We all know that a dog is a man’s best friend. And the man’s best friend has that one problem, the same as that of the man – hair fall! The good thing is that our pooches are least bothered by it, unlike us, and continue to make us happy.
But what can you do with the tufts all around after your dog gave you a nice snuggle? Can you use them for plants? Can you compost dog hair? Let’s dig in!
Yes, you can compost dog hair since it is rich in protein and Nitrogen, making excellent green material for compost. Add dog hair to the compost pile with brown material, and turn it regularly. Make sure to sprinkle instead of adding it in clumps to make the decomposition easier.
If you’re a dog parent, you must be acquainted with the presence of your pup’s fur everywhere. Legit everywhere. But the good news is that you can finally do something useful with it. So let’s get started and find out how!
How to Compost Dog Hair?
Since your dog’s hair is a natural source of Nitrogen, it can be grouped under the category of green material required for composting, along with browns. You can compost dog hair with hot composting, cold composting, bokashi composting, vermicomposting, and anything that requires greens.
To get a better idea of the process, here’s a step-by-step guide to composting dog hair.
Steps to Compost Dog Hair in a Composting Bin/Pile:
Step 1: Start by Adding Brown Material
Step 2: Add Green Material
Following the addition of browns, add your greens. Green material includes everything rich in Nitrogen, for example, grass clippings, other yard trimmings, coffee grounds, egg shells, tea bags, food waste, etc.
Step 3: Add Dog Hair
Since dog hair is a type of green material, you can sprinkle it on top of the green layer. Alternatively, you can also mix dog hair with the rest of the green material before adding it to the compost bin or pile.
Tip: Sprinkling dog hair to spread it out instead of dumping them helps to facilitate breakdown. Adding them in clumps can slow down the decomposition.
Step 4: Add Water
Add water between the layers to fasten the decomposition process. Remember to add water just enough to make the compost heap moist.
Step 5: Repeat the Layers
Consecutively, add the layers in an alternative manner, with the addition of water.
Step 6: Turn the Pile Regularly
Make sure to turn the pile regularly (once or twice a week). Turning will fasten the composting process and regulate temperature and aeration.
And that’s it! Your dog’s hair will be composted within a month.
You can also add dog hair to an existing pile in your backyard. Make sure to give it a nice mix after adding so that the hair doesn’t fly away due to its lightweight.
As for cold composting and bokashi composting, add dog hair with other green material, including kitchen scrap or food scraps, as organic matter in your bokashi bin, and you’re good to go!
Therefore, you finally have an alternate solution to deal with the enormous amount of your dog’s hair instead of throwing them in the dustbin. But what benefits does composting your pup’s hair have?
Benefits of Composting Dog Hair
Apart from being adorable, dogs give many benefits to us as well as to our plants by effortlessly shedding their hair. Here are the advantages of composting dog hair:
- Provides Nitrogen: Dog hair contains a substantial amount of Nitrogen, which is an excellent deal for a plant. Composting dog hair provides your compost with nitrogen-rich material, which is wonderfully beneficial for heating the compost pile and facilitating decomposition.
- Alternative to Bone meal: Dog hair contains Oxygen, Hydrogen, Sulfur, and trace amounts of Carbon, which are the same ingredients like bone meal. Therefore, composting dog hair serves the same purpose as that of bone meal, with the additional benefit of not attracting pests, unlike bone meal.
- Does Not Attract Pests: Unlike many materials used in compost, dog hair has an odor that repels pests. Most pests want to stay away from the canines, and composting dog hair serves the purpose.
- Benefits Earthworms: Adding dog hair to vermicompost can help the worm habitat tremendously since dog hair comprises long chains of proteins; it acts as a decent food source for worms, promoting healthy growth. Also, the fluffy texture gives a comfortable bed to the wigglers.
Well, you must be familiar with the fact that every coin has two sides, which means everything has its pros and cons. But guess what? Composting dog hair has no downsides. On the contrary, they are beneficial and a great ingredient in compost.
But that doesn’t mean you can add dog hair to your compost without taking note of anything.
Points to Remember Before Composting Dog Hair
There are specific points to keep in mind before composting dog hair.
- Avoid Chemically Treated Dog Hair: Our dogs go for a walk and bring ticks and fleas back. To get rid of them, we apply ointments and topical parasite preventives. However, this treatment makes your dog’s hair unfit for composting since composting them will introduce chemicals in compost, harmful to plants and eventually to us.
Therefore, it is best to avoid composting dog hair if you are treating your dog with any such ointments.
Note: You can compost dog hair if your dog is on oral treatment since the fur won’t be harmful to compost.
- Avoid Vacuumed Dog Hair: Vacuum cleaners are a boon for us when it comes to cleaning. And if you’re a dog owner, you would find large tufts in vacuum cleaner bags. But before you get tempted to compost that large amount of dog hair, remember that vacuum cleaners suck all the dirt.
It might contain many unwanted things for your compost, like synthetic carpet fibers, which are microplastics and are detrimental to compost as well as plants.
Note: If you use a vacuum cleaner frequently, then there might be a chance of having fewer microplastics and more dog hair, which can be used for composting.
- Avoid Dog Hair from Bleached Floors: Avoid collecting dog hair for composting from bleached floors or after applying disinfectant cleaners. These tufts might contain chemicals that will be harmful to your compost.
Well, now you know how to compost as well as how not to compost dog hair. But is composting the only way you can use dog hair for your plants?
Other Ways to Use Dog Hair for Plants
You can use dog hair in many different ways other than composting.
- As Fertilizer: You can add dog hair directly to your plants since it will naturally decompose, slowly releasing nutrients, and contains a significant amount of Nitrogen. It also improves structural support and helps break up clay and thick soils.
Note: Remember to mix up the fur with the soil to ensure it doesn’t fly away with air.
- Use Dog Fur Around Yard to Keep Away Animals: Stuff burlap bags or similar kinds of bags with dog fur and tie them around your yard. The odor will trick the pests like rabbits and small animals into thinking that a dog is in the yard and will keep them away.
- Tie Fur At Bottom of Plants: You can tie dog fur around the base of the plants. The odor will discourage pests, and the tuft will also act as a trap for bugs, snails, and slugs.
Tip: Change the fur frequently to maintain the smell.
So next time you groom your dog, make sure to compost those tufts and groom your plants too.
Fun Fact: Science says owning a dog makes you attractive. (Yes, it is a fact.)
So what’s better than an attractive person having an attractive dog and an attractive garden? It is kind of attractive, right?
But is dog fur the only thing you can compost? Let’s find out!
What Else Can You Compost?
Well, dogs are these wonderful creatures who not only make us feel good but also make our plants feel good. And here’s how:
1. Nail Clippings: You can compost your dog’s nail clippings. Add them to the compost pile as green yard waste. Avoid composting painted nails.
2. Dog Food: You can compost dried dog food that your pup is not interested in having. Avoid wet dog food for your compost as it can make it smelly. Instead, slightly moisten the dried dog food and add it to the layers of the compost pile.
3. Dog Waste: Yes, you can compost that stinky dog poop as it is an excellent source of Nitrogen and acts as a wonderful soil additive and organic waste. And if you wish to know more about the process, here’s a detailed guide to composting dog poop.
Therefore, it is evident that your dog is a beauty in all forms. Who would have thought that your dog could be so beneficial to plants as well? Well, making everyone happy is a dog’s forte!
And don’t fret if you’re a cat owner. You can also compost cat hair the same way. So, just compost hair and give your plants a hearty Nitrogen treat!
Is dog hair green or brown material?
Dog hair is rich in Nitrogen which makes them an excellent green material.
Can we use dog hair as mulch?
You can use dog hair as mulch, but ensure to mix it with the soil since the lightweight will make them fly away with air.
Can we compost cat fur?
Yes, you can compost cat fur the same way as dog fur.
Can we use dog hair for potted plants?
Yes, you can use dog hair for potted plants. Add dog hair to the pot and mix it with the soil.
Is pet hair compostable?
Yes, you can compost pet hair as it is an excellent organic material and can be added to the green bin. In addition, cat hair, dog hair, rabbit hair, etc., are all compostable materials.
Is pet waste toxic to plants?
No, pet waste is not toxic to plants. Instead, it is a nutritious treat for plants. You can compost pet waste by adding it to the green natural materials, which will act as food for microbes. It is recommended to use it for non-food crops.
It is a surprise to see our pooches do so many things for us and the nature around us. It can be said they are magicians. And what do you call a dog magician? A labracadabrador! (pup humor)
And if you are neither a dog parent nor a cat parent, you can compost your fallen hair! Here’s what you should know about composting hair.