Dog waste contains bacteria and pathogens, including parasitic worms, that can be harmful to humans. Like other animal manures, dog waste is high in nitrogen, so it significantly affects the carbon to nitrogen ratio, which significantly affects the decomposition process.
Dog waste can be successfully composted with these special precautions:
- Do not add dog waste to your regular compost, but establish a separate compost.
- The daily temperature of the compost must reach at least 145 degrees for several days to ensure bacteria and pathogens are destroyed.
- Add carbon-rich materials at a rate of 1 part carbon to 2 parts dog waste.
- DO NOT apply compost containing dog waste to food crops.
In 2005 The Alaska Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation District did an extensive study of dog waste composting. The results of that study and complete instructions on dog waste composting can be found at: http://www.ak.nrcs.usda.gov/compost.html
Or write Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation District, 1760 Westwood Way, Fairbanks, AK 99701, or look for the article in the March/April 1995 issue of Mushing magazine, P.O. Box 149, Ester, AK 99725, phone/fax 907-479-0454.
The following Dog-Waste Compost Recipe is taken from the Alaska study:
- In a covered, dark-colored compost bin collect:
- 2 parts dog waste to
- 1 part carbon-rich material:
- sawdust (not from pressure-treated wood)
- chopped straw or hay
- shredded newspaper
- dry leaves
- Mix and keep pile dry, adding materials until you have a good-sized pile (it should nearly fill the bin, so don’t use a bin that is too large unless you have a lot of dogs).
- When you are ready to compost, add enough water to make wet but not soggy (like a squeezed-out sponge) and turn the pile.
Let the pile “cook.” Temperature should reach at least 145 degrees for several days to destroy pathogens.
- When the temperature drops, turn the pile again and the temperature will rise again.
- When temperature stops rising after turning, the compost is done.
- Let the compost cure for several months to a year before using to stabilize the pH and ensure that the decomposition process is complete.