How can I “recycle” dog poop?

DogIf you thought my fingernail question was icky a few weeks ago, you might want to look away now.

We’ve had an email from Anne, who says “my suggestion is dog poop!”:

I don’t have a fenced yard, so I walk my dog, so I have lots of little bags of dog poop. I’m told it’s not ok to use in a vegetable garden–maybe a flower garden? any other ideas?

The vegetable thing (or compost heap for use of vegetable garden thing) is because poop from carnivores or omnivores can contain harmful organisms that aren’t destroyed during the standard composting process. (Some hot composting systems claim to be able to do it but I’m not 100% convinced.)

To be on the safe side, I probably wouldn’t want to include it in compost to be used anywhere – because the neighbourhood kids go through phases of digging in our garden and they’re not opposed to eating while doing so, and also I’m not organised enough to keep track of what’s a poo-bed and what isn’t, so would probably end up planting carrots in poo-central or something.

But that does beg the question: can anything be done with it instead of just winging it into the landfill? Any suggestions to minimise the landfill impact (biodegradable bags?)?

(Photo by Minita – I went with a picture of a cute (albeit sad) dog instead of its poo. I thought most people would prefer that. Plus, John and I just played a caption contest thing with it: “you mean I have to stop pooping until someone comes up with an answer?” etc :) )

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27 Responses to “How can I “recycle” dog poop?”


  1. Delusion says:

    There is such a product as a “Green Toilet” It is a special designed, open bottled pot that is sunk partly into the ground. Animal waste is then added to it and the “Toilet” comes with some special accelerator that covers the waste and breaks it down into the ground.

    Its recommended that every few months you move it around so its not always in the same place. Even with the green toilet it is advisable to keep it away from children play areas and edible plants.

    These toilets can be found at some Home improvement stores such as focus / B&Q. I believe the concept works similiarly to the Bokashi system.

  2. Karmae says:

    My mom had this theory – never tie the plastic bags with the poo in it. This way they will get air and the poo will break down and not be left sealed up in the baggies. This is what I’ve been doing as well. For a while I used to bring it home and flush it and rinse and reuse the baggies.But that got to be just too icky. Biodegradable bags are hard to find. The bettter dog food makes for more smaller poos. The worst are the diet foods – extra filler and fibre!

  3. Jayne says:

    What a delightful subject…

    try a green cone if you have a garden. http://www.greencone.com/how_it_works.asp?prid=10
    I haven’t tried it but it looks good and good for composting other waste too!

  4. Estrella Zurullo says:

    Take the poo and spread it on your carpark. If you spread it thin enough on a sunny day, it will dry up and blow away in a matter of hours. I learned to do this with my own poo when I was backpacking through Omaha, Nebraska, in the United States.

  5. Kacy says:

    Bio Bag makes a good biodegradable dog poo bag. They come in a pack of 50 for around $5.00(US). You can find them at drugstore.com or greenfeet.com. I don’t have a dog, but I use them for picking up small trash or collecting organic waste for compost.

  6. When I lived in Guelph in Canada, they had a “Wet” and “Dry” system which was kind of self-explanatory so pet-poo would go in the wet along with food waste & garden waste. Dry was everything else but was clean. They managed to reycyle or reuse or capture power from 60% of the household waste.

  7. Ian Hopper says:

    Another option is building a solar toilet specifically for the dog poop. Solar toilets use the power of the sun to burn up human/pet waste and make it safe to compost, at least for non food sources. http://www.longbrancheec.org/pubs/composting_toilet.html is one reference.

    Personally, I was thinking of building something like this: http://www.biodieselcommunity.org/solarpreheatoil/ but smaller for a single 5g bucket, painted black of course. You’d need an exhaust chimney as well, painted black too and also a vent on the front to help evaporate the poop.

  8. vivian says:

    I just use flushable dog poop bags and flush poop down the toilet. Easiest and most eco-friendly way to deal with dog poop.

    Flushable Dog Poop Bags

  9. Elouise says:

    If you have a garden, you can dig a biggish hole (20 x 20 cm), drop in the dog poop and shovel some sand over it, to stop it from stinking. We did that for years in our garden. Each time the hole is full, you move to another spot and dig the next one, thereby fertilising the soil of the whole garden over time. It makes excellent fertiliser, as far as I can tell.

  10. mangobaby says:

    People in India, use cowpats (flattened piles of cow dung) for fuel. Maybe you can look into a new kind of fuel – “doggy diesel”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow_dung

    mind you, dogs don’t eat as much grass as cattle but it might be worth researching.

    • fallsch says:

      I burn mine. I have 8 large dogs at any give time. I have bins set up in the sun that I put holes in with bug screens over the holes. Leave those in the sun for a couple of months and it dries out. Then I make a fire pit and start as small fire in it and slowly start to add the dried dog dung. It burns and becomes coals to add to the heat of the fire. As a test I fenced off a small area of the yard that the dogs had torn up. I spread the ashes around this area and tilled it into the soil and put grass seed onto it. It seems to be growing well.

      The questions I’d have would be 1. would that the fire would indeed destroy those pathogens and 2. would it still make a decent fertilizer and if so would it be safe for human consumption plants?

      • Kaleb Brown says:

        The pathogens in the dog poop will be removed if you burn it. As for your second question, if it is ashes, then that should be ok for consumption plants, but it changes the pH of the soil, slightly more acidic. If you were planning to use the dog feces as a compost it would not work. There are some harmful organisms that aren’t destroyed by using conventional composting processes. You can use this compost for flower beds, but definitely not for consumption plants.

  11. shaun says:

    hi i would love to have you dogs poo
    if you live in uk
    i can ues it

    • Russell says:

      Shaun you would be more than welcome to my dogs poo. If you are seriously interested please get in touch – home@rmcalinden13.orangehome.co.uk

    • julie says:

      hi there if you still want some dog poo i have planty i have a newfoundland hes like a horse so you can see why i have alot of poo
      where in the uk are you/.?

    • rhys hardwick says:

      i have four dogs that create lots and lots of waste. you can have it all. for free too. just tell me when and how to get it to you. you would be doing me a biiiiig favour

  12. David Wilson says:

    Use an old dustbin with some vegatable matter in it and empty your dog poo directly in. deposit common garden slugs inside the bin and they will consume it leaving a compost like bye product

  13. Anna says:

    Personally,. I use the bag and bio-degradable bags from http://www.dickybag.com. Then, I just put the dog waste (and bag) straight into my compost heap at home after my walk.

  14. Michael says:

    Have you tried Flush Doggy flushable dog poop bags before? It’s so easy to use and no more stinky garbage.

  15. Olia says:

    You can can it, label ” Piece of shit” and send as a gift to someone you don’t like.

  16. Olia says:

    Use it to grow rain worms. They will improve your garden soil.

  17. Peter3DOGS Mulshine says:

    i WAS WONDERING ABOUT USING A BIG PLASTIC TANK W/A REMOVABLE COVER TO HEAT IT SUN & DECOMPOSE IT IN A SLOW MOVING FAN COULD SUCK THE GASES INTO A STANDUP WATER HEATER W. A LIT PILOT &THEN ANY METHANE PRODUCED WOULD BURN UP & HEAT THE WATER.???? I COULD JUST MAKE SURE THAT THE PATH THE GAS WENT THROUGH WAS COMPLETELY VENTED TO THE OUTSIDE???

  18. Get Survival says:

    I wanted to use it in a burning fuel press, but, unlike using manure, I have come to find out it would stink pretty bad. Must be because of the carnivore stool compared the herbivore chips. I guess I could harvest it for methane fuel!

  19. Andre says:

    Have you considered using degradeable plastic bags for your dog poo. Dog poo breaks down naturally but plastic bags don’t and so harm the environment. If the poo goes to landfill then it and the degradeable bag will break down naturally. http://www.earthfriendlyshop.co.uk

    Many other eco products as well for pets, babies, men & women.
    We can all be a little bit greener to help save the planet

  20. Robin B. says:

    The US Government recommends composting to Alaskan dog kennels (Link below) to reduce mass and avoid ground water contamination. Just use it anywhere in lawn starting, landscaping, or flowerbeds–BUT NOT in vegetable gardens or food producing beds.

    LINK to PDF: ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/AK/Publications/dogwastecomposting2.pdf

  21. James Tanguay says:

    Oxi biodegradable bags. Do a search. For videos. Jt Skaneateles



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