Can Dog Waste Be Used In Garden Compost?
We get asked if used poop bags can be placed in garden compost all the time.
Even if it may initially seem like a valid idea, dog waste may not be suitable for composting. The main problem with dog waste is the possibility of exposing vegetation that you might consume with roundworm. Personally, the thought of dog waste at the base of my vegetables would answer the question for me, but let's take a deeper look at some answers.
If you have healthy dogs and you take proper precautions, there are highly specific situations where dog waste can be used for plant cultivation:
In worm composting bins. Earthworms and red wrigglers feed well off of dog waste. The worm's droppings are called castings and are rich, highly versatile compost that is safe to use in various types of gardens.
Compost coming from dog waste should be used for non-food plants. To err on the side of caution, it is best to use dog waste compost with plants that don't grow their fruits and vegetables underground. Cultivars and plants that have edible parts that aren't in direct contact with the soil can also be exposed to dog waste compost, as it won't directly touch it. That of course is a personal decision if you're comfortable with that process. Otherwise, castings are an incredible source of nutrients for flower gardens, hedges or bushes, trees and more.
Consider ambient temperatures. Generally speaking, warmer, more humid climates tend to create ideal environments for organic material to become compost. The temperatures augment the natural process of decomposition and speed up the process of creating quality compost. Colder regions will produce compost more slowly. Commercial compost facilities monitor the temperature of the compost to ensure numerous organisms are killed. If you're composting at home, you should also monitor the inner core temperatures of the compost.
If you decide that you want to use dog waste in these scenarios, it is best to routinely check your dog's digestive health. Regular checkups by a veterinarian will be able to ascertain your dog's health and pinpoint possible roundworm infection. Not to mention it's just a good idea anyway!
If you are planning to toss the poop bag into the compost pile, it's best to use the ASTM D6400 rated dog waste bags. These bags are certified as compostable for commercial compost facilities that are heated to proper temperatures with proper heat, light, moisture and oxygen levels maintained.