If you have a 4 legged friend that runs around your home, you may be considering using their feces for compost. Now, the original thought of dog poop might trigger the “yuck” factor in your mind. However, if you can get past it, dog poop is an excellent, environmentally friendly fertilizer!
Dog poop has been said to be a significant problem environmentally. It is not because of the poop itself but rather the way it is disposed of. Most often, dog poop is scooped up in “biodegradable” bags and thrown in the trash.
When dog feces are thrown away in biodegradable bags, the amount of time it takes for the bag to decompose in a landfill is significantly longer than it would ever take the feces to decompose. Feces are designed to break down naturally.
When it comes to composting dog poop, there are 2 widespread worries: smell and risk of parasites or germs. However, dog feces has little to no odor once it is composted due to the breakdown of the molecules into individual components.
Regarding the risk of parasites or germs, you need to consider that you will only be composting your personal pet’s poop. If your pet gets regular veterinary care with treatments for common parasites, there is a very minimal risk that it will be an issue. In addition, the parasites and bacteria are designed to live inside the pets, not externally.
How Long Does Dog Poop Take To Decompose In A Compost?
The length of time that it takes to decompose dog poop has a number of situational circumstances. For the easy answer, it typically takes 9 weeks for it to decompose completely.
However, as we said, it can depend on the following circumstances:
- Dog’s nutrition and diet
- Stool size
- Environment, weather
Note: In warm weather, dog poop starts to decompose within a week and takes about 9 weeks to completely decompose.
How Do You Make Compost Out Of Dog Poop?
The steps on how to turn your dog’s poop into compost will vary depending on what you will use the compost on. We do not recommend that you use dog poop compost on anything you are going to be consuming. It is best if it is used on your lawn or bushes versus your garden.
Composting In A Lawn
If you have a large yard and need to throw a bit of fertilizer down on it, here is the method for you! You will need sawdust or woodchips, a shovel or rake, a compost bin, and dog poop! Here are the steps for composting dog poop on a lawn:
- In the compost bin, create a layer of dog poop.
- Next, you will add a layer of sawdust or woodchips. This counts as your carbon agent to help keep the smell in as well as help break it down!
- Keep alternating these layers in a compost bin until it is about 3 feet high. If you still have more dog poop you need to get rid of, create a second compost pile.
As the heat permeates the middle of the pile, it will help start decomposing the dog feces. Turn it occasionally to keep the temperatures in the middle of the pile hot. You can leave the pile for months and use it on your ornamental plants or lawn whenever you like!
If you have been glancing around at different answers, you may have noticed the word Bokashi come up here and there. So this is actually a very popular composting process that relies on an anaerobic process resulting in a fermented rather than fully composted material.
To clear this up, because right now, it probably is as confusing as the thought of composting your dog’s feces, let me explain it. Basically, the anaerobic process deprives the organic waste of oxygen as much as you can. This results in the organic waste being fermented versus composted.
Since this might still be pretty confusing, let’s break it down into steps!
Step 1: Gather Supplies
For this process, you are going to need a few supplies. Here is what they suggest:
- Bokashi Plus
- Pet Compost Bucket
- Dog Poop
- Time and patience
Step 2: Assemble
First things first, take a scoop of the Bokashi and add it to the bottom of the pet compost bucket. Next, you are going to add in the dog poop. Please don’t throw the waste bag into the bucket; that would defeat the entire purpose..
Step 3: Sprinkle and Cover
After you have created a layer of dog excrement in the bucket, sprinkle the Bokashi over the top of the poop layer. It should cover the entire surface of the dog poop. Essentially it’s like making a lasagna… (sorry.. that probably just ruined lasagna for you for a while..)
Step 4: Let The Fermentation Begin
Once you have completed filling the bucket, shut it and let it hang out for 10 days. When it has finished fermenting, bury the contents into your garden or lawn for a couple of weeks. I don’t recommend inhaling deeply while you’re completing this step.
Another thing I should mention.. Don’t bury the fermenting dog poop near your water source.. The last thing you want is fermented dog feces leaching into your water supply!
Step 5: Growing Time
After you have let your buried fermenting dog poop sit in the ground for about 2 weeks, you can dig it up and combine it with soil for a fertilizer! Again, we do not suggest that you guys use this fertilizer on anything you are going to eat… Let the shrubs, trees, and grass grow from your dog poop fertilizer.
Few Things To Note
So, we’ve given you the option of traditional composting or the new Bokashi method. There are a few things that, with both of these, we need to be crystal clear about. The temperatures in the compost piles or in the bucket must reach a certain heat to ensure the composting has been successful.
If the compost piles do not get hot enough, the levels of carbon that are needed will not be achieved to help compost the dog poop. The heat also helps kill off any parasites or germs that may be living in the dog poop.
I know I have said this a couple of times throughout, but seriously, do NOT use dog poop for any vegetable plants or anything you will be eating!! The professionals have been frowning on that idea, so maybe it’s best to skip it this time!