Dog feces in compost?

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flick wrote:

Good points. Let me just add to them, if I can.
The appropriate temp varies with time exposure. The longer the temp is held, the lower it can be. At the temps you mention, mere hours are enough. Even poorly built piles of adequate size will attain core temps of 130 F. for the week or so that is recommended.
Here's the kicker: even if the pile never does go above body temperature, eventually the parasites die anyways. Why?
No food. Temperature extremes. Ultraviolet light sterilization. Falling prey to other biota. Dryness. None of these mechanisms alone is enough, but they each take a toll and the combined toll IS enough. We just need to give the pile time if we can't give it heat.
I want to make what I think is an important point. We are not trying to make the compost absolutely sterile. That is not the goal at all. We only hope to make it as safe as the soil it is used in and on. Culture a petri dish of soil sometime and you'll see that this is an easy target to reach.
Composting is simply the act of gathering together and concentrating the processes that occur naturally without human intervention. Who here fears forest soil? Who even cares if a bear made a doo-doo on it last year? Who cares if a deer carcass rotted on it five years ago? Or if a mouse or squirrel shat on it today? The bear doo-doo and the deer carcass benefitted from time, not temp. and the only trace they left behind was soil that was richer for their presence. The rodent doo-doo is simply accepted because there is little choice and little risk. We want that bushel of soil, rat poop and all, because we know how fertile it is. We'll take our chances with the poop.
We let the three year old eat the green bean fresh from the vine with little concern for what the wind, bird and bug have left behind. Why? Because we want her to love gardens as we do. It's a calculated risk ... and we all take it.
Gardening is simply the act of working with natural processes to grow specific species of plants that we find useful. Making compost is just one of those natural processes. Taking reasonable risks is part of gardening ... as it is all of life.
Don't dust, rub or spray your plants with diseased manure / urine and the processes that were in place in the Garden of Eden will take care of the rest. With or without our help, depending on how much of a hurry we are in to relax in the garden.
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Right. As I pointed out, roundworms are in ordinary soil everywhere, in fact the most common way dogs pick up fresh infestations is walking on dirt then licking their feet. (Tho a dog on a meat-based diet will have a gut water balance and immune response that keeps ascarids at a very low level; also, there is some evidence that a low population of "normal" parasites are *required* for truly sound intestinal balance. Which a lot of breeders had already noticed, since 100%-parasite-free puppies tend to have more issues with unexplained diarrhea.)

Right. The odd lump here and there from reasonably healthy critters (or dead critters from natural causes) won't hurt anything and will provide concentrated nitrogen. But this is different from trying to make compost from materials that are *primarily* poop (or corpses :) In nature, poop gets dropped here and there, is a very tiny minority of the total, and is worked upon by all the stuff around it. It's not piled all in one big heap. (Tho Garden Cat is making the attempt... she's got two distinct *piles* going in my side yard -- not that it's going to hurt the desert sand much.)
BTW, some years ago someone did some research on why certain swaths of Europe, most notably in Germany and France, have such spectacularly lush growth, above and beyond what is typical for the region. A glance at historical maps, and some digging, made the reason obvious: these are areas that have been battlegrounds for centuries, and have a rather high concentration of, um, composted corpses (blood is a wonderful fertilizer!) and rusted armour.

And there is somewhat more risk in over-protecting a child from their environment anyway, as the immune system *requires* a certain level of challenges to develop proper and normal immunity to the ordinary gunk of Real Life. Frex, it's been discovered that kids who grow up around dogs and cats have a much lower incidence of allergies as adults, because their immune systems got a useful level of challenge for developing to best performance and least chance of overreaction (allergy being essentially an immune overreaction). Eating a bit of healthy garden dirt now and then isn't going to hurt a kid, in fact it's far more likely to be good for 'em.
~REZ~
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Rez wrote:

True ... but you would be ill-advised to make compost from strictly high-nitrogen materials from any source. A pile of grass clippings will eventually turn into a pile of compost (as will a pile of elephant doo-doo or Roman soldiers) ... but woe to the poor soul who disturbs such a pile on a hot day before the process is complete!
A pile made completely from high carbon materials would have problems too. Not the same problems but, after a few years, it would become very evident that the piles were working just a little bit on the slow side.
I assumed that the person wanting to add doggie poop to their compost pile would be adding it at some reasonable ratio to the rest of the ingredients. If not, then the whole discussion is inverted and I would have to urge them not to make a pile primarily of doggie-doo. Not because of disease but because of stench.

In Genesis, God tells Adam that he is going to make the soil less fertile. Armeggedon, with its incredible carnage, is a part of the process of cleansing the planet and renewing it. As both a gardner and a Christian who spends a great deal of time contemplating the scriptures, I have long assumed that Armeggedon marks the time and manner when the fertility of the soil is restored. The bodies (roughly 2/3 of the planet, if I did my math right) will be too many to bury. God has told the surviving remnant that their enemies will become dust at their feet. Apparently this has a literal fulfillment. They will simply decompose where they fall ... like the green swaths of Europe.
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I really appreciate the posts you've made in this topic, with scientific knowledge. Thanks.
I compost the dog doo here, because there's no other reasonable way to dispose of the large quantities, and it's nice to know that I'm not committing some horrible environmental sin ;-).
flick 100785

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flick wrote:

Thank you, flick. Except for my own measurements in my own compost piles meant to guide my own actions, I can not claim to have contributed anything original of scientific value to the overall discussion.
Google is your friend. Especially, google is your friend when looking up 'humanure'. After you have read the whole Humanure Handbook, a lot of websites with their elaborate 'shopping lists' of permitted and prohibited materials are going to strike you as 'guesswork' (or worse) ... and erroneous guesswork at that.
I don't approach this as a religion, but there are natural cycles in nutrients that have been going on since life drew its first breath on this planet. So long as mankind brings a little intelligence to the table, he can use this cycle to his advantage.
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Yeah, I ran into the Humanure Handbook when I googled a phrase like "composting poop" or "composting manure." And after I read parts of it, it just made *sense.* At the time, I was in the city and trying to dispose of dog doo. It made my trash too heavy for the disposal people to pick up (they had a weight limit), and took up space in the cans that we needed for household garbage, so I needed to do something and came up with the trash can composting method.
There are a couple pages out there specifically about composting dog doo, but I don't have the URLs handy.
I get a kick out of the sites that say not to put meat and bones in the compost heap, but then there are people who compost whole chickens, and there's info out there on how to do it right. Duh.
Carcasses came to my mind the other day as I was faced with the hassle of burying a dead animal. I have between 5 and 10 acres, and I would rather have left it unburied, well away from the house and where we hike, and let nature dispose of it more quickly. This time, the dead critter was too heavy for me to move very far.
Digging a hole that won't get opened in the course of gardening, say, is a darn deep hole and time consuming, and I've had the unpleasant experience of a carcass "floating" up through the ground, and having to re-bury it. Blech. How much quicker it would be to put the carcass over in the corner, so to speak, and avoid it until it was cleaned down to bone, which I imagine wouldn't be real long here in the rural South.
Lest it sound like I'm a serial killer or something - small farm animals.

My main thought is not to overload the local ecosystem, if those are the right words.
flick 100785

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wrote:

Pretty much. And use a scrub brush with fine bristles -- surgical scrub doodads are great for this sort of thing. Soap isn't necessary; in fact the reason surgeons scrub like maniacs is primarily for mechanical removal of bacteria, as this has been found to be more effective than chemicals.

Well, there are pathogens that can survive plenty of abuse, as they encapsulate. But composting certainly would get rid of the ones that don't survive long outside the body or don't tolerate temperature changes.

Yep.
150 or so to kill the fragile ones. 180 for the tougher ones. 400 degrees to kill the really resistant ones that encapsulate. By this point, one's compost pile is usually on fire. :)
~REZ~
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wrote:

Well, I have two gsd's (both very big and full of life) and a springer, and my vet seems to be completely happy with their diet, which is based on a prepared food (Wafcol veggie diet) supplemented with with fresh vegetarian options from my own kitchen - which I put together after no small amount of research. The elder shepherd has digestive issues with meat products. His diet as a pup was quite a story. Both of the gsd's becpome veggies when they became adults (though I still call the younger one my pup).
They are big and hearty enough for me and my vet, anyway, so pardon me if I feel that as you don't know the dogs in question or the diet I feed them, you cannot exactly comment on their diet or on any nutritional inadequacies you might imagine they have.
Rachael
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Vets are not taught anything about diet in school. They go entirely by what dog food companies send them. The ONLY company I've seen put out honest information about canine dietary research is Purina, even if they don't always follow their own advice. I used to manufacture dog food for my own kennel, and my background is biochemistry; I've been through all the original university-based research (not just that skewed by manufacturers, or tinfoil-hat interests). Plus I have 35 years as a canine professional, feeding on average 30 to 40 dogs every day, of every age. I am indeed qualified to comment, whether you choose to believe it or not. However, I'll not go beyond this post, because I no longer give canine advice for free (I presently charge $75/incident), having wearied of wasting my breath with people who've had some success with 2 or 3 pet dogs and think that makes them an expert.

http://www.wafcol.co.uk/vegetarian.html
Dogs, being fairly flexible in what they can utilize, can scrape by on such a diet, and even look good so long as the dog is not stressed (tho if you have trouble keeping them out of the trash, it's due to protein and fat deprivation). But if it gets sick, it's going to be in a whole lot more trouble than a dog who has better reserves. And try feeding this diet to a bitch nursing pups -- she'll be skin and bones in a couple weeks, and look like death warmed over by weaning, no matter how much she eats. Whereas a bitch fed a good diet will actually gain weight while nursing.
BTW, the actual cost of ingredients and processing of any dog food is $3 to $4 per 50 pounds. Everything else is distributor markup.
And I don't recommend it for compost, because it molds and draws mice. :)
~REZ~ Longplain Kennels, Reg'd old-fashioned classic Labs since 1969 (eleven generations to date) http://www.longplain.com
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This gets asked repeatedly, and you'll get answers on both sides. I've been doing it for years, with no noticeable problems. However, this is small healthy urban dog fed only prepared foods.
Some obvious risk factors for having nasties in the dog poop:     - dog doesn't get regular health checks and shots, etc.     - dog eats uncooked meat     - dog catches and eats wild prey     - dog has a lot of contact with many other dogs
Be sure your compost is well-rotted before, and for extra safety don't apply directly on top of edible vegetables - better to dig into the ground.
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My grape vines seem to be enjoying it...... ;-)
K.
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Brigitte J. said:

If it's your own dog who licks you, sits on you, and basically 'shares' himself and whatever he may have inside him with you, and your compost is made in hot batches it would probably be OK. But it's not something anyone would encourage. (After all, I'm sure the dog has been wormed at intervals, right??)
Poop from strange dogs (or other carnivores) would definitely be RIGHT OUT!
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No. The easiest way to know which is o.k. is to remember that any animal that eats meat (carnivores) cannot be used in making compost. Herbivores like cows, horses, chickens, etc. are o.k.
Penny Zone 7b - North Carolina

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On Fri, 28 May 2004 13:32:16 -0500, "Brigitte J."

years this involved several large dogs and was in what we called the "compost heap" . not nearly as fancy as many believe composting to be. As far as I know nobody ever got sick because of it.
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snipped-for-privacy@centurytel.net writes:

And therein lies the key . . . use it only for non-food items in areas where no food plants will be planted.
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snipped-for-privacy@pmug.org (Glenna Rose) wrote:

Good point! <lol>
Cheers! K.
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snipped-for-privacy@someplace.net.net writes:

Not everyone who has a dog "shares" with the dog. There are still some of us who don't allow the dog on furniture, etc., and licking by the dog is confined to the hands or arms (of the human), which are frequently washed. (I've never licked my own hands after the dog has! Nor do I eat afterward without washing). Also, there is a huge difference between saliva (and what it may carry) and poop (and what it certainly carries!) . . . after all, most people would not object to a kiss from a young child but certainly don't want child poop distributed in the same way.
My point is that poop/feces has bacteria, etc., in it that is there because of the digestive process and what the animal has eaten . . . things that are definitely not in the same dog's "kisses." Yes, I know a dog licks itself, but that "material" is significantly changed immediately by the saliva in the dog's mouth. Saliva and poop are *not* the same!
It's not even an option to put this crap (literally) on the garden (even through composting which may or may not be hot enough at any particular time) because you are not the only person who might eat from that garden. A principal that I always use is to consider the youngest eater of the garden, which in this case is my granddaughters, and consider what even minute amounts of something might do to their tiny bodies which have less body mass to fight toxins/bacteria/bad guys as well as smaller and less effective immune systems. Something that has not been mentioned in all this discussion of human/predator manure is the extremely and tragically high childhood death rate in countries which do routinely use it (for lack of better). That is very definitely only one factor, but it is a factor. Certainly, we, living in this country or even signified by the fact we have computers (designating a different access to resources), are not required to use potentially dangerous/harmful elements for fertilizer for our very survival. While fertilizer is sold by many cities after processing waste through the sewage treatment plants, it is not the same as can be done by an individual. For 15 years, my husband worked on site at a plant during expansion construction . . . trust me, *no* common nasties can survive what they do to the sludge! And there is absolutely no way that we can begin to process feces as effectively, short of buying hospital grade sterilizing equipment . . . there is a reason they call it "cooking" and refer to a step in the process as "roast turkey." The discussions here about how to make it "safe" have bordered on amusing to those who have some familiarity of the entire process of using sewage waste for fertilizer . . . it isn't a simple matter of loading it and trucking it to your garden.
Okay, I have that "off my chest" for now. It's time to go pull weeds after our downpours of the last couple of days!
Glenna who knew there was a reason to put off preparing the new beds for the last of the purchased plants
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Glenna Rose wrote:

You're overreacting, bigtime. Do you allow children to play in the grass where maybe a dog has shit when you weren't looking? (BTW, the risk with dog waste is parasites much more than it is bacteria.)
And that sewage sludge you mentioned may contain toxin metals that are definately not cooked out.
Best regards, Bob <-- supposed to be out gardening, but it's raining again.
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LOL!! Speaking as a kennel owner who, like most kennel owners in the normal course of life with multiple dogs, has had just about every body part smeared with dog shit at one time or another (not to mention having occasionally had it spattered in my eyes and mouth) -- about all you really have to worry about is getting it into wounds that cannot be thoroughly washed (such as puncture wounds), because of the same types of bacteria that are present in ANY creature's shit, which when out of their own environment will overgrow due to the lack of checks and balances (other stuff that eats 'em in the gut).
And the same parasites that can infect dogs and people are naturally present in the soil most places, so better stop walking around outdoors, too :)
~REZ~
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snipped-for-privacy@pmug.org (Glenna Rose) wrote:

Sorry, no, that's a myth. If a dog licks its arse or eats its stool or something else's stool (which is a common thing in dogs, even tho most pet owners never see their beloved pet do it) the bacteria remain in the mouth as long as it takes for food, drink, and saliva to wash it away -- primarily by *mechanical action*. There is nothing magical about dog saliva.
[Stool consumption in dogs is another topic, but is regulated by diet, accessability, pecking order, and how many dogs are present.]
~REZ~ (35 years a canine professional)
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