5 Reasons Why Dog Poop Doesn’t Make Good Fertilizer
If you’ve ever fertilized your garden with manure, you may have noticed an unpleasant odor – it’s no surprise, considering that it is made from cow droppings. If manure is so good as a fertilizer, you may be wondering if your dog’s poop could be used for the same thing. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case – dog poop does not make good fertilizer. Keep reading to find out why.
5 Reason Dog Poop Can’t Be Used for Fertilizer
If you’re looking for a nutrient-rich fertilizer to use in your garden, think twice before you start eyeing up your dog’s latest “gift.” Here are five reasons why dog poop doesn’t make good fertilizer:
- It doesn’t contain the right nutrients. A dog’s diet is high in protein which, as it breaks down, becomes very acidic and that’s not good for your plants. Cow manure works well as fertilizer for vegetation because it starts out as vegetation. Get it? The bottom line for dog poop is that if your dog really is creating the perfect poop (and yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as the perfect dog poop), that means they have healthy guts. And a healthy gut means that all the nutrients that were supposed to come out of the food for your dog to absorb and fuel his body with did just that and left the waste behind. The waste is not full of anything but gunk, and that’s not good for your dog or for the earth.
- It might be riddled with bacteria. Your dog’s body is full of bacteria at any given moment, but it doesn’t tend to cause a problem unless his immune system becomes weakened. Though it may not make your dog sick, all of that bacteria can be passed in his stools and that’s not something you want to use in your garden. A single gram of dog feces can contain 23 million bacteria. A lot of the time that’s because your dog’s gut is literally pushing out the nasty and keeping the important, life-giving and nutritionally valued in. Your dog’s waste and the bacteria in it are nothing you want to spread around.
- You might get a fine. Even if the signs aren’t posted, your area probably imposes a fine on dog owners who don’t clean up after their dogs. In some metropolitan areas, those fines could be as high as $750. You might not think the rules apply on private property, but you could be wrong.
- It could contain harmful parasites. Not only does your dog’s feces contain millions of bacteria, but it could also contain parasites. Some of those parasites even have the potential to infect people – examples include parvo virus, hookworms, giardia, roundworms, and trichinosis.
- It takes a long time to break down. The final reason dog waste doesn’t make good fertilizer is that it takes a long time to fully break down. A single pile could be sitting in your yard for an entire year if it isn’t disturbed. If you’re using that as fertilizer, think about how little your plants are NOT getting.
These five reasons alone should be enough to convince you that your dog’s poop probably isn’t your best option when it comes to fertilizer. So, what do you do with it then? Keep reading to find out.
Can You Use Dog Poop for Compost?
Just because dog poop doesn’t make good fertilizer, does that mean it can’t be composted either? Sadly, the answer to this question is “yes.” Composting a natural process through which organic waste products are broken down into a nutrient-rich substance that can be used to fertilize plants. As you’ll remember from the last section, dog poop is high in protein which produces a very acidic waste product. Not to mention, it’s the dredge of your dog’s meals and has already had all the nutrients absorbed from it (theoretically, if your dog has good gut health)
The other problem with dog poop is all of the parasites and bacteria it contains – those pathogens need to be exposed to 165°F temperatures for five days to kill them and that is unlikely to happen in your backyard compost heap. There are ways to compost it safely, but you might want to start a separate compost heap to do it, just to be safe.
Whether you use your dog’s poop for compost is a choice you’ll have to make for yourself. It’s your choice, but there are certainly better ways and items to compost than using dog poop. If you’re not composting it though (and be real, odds are you’re not) just make sure you dispose of it in a safe and clean way. Your dog’s pop is an indicator of what his gut looks like, so as long as his gut’s in great shape, that poop should be quick and easy to scoop and lose!
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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