It is a fact of dog ownership. Of pet ownership. Of life in general. Everybody poops. Every pet parent will have to deal with a smelly problem at some point. What to do with all that poo? The most common way to get rid of the nasty stuff is to pick it up in a plastic bag and throw it in the garbage, essentially ensuring that an incredibly biodegradable product lasts thousands of years in our landfills. And with the “average” dog dropping more than 160 pounds per year*, that’s not such a great idea, but what else can you do?
*Based on a water pollution study from North Carolina.
You can compost it. While there is a lot of misinformation about how dangerous it is to use DPC (dog poo compost) many experts now say it is a viable way to get rid of your dog’s waste while creating a usable product for your yard. Those who study such things almost all recommend that the resulting compost should not be used on edibles. It is such a popular idea in the recycle/reuse age that even state governments are getting in on it. Alaska and Florida both have online guides and Vancouver BC and San Diego offer how-to’s on dog poop composting. There are several ways to do it. We chose to go the route of worm composting or vermiculture.
I started with a plastic tubby.
I drilled holes in it to allow liquid to seep out. I then dug a hole the size of the tubby but a little deeper. I filled the bottom of the hole with small rocks and gravel to allow for drainage.
The lid traps the heat helping speed the degredation process and keeping curious pups from heading back into the stuff.
We then got about 2 pounds worth of little red wrigglers, one of the most widely used worms in vermiculture. You can get them from many hardware stores, bait shops, or check out the ads on craigslist and you’ll find many people who use worm bins selling off some of their worms.
Make the worms a nice starter bed in the tubby using wet newspaper shreds, some of their own compost, lawn clippings, etc. Let them adjust to the new environment for a couple days, then begin adding the poo. Worms will eat about their own weight everyday.
You also need to keep it wet. I have found about a liter of water one per week is enough.
A quick online search will yield thousands of results for dog poo composting. There are even companies digging into this new market. They build pre-made dog poo composting kits and contraptions. If you’re not into using worms, simply adding a bit of septic tank enzyme will help dissolve the poo and eliminate the need to pitch it in the bin. It is not recommended to use cat scat to make fertilizer as it has some pathogens that will not break down and can become problematic. And again, in case you missed it the first time, do not put this on edibles.
Now comes the hardest part. I need to teach the dogs to go there to do their business at the composter and I’ll be set.