (EMO composting) in a dedicated bokashi bucket for just dog poop because it breaks down the poop with microbes. You still need to bury the waste when it has decomposed enough. Combine it with an inground or above ground eco-eze Compot and you have the best of both worlds. You can use the bran or the spray depending on your needs and if you use one Compot or a few planted around your ornamental plants you will end up with pots full of worms and a beautiful garden
Fourth recommendation is either No 1 (Open air composting) No 2 (Tumbler composting) or No 3 (Worm composting) because these three methods all require a bit of work or maintenance. The open-air compositing will heat up to the desired temperature if you get the carbon / nitrogen ratio right and requires constant turning to maintain the heap. The tumbler is similar, needing the carbon / nitrogen maintained and requires constant turning. The worm farm requires a lot of worm mothering and maintenance if it is not positioned in just the right position in the garden. And it requires moving the trays up and down as they fill with compost and thus require work
Everyone will have a different opinion of what their favourite method is. I based my choices on the effort required to make each system work well, how efficiently they can compost dog waste, and dog bags, and other waste. And how much space they take up in the garden. The last three methods can take up quite a bit of space and look like ugly composters in the garden. But they do have their place in many gardens and should not be discounted as they will suit many people.
It all depends on the space you have, the time you have, the result you want to achieve, the amount of waste and type of waste you need to dispose of and the effort or amount of work required to manage and maintain them. In the end it is up to you. But if you are wanting the most effective way to compost dog waste you can’t go past a system that uses Soldier Fly Larvae.
Pros of Using the FEPS Method of Composting Dog Waste
- Fast, Efficient, Portable, Simple
- Its portability makes it easy to place anywhere in any garden.
- Easy to set up and maintain.
- No need to turn – just keep topping it up.
- Compost spreads by itself unless you want to do it.
- No smell.
- Looks like an ornament in your garden.
- Pots can be emptied if so desired and used on other plants.
- Just keep topping it up.
- Breaks down compostable bags quickly and efficiently.
- Disposes of the dog waste fast and efficiently
- Does not attract vermin.
- Allows you to dispose of garden green waste as well.
- And dispose of paper waste all in one easy system.
- You can have as many or as little as you want or need.
- Disabled people can easily use this method of composting.
- No back breaking work required.
- Keeps other animals away who don’t like the smell of dog waste. They think the area is marked territory of another animal.
Cons of Using the FEPS Method of Composting Dog Waste
- Dog waste or fermented waste does not deter all dogs. In this instance you would need to set up the pots in an area where the dogs cannot go. Or you can cover the in-ground pots with Rio Wire, or an Old Fan Cover. You can paint the fan cover black to hide it in the garden. Hold the Rio or Fan cover in place with a few stakes. This is not an ideal situation if your dog is a digger and eats his own waste.
The other option would be to set up the Above Ground System in a planter pot that the dog cannot knock over or get into. Ideally though, it is better to put your pot in a place where the dogs have no access.
- One concern might be that dog waste doesn’t heat up enough to kill bacteria. The solution is to leave your doggie bags in the sun for a day or two. Then add them to your Compot or Planter Pot. You can place them on top of the Compot or beside the planter pot. Or in a dedicated container like the blue bowl shown in the video “Composting Dog Poop & Compostable Dog Bags.”
Heat from the sun should be strong enough to kill bacteria inside the plastic bag. The plastic will increase the heat inside the bag while it sits in the sun, eliminating harmful bacteria.
This may dry out the dog poop so you will need to water it well when you put it inside your planter pot or eco-eze Compot. Nothing can eat dry waste so make sure the poop is nice and wet before you cover it over with your grass clippings or whatever you use in your garden.
Remember. Regardless of the composting method you choose, it is important to handle dog waste with care to avoid being infected with dog bacteria or parasites. And avoid using the resulting compost on edible plants. Always wash your hands thoroughly after dealing with dog poop to minimise the risk of contamination. It is up to you which method you prefer to use. Just be aware of how each works to give you the best result for composting your dog poop at home.
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