Manure is a primary source of compost that we use for agriculture and plantation purposes. The dung we obtain from cow, horse, sheep or other animals is the primary source of organic fertilizer. You might wonder, is dog poop compostable? This question might have crossed your mind because naturally, most manure comes from a domesticated animal.
Dogs are domesticated animals, just like cows, horses, and sheep but they are not herbivores. Herbivore poop doesn’t contain pathogen and worms which usually are present in the poop of facultative omnivore like dogs. Dog poop can be composted only under special care and safety measures.
Here is a list of 4 dangers to keep in mind when composting dog poop;
Unsuitable For Normal Composting
It may seem easy and practical to compost dogs’ waste in the regular home composting site, but that is not as simple as we think. Even though dog feces is a bio waste of organic foodstuff, it is complex and involves a challenging composting process. Since the waste contains bacteria and parasites, it’s tough to kill them through traditional composting methods.
High and steady temperature is necessary if you wish to destroy the parasites and bacteria to change the waste into desirable compost. We can use a compost thermometer to make sure the temperature required for the process is consistent. It’s not impossible, but there are many aspects involved in transforming dog poop into useable compost.
Avoid Using Compost In The Edible Garden
We all are fond of eating organic plants grown in the backyard or in front of our houses. However, compost from dog droppings is not fit for your kitchen garden. An EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) research claims that two to three days worth of dog excretion from 100 dogs is enough to make a beach unfit for a few days to visit.
The bacteria from dog feces can contaminate the organic plants in your backyard that you wish to consume. Organic plants grown with dog compost won’t be so natural and might land you in a hospital bed. Conversely, an ornamental garden can use nitrogen from composted manure properly to enhance its beauty. This makes sense because ornamental plants don’t land on your table, do they?
Dog manure has high nitrogen and potash as compared to the dung of other cattle. This is because of their diet that contains high protein. This makes their feces more acidic and challenging to compost within average temperature. For this reason, dog poop fertilizers are not on the list of top compostable fertilizers which we use in our lawns and backyards.
The compost is not beneficial for edible plants since it can have adverse effects on human health. However, we can mix biodegradable organic fertilizer with the dog poop compost. This way, it can be less harmful to plants. Some people may want to recycle dogs poop into fertilizer for their gardens. However, it’s not the most efficient thing to do.
It is not a good idea to use dog compost near water sources. EPA reports suggest that a certain amount of dog poop is enough to contaminate water resources over a 20-mile radius. People who have homes within close proximity to water resources like the sea, oceans, lakes and so forth are advised not to compost dog poop.
Homeowners with private wells can render their water useless for human consumption, should they have dog poop compost nearby such wells. Also, even though your lawn may enjoy some fertilizer, there will be lots of nitrogen and pathogens sipping down to the water table. As a result, your garden will only receive temporary nourishment as the long-term effects of such compost are nothing but adverse.
Climate Might Work Against It
Dog poop is challenging to convert into compost. It is particularly tricky as the poop requires high temperatures to compost. According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), the average temperature to compost it is around 140-163 degrees Fahrenheit. The high temperature is essential because it helps kill bacteria, viruses and other pathogens found in the poop.
Regions that enjoy tropical and relatively moderate climate can achieve the required temperature in their compost bins or pit. However, cold places with tundra-like climate cannot use this method. The weather does not allow the compost bin to heat up even in the spring period. Therefore, it takes an unusually very long time to compost. Basically, the act of composting dog poop can cause more significant environmental damage in the cold seasons.
In spite of these problems, you can compost dog poop with some precaution. You can add following things in your compost list requirement.
Composting In Your Backyard
You may already have a compost bin in your yard for food junks and other biodegradables. Nonetheless, it’s better to have a separate container to compost dog manure. Firstly, you start by mixing two parts of dog waste to one part of sawdust and other carbon sources if available. Keep on blending the mixture until you get a favorable chunk.
Then, heat it up around 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You shouldn’t forget to turn the compost pile once in a week, maintaining a constant temperature. After six to eight weeks, it will change into dirt-like compost which you can use in your gardens and backyard. This process is simple and effective and will transform your dog poop into advantageous fertilizer.
Better Keep Worms
Earthworms and compost worms will come in handy if you wish to compost your dog poop. First, the poop needs to be composted in a regular composting bin before offering it to the worms. You might wonder why you need to get a second bin. While your fears are valid, housing the second bin with compost worms has a few advantages over regular composting. The worms are excellent natural digesting machines which can kill pathogens in dog poop.
Furthermore, worms help in reducing the odor coming out of dog poop composting bin and let you breathe some fresh air. However, you still need to get it checked by an expert. This is because worms take time to digest all compost you feed it. The worms will feed on the poop and then produce castings of their own called vermicast. The vermicast can then go into your garden soil.
Dog manure can hurt the environment and human health if you do not manage it well. Therefore, if we change dog waste into compost, it can be beneficial for our surroundings and health as well.
Even though the fertilizer may not be the best option for edible plants, it can certainly make your gardens, lawn and backyard greener and healthier.
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