I have a lawn in my garden and often use fertilizer to keep it healthy and green. Most fertilizers I come across are made of cow manure. Sometimes I hear people talk about letting their dogs poop in their garden. For me, that is definitely not a good idea, I have little kids running around, but I was wondering if it would have the same effect. So I started to investigate if dog poop could be used as fertilizer, and here is what I found.
No, your dog’s poop does not contain enough nutrients to fertilize your plants. It is filled with parasites, bacteria, and other organisms that plants don’t need and wouldn’t be able to use. It is dangerous to use dog poop as fertilizer. It makes humans and other animals very sick. In fact, the poop of herbivores is much better suited as a fertilizer for plants than the poop of carnivores.
Manure is the feces of animals that eat plant-based food. It is used as fertilizer for plants because it contains nutrients that are plant-available to be used by the plant. Manure is also used in fields to improve the soil quality and make the land more productive.
Reasons Not to Use Dog Poop As Fertilizer
While it may sound like a good idea to use dog poop as fertilizer, there are good reasons why you should not use dog poop as fertilizer. Dog poop is filled with parasites and bacteria that plants don’t need and are dangerous for people and other animals. In fact, the poop of herbivores is often much better suited as a fertilizer for plants than the poop of carnivores.
There are many other options to consider if you are looking for a way to fertilize your plants without causing a stinky odor and without putting your family’s health at risk.
You, your family, and your pets’ health are good reasons not to use dog poop as fertilizer. Are there any other good reasons not to use your dog’s droppings as fertilizer? Well…
Dog poop is too acidic and does not contain the proper nutrients for the plant growth needed
Cow manure is a powerful fertilizer that contains many nutrients because cows only eat vegan, mostly grass. Cow poop, for that reason, is not acidic when it breaks down.
Dog poop does not contain the proper nutrients. Dogs are carnivores, and their diets are high in protein. Because of the high protein levels, the feces becomes acidic when it breaks down. The good nutrients it contains are not enough to support the growth of plants or grass. Protein gets acidic when it breaks down, which in turn is bad for your plants and lawn. Dog poop can kill the grass.
Leave a pile of dog poop on your lawn for a couple of weeks. After a couple of weeks, you will see the grass around the pile turn brown. It is not hard to imagine, but it can even kill herbs or crops you’re growing. You can see it for yourself.
It takes a long time to break down dog poop
It takes a long time for dog poop to break down. The decomposition process requires the poop to be exposed to oxygen and water to break down.
If your dog is on a vegan diet, small pieces of his pooh can decompose fairly quickly when exposed to the elements of nature.
On the other hand, most dogs are on a diet that contains a lot of meat and proteins. The droppings of these animals can take weeks or even many months to break down. Some can even take up to a year to fully break down.
You can see that even if you distribute it over your lawn, this is still far too long before all nutrients are passed over.
Dog poop contaminates water
When dogs relieve themselves on the ground, they leave behind their waste. Over time, this waste contaminates the groundwater in and around the area. This contaminated groundwater eventually makes its way to the nearest waterway polluting a lake, river, stream, or backyard pond.
In some areas, streams or lakes are used as a source to irrigate local crops. Dog poop left behind can eventually pollute the crops in the area.
Did you know that dog poop is 3rd on the list of the top 10 most common contributors to contaminated water? Dog poop finds itself in the same EPA category as oil and mine runoff.
For this reason, you can get fined in some countries for leaving your dog’s droppings in the street.
Can I Bury Dog Poop In The Backyard?
You may have heard of people burying dog poop in the backyard as a way to fertilize their plants. To put it short, it is plain and simple pollution. I can not recommend this for several reasons stated above.
One of the main concerns is that buried feces will eventually contaminate your groundwater.
Another good reason would be that there is a big possibility a plant will not grow near that place anymore.
In short, there is no reason to bury your dog poop. It is far better to dispose of the poop responsibly, so you are not putting your and your family’s health at risk, so the environment’s health is not affected. There are many ways to properly dispose of dog poop that will keep your family and the environment healthy without putting your own and your family’s health at risk.
One of the best ways to dispose of dog poop is to bag it and put it in the garbage or flush it down the toilet, unbagged, of course.
By the way I have written a post on what to do when your dog poops inside the house. You can read it here.
In my country, It is allowed and preferred for dog owners to scoop their dog’s waste and throw it in the garbage. I also know other countries where this practice is not even allowed. In these countries, dog waste should be treated as hazardous waste. It needs to be bagged and disposed of in proper places.
Not only remove dog poop from your garden but also scoop it up from the street when you’re walking your dog. For us as good citizens and dog owners, it is the best thing to do.
In doubt about anything? Do not hesitate to contact the local authorities or your dog’s vet. In some cases, it may also be a good idea to contact your local municipality to see if they have any programs in place to help you dispose of dog poop in an environmentally friendly way.
Some cities also offer free or discounted bags for dog waste, so it’s a good idea to inquire if this is the case in your area. In other cases, you may even be able to get a small rebate or discount on your dog’s food if you’re able to provide proof that you’re properly disposing of your dog’s waste.
The local municipality should advise you of the best way to deal with dog poop and dispose of it responsibly.
Do Farmers Care If a Dog’s Poop Is Left Behind In Their Fields?
I know a farmer who I spoke to about this matter. He explained to me that not everything can be prevented. Your own dogs are fine, but you try to keep other dogs away from your fields and crops as much as possible.
As a farmer, having your own pets on the field is fine. A good farmer makes it a habit to clean up his pet’s droppings in the field. The poop of your own dog is minuscule, and cattle will avoid eating the fields near the feces. Cattle can get very sick from it, though.
Some parasites found in dog poop can make cattle very sick and result in abortion or death.
Do you walk your dog’s near fields with livestock? Be sure to clean up after your dog.
Neospora eggs found in infected dogs’ feces are among the most common causes and responsible for the highest percentage of all cattle abortions reported.
Feces between crops can be a bigger problem if not removed before it gets cut and baled. If the crop is baled together with the left feces, the entire bale can rot. Most Farmers will not take their pets with them into the crop fields.
If the crop doesn’t rot, the parasites living all over it by now are sure to be hazardous for humans.
Having a dog has many benefits, but it also comes with a fair share of responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is properly disposing of your dog’s waste.
You can’t expect other people to clean up after your dog, so it’s up to you to make sure you’re disposing of your dog’s waste in a responsible way. The best way to do this is to ensure that you’re scooping up your dog’s waste whenever they leave something behind and dispose of it in a way that won’t harm the environment.
Using your dog’s poop as fertilizer is definitely not the best way to go about it. It is not suitable for your lawn, crops, plants, and flowers, as we have read above. On the contrary, it makes the soil acidic, killing plants and grass.
Be good for our environment and dispose of your dog’s waste responsibly.