Can You Compost Dog Poop? (3 Effective Methods and Tips)

Did you know that owning a dog could reduce your stress levels? Well, who doesn’t love to play with these adorable pooches? It’s fun to have them around, but the only issue is dealing with their stinky poop. But today, we’ll show you another creative way to dispose of dog waste without filling landfills. Continue reading to find out if you can compost dog poop at home and, if so, how.

Yes, you can compost dog poop with some necessary precautions as It adds nitrogen to the compost and gives nutrient-rich humus to the soil. But, since dog poop may contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause health issues, use this compost only for non-food crops.

How to compost Dog Poop?

We generally worry about the bad odor and the germs carried by the dog poop. However, when it’s composted, the bacterias break down the molecules in the poop and eliminate the odor giving it an earthy smell. Being rich in Nitrogen, it further enriches the soil. So composting dog waste is the best way to dispose of it.

While considering the risk of pathogens in dog waste, commercial composting is widely popular. But you can also compost dog poop in a home composting setup. Dog waste can be composted through the hot compost method, bokashi method, and vermicomposting method in your backyards.

Composting Dog Poop through Compost Bins

Composting dog poop in compost bins is the best way to deal with pet waste as it’s a hot composting method, and the high temperature helps break down the dog waste.

In this composting method, you need to balance four factors: carbon-rich materials (yard waste, sawdust, cardboard, paper), Nitrogen-rich materials (dog poop, food scraps), aeration (oxygen), and moisture (water).

It’s recommended to use a separate compost bin for composting dog poop. If you already have a dog poop bin that you can use for your flower beds, you need to mix one scoop of sawdust with two scoops of dog waste and add it to the compost bin, giving it a quick mix.

Hot Composting in Garden

But if you are starting with a new bin, here are the steps you need to follow to compost dog poop through compost bins.

Step 1. Set Up Your Compost Bin

Get a plastic or wooden bin with a lid for composting dog waste. Drill holes across the bin for aeration and place it in a sunny spot in your backyard. This helps the compost bin to heat up quickly.

Step 2. Collect the Dog Poop

Collect the dog poop and remove the poop bags. You must check for the compostable dog poop bags and if there are any plastic bags, avoid using them.

Step 3. Mix Brown and Green Materials

Mix dog poop with brown materials like sawdust, shredded newspaper, and dry leaves. Also, add fresh grass clippings and food scraps like potato peels, banana peels, watermelon rinds, eggshells, and other kitchen waste to the mix.

Step 4. Prepare the Bed

Add the mixture of brown and green materials into different layers by adding soil between each layer. This gives structure to the compost. Once you have completed adding the ingredients, seal the compost pile with a firm layer of soil and cover it with a lid.

Step 5. Maintain the Compost Pile

You need to maintain your compost heap by turning it and maintaining the moisture. The compost pile should always be damp. So, use the moisture meter to check the moisture content. When you feel the moisture levels are low, sprinkle some water.

Also, turning the compost pile will help raise the compost pile’s temperature. Your compost must reach a temperature of 73ºC for at least five days to kill the canine bacteria. Use a thermometer to check the temperature and when you see the temperature drop, mix the compost heap with a pitchfork.

With the increasing temperature, the microbes will break the dog manure and other food waste, and the finished compost will be ready within nine weeks. This compost can be used to feed your flower beds or lawn once the compost is ready.

Composting Dog Waste through Worm Bins

Vermicomposting is another efficient method of getting nutrient-rich humus from dog waste, killing harmful bacteria and parasites. Worms feed on the dog poop actively when they are supplemented with other food and break down this waste into useful manure or the vermicompost.

Remember to set up a separate worm bin to compost pet waste as this compost cannot be used to fertilize food crops. Here are the steps you need to follow while composting pet waste through wormery.

Vermicomposting of Cherry Pits

Step 1. Set Up Worm Bin

Get a worm bin from the gardening store and place it in your backyard. It is not recommended to use the worm bin indoors to compost your pet waste as it has bad odors and contains harmful pathogens.

Step 2. Prepare the Bedding

Add a thick layer of shredded newspaper to the bottom of your compost bin and dampen it. Now add a firm layer of soil over the shredded paper to provide grit to the worms and sprinkle more water.

Step 3. Add Dog Feces to the Worm Farm or Worm Bin

It’s time to add your pet waste. Remember to remove plastic dog poop bags as the plastic will not break down. You should also avoid using compostable dog poop bags or biodegradable bags because the worms will not eat them, and the waste will take longer to decompose.

Along with dog poop, add other kitchen and food waste. Now cover your worm bin with gunny bags and leave it for a week to break them down naturally by the microbes.

Step 4. Add Worms

Take a handful of red wiggler worms and add them to the bin. The worms will start feeding on your pet’s poop and other food waste. Once they digest the composting materials, they excrete the waste, which becomes the nutrient-rich fertilizer known as vermicompost or vermicast.

Step 5. Maintain your Worm Bin

Supplement your worms with food waste once a week and rinse the wormery when you feel it’s dry. Vermicompost will be ready in 6-9 months. Dry this compost for a week and use it to supplement your flower beds.

Composting Dog Poop through Bokashi Bins

Bokashi method is an anaerobic method of composting that can be used to compost indoors and is suitable for urban dwellers. This method supports composting pet waste, meat scraps, chicken bones, fish bones, and other food waste.

However, remember bokashi bins only give you pre-compost or fermented food, but not the final compost. So once the waste in the bokashi bins is fermented, you need to compost it further in your regular composting setup.

Bokashi Bran for Bokashi Composting of Cherry Pits

Here’s the step-by-step guide to getting the most out of your dog’s poop through the bokashi method:

Step 1. Set Up Bokashi Bin

Get a bokashi bin and place it near your balcony or in the garden. Also, get the bokashi bran that acts as composting supplements for carrying out the fermentation process.

Step 2. Add Dog Waste to the Bokashi Bin

Scoop the dog poop and place it in your bokashi bucket. You can add 4-8 scoops depending on the size of your bin. However, make sure not to add the poop bag to your bin.

Step 3. Add the Bokashi Bran

Add the bokashi bran to the bucket and press the waste firmly with a shovel to remove the air pockets and close the bin’s lid. Now let it ferment for up to 10 days. Do not disturb the process by removing the lid frequently. Then, you can add the remaining waste to the next batch.

Step 4. Collect the Pre-Compost and Bury it In Regular Compost

After ten days, the pre-compost will be ready. Bury this fermented waste in your regular compost bin and leave it for the next 2-4 weeks to further break down. Although the pathogens in your pet poop are killed during fermentation, this process makes the compost more acidic and, thus, needs to be added to the regular compost bin.

The humus will then be ready to use in your garden for shrubs and flower beds. This nutrient-rich compost will boost the quality of the soil.

Why Should You Compost Dog Waste?

According to Environmental Protection Agency, an average dog creates ⅓ of a pound of waste per day or about 275 pounds per year. This indicates vast amounts of waste going to landfills. Composting dog waste is a low-cost way to dispose of waste while also protecting the environment by reducing waste in landfills and thus lowering methane emissions.

The dog waste also comprises NPK of 2-10-0.3. The Nitrogen in dog waste is equivalent to an 18 lb bag of urea and other useful nutrients. It also adds organic matter to the soil and thus is considered an excellent soil additive if composted.

Why Should You Not Use Fresh Dog Poop as a Fertilizer?

Dog poop is acidic and harmful to plants. Furthermore, because fresh poop is slow to decompose in natural conditions, it may end up in your garden and near your plants for several months to a year or more.

Also, the stool contains harmful bacteria and parasites like hookworms, roundworms, E. Coli, etc., and may infect plants if it’s left in your garden or used for your plants without composting. These bacteria can also infect humans. So, it’s always good to compost dog poop to use in your garden.

Benefits of Composting Dog Poop

According to the EPA, dog waste is a safe soil supplement when composted for lawns, flowers, shrubs, and trees (except for food crops). In addition, there are many other benefits of composting dog feces. Listed below are a few benefits.

  • By composting dog poop, you can reduce the total waste volume by 50%, saving huge amounts of waste going to landfills and reducing methane emissions.
  • Dog waste is rich in Nitrogen and adds nutrients to the compost.
  • It acts as a soil additive by improving the physical property and fertility of the soil.
  • Composting dog poop eliminates the risk of spreading harmful pathogens from the dog waste.
  • Composting dog poop helps eliminate the risk of groundwater and surface water pollution.
  • Composting dog poop is a cheap source of organic fertilizer.

Additional Tips For Composting Dog Poop

When you don’t dispose of the dog waste, it creates unsanitary environmental conditions. So composting is a better way to handle dog poop. However, when composting, dog waste must be handled with caution. If not, it may lead to multiple concerns. So here are some tips you need to follow while composting dog poop.

  • Do not compost the waste from unknown dogs or those who show signs of diseases.
  • Avoid adding the compost to vegetable gardens or any edible plants and trees, as the pathogens might enter the food chain and make you sick.
  • For composting dog waste, use separate compost bins. Please do not mix it with the regular compost you would use for your food crops.
  • Use gloves while handling dog waste.
  • Use a lid while composting to eliminate the odor and maintain heat in the compost pile.
  • Turn the compost pile once in a while to maintain a high temperature for better decomposition. 
  • Do not toss the dog waste with plastic bags or other decomposable bags in the compost bin. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take dog poop to decompose?

It can take up to 2 months (9 weeks) for the dog poop to decompose completely. The decomposition of the poop depends on other factors like the dog’s diet and the climatic conditions. For example, if the dog feeds on plant-based materials, poop will decompose faster. Also, the dog waste breaks down faster in hotter climates than in cold ones.

Can you home compost dog poop?

Yes, it’s possible to compost dog poo with other organic material in a home composting setup. It can be composted through the hot composting method, vermicomposting, or the bokashi compost method.

Can I bury dog poop in my garden?

It is not advisable to bury dog poop in your garden as it might cause soil pollution. Dog poop is acidic and might cause Nitrogen toxicity to the plants if they are buried directly in your garden without composting. Moreover, with rain, the dog poo might leach down and reach the water bodies and pollute the groundwater and surface water.

Is dog poop biodegradable?

Yes, dog poop is biodegradable, but it is not recommended to leave the waste on the ground or in parks. While the fecal matter decomposes, it releases harmful pathogens like E. coli, roundworms, tapeworms, salmonella, and campylobacter into the environment. These pathogens are dangerous and pollute water bodies and the soil, entering our food chain and causing diseases.

Is dog waste green or brown compost?

Dog poop is rich in nitrogen and is considered the green composting material. So, mix it with brown composting materials like sawdust to get a fine dog poop compost.

Can you add poop bags to the compost?

You should not add plastic poop bags or biodegradable poo bags to the compost. Though compostable dog poop bags are available these days, they take up to a year or longer to break down. So it is not recommended to add poop bags to the compost bin.

Dog poop contains harmful bacteria and parasites and thus needs to be disposed of carefully. However, this waste contains high amounts of nitrogen and other organic matter and can become a great additive to the soil if composted. This also reduces the amount of waste going to landfills.

There is a misconception that dog waste can only be composted commercially and is not ideal for composting at home. But the above-mentioned methods will help you compost dog poop effectively. But remember, it is recommended that poop compost be used only for revegetation, landscaping, and non-food crops.

Dryer lint is another excellent material that can be used in gardens. But can you compost dryer lint effectively at home? Join us to know more.