Day 151: Pet Waste

fiddleGato, our cat, was none too impressed, but our household acquired a new member on the weekend: a puppy.  Of course, being of the zero-waste sort of persuasion, we started thinking about pets and the world of waste management.

I will fully admit that we are not the most responsible of pet owners when if comes to waste, allowing Gato to do his thing outside wherever he pleases (which turns out to be primarily under the deck), but a dog is another thing.  Dogs don’t stick to one place, and you can’t have dog crap lying around the yard.  You have to do something with it.  But what?

Herbivores like cows, horses, bunnies and gerbils and the like are easy; it’s common knowledge that their manure makes great compost.  It’s the omnivores and carnivores that pose a bit more of an issue. Pathogens existing in the feces of dogs and cats cannot be overcome by backyard composting.

Yet, throwing poo in the garbage is technically illegal (depending on your municipality), leaving residents with limited options.  You could of course, empty the feces into the toilet and wash the bag for recycling. . . .uh, not likely.

Some municipalities like Toronto take pet waste (complete with plastic bags which later get separated) in their city compost systems.  But what if you don’t have municipal compost pick up?

Rhyannon (new dog owner extraordinaire) had already scoped out a couple options in anticipation that Grant and I would be up in arms at the prospect of another housemate (we weren’t of course).

Turns out you can compost dog waste, just not for use in your veggie patch.  You can either go with a commercial product like the Doggy Dooley or you can DIY.  (You basically create a mini septic tank out of a garbage can by drilling holes in it and burying it neck deep in your backyard.)

So our new housemate is set to jump in to the the last two weeks of our zero waste year (poo composter and all), and Rhyannon is declaring absolute defeat in the “no buying stuff” part of our project.

Update:  Peter from Metro Vancouver kindly sent us this link on what to do with dog waste, and Rhyannon has since made a doggie doo composter by punching holes into an old garbage can and sinking it into the ground (well away from the veggie patch).



Filed under Around the house

8 responses to “Day 151: Pet Waste

  1. rhy

    Well said, but he’s so cute I had to ‘buy stuff’ so he could eat and sleep without peeing and pooing in the house. .. . this weekend i’ll be DIYing a poo composter! I’m still all for the zero waste!

  2. Hi ladies;
    I would highly recommend that you watch The Dog Whisperer to learn how to become a responsible and capable dog owner. Great tips on how to train abnd interact with your dog that will prevent future behavioural problems.
    I have two older dogs and am interested to hear about the dog waste composter. What substance do you end up with after composting and what do you do with it?
    BTW – what a cutie patootie – you never told us his/her name!

  3. rhy

    Hi Mairi,

    Thanks for your idea about the dog whisperer. We are planning to put little Fiddle into puppy kindergarten and make every attempt to train him to be the best dog possible; maybe even have him certified as a therapy animal!

    On the topic of composting it’s my understanding that if you go with the doggy doley the end product is a liquid that is absorbed into the ground and is none toxic. . . if you go for the diy it seems that you end up with dirt for your flower bed or grass but not to be used on anything you plan to eat!

  4. Rachel Christensen

    We’re just trying baggies from this company:

    They’re made of polyvinyl alcohol and can be flushed down the toilet. So far, so good. We’ve only had them for about a week.

  5. Thanks so much for this! We plan at some point to rescue a dog but until my kids are using the toilet, I don’t want to deal with someone else’s poop! I also wonder about environmentally conscious dog food, is there such a thing? We aren’t meat eaters ourselves so adding a carnivore/omnivore to the family will require some thought. Has anyone puzzled through this, ie. done the research for me?

    • Rhyannon has made us a doggy poop composter that can apparently take a bit of meat as well. You can also buy a green cone that serves a similar purpose. You have to keep them away from your veggie gardens though.

      Rachel – those alcohol based bags are intriguing. DO you think they break down into a completely harmless substance? Also, I wonder how strong they are – could you use them on a rainy day?

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

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