Is Dog Poop Good Fertilizer For Vegetable Or Flower Garden?

Is dog poop good fertilizer for vegetable or flower garden

It’s planting time, and you are wondering “Is dog poop good fertilizer for vegetable or flower garden?” Well, if you need a straight answer, then you have come to the right place.

From a nutrient perspective, dog poop does contain some elements that can help plants grow. However, there are significant disadvantages and risks associated with using dog poop as fertilizer.

Is Dog Poop Good Fertilizer For Garden Plants?

There are specific reasons many gardeners don’t use dog poop to fertilize their plants, particularly food crops. And that might equally be the same reason you don’t use them on yours.

Unlike cow dung, dog poop contains a high amount of protein and nitrogen. So it can cause a plant to dry up by burning its root. Potassium content is also deficient in dog poop. Hence, it can encourage leafy herbaceous growth at the expense of fruit and flower growth.

Again, dog poop poses a serious health risk to humans because of Toxocara canis.

In this post, I will throw more light on the reasons dog poop might be bad for your flower garden, and probably ideal for your vegetable under a specific condition. Read on!

Reasons Dog Poop Might Not Be A Good Fertilizer Option

Reasons Dog Poop Might Not Be A Good Fertilizer Option

After tilling the ground and sowing your seed or stem, fertilizer application is the next critical thing you need to take seriously. Weeding is still very much relevant. And it goes hand-in-hand with fertilization.

Fertilizing a garden laden with weeds is a waste of time. You will only encourage the weed to grow taller and deprive your innocent plants of the necessary nutrient and sunlight for photosynthesis to take place.

But let’s forget about that and discuss dog poop. It’s critical you know about this so you won’t make any mistake.

So, without much ado, I will highlight the reasons dog poop might not be an ideal fertilizer, particularly when you are planning to apply it directly to your plants.

I mentioned some of these reasons at the beginning, but it won’t hurt to express my views. Anyway, as a gardener, I am sure you understand prevention is better than cure.

1. Nitrogen levels

Wondering why many plants can grow and survive on cow manure but not in dog poop? Well, one primary reason is because of the nitrogen content that dog poop has.

Dog poop is also very different from that of herbivores like cows. Anyway, they are carnivores and have different feeding habits to herbivores.

Dog poop has a high protein/nitrogen content that is frightening and can cause severe damage when applied directly to the plants directly.

Now, what is the danger of excess nitrogen?

The University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners Manual contains vital information regarding the effect of excess nitrogen on plants.

It states that too much nitrogen can make it difficult or impossible for plants to produce seeds and flowers as expected.

Again, it also states that excess nitrogen can damage the leaves and roots of plants. And you know, once these parts are severely damaged, it will almost be impossible for your dear plant to survive.

2. The health risk to humans

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying keeping a dog in your house is bad, neither was I saying that whenever your dog poops at home that you are in danger.

Of course, you have a way of managing your dog poop at home. But if you don’t, please try to figure out the best way to handle it.

Now here is why dog poop is risky to humans;

I have seen people argue that dog manure is useful to plants because it contains organic nutrients which they need. But if you value your health, don’t use it on crops, particularly food crops.

The thing is dog manure usually contains the parasitic pathogen, which can be very harmful to human health. And that’s not all. There is more you need to know.

Again, bear in mind that dog manure is not what it seems. It’s gross, but that there is more about it that should bother anyone.

The manure carries the eggs of Toxocara canis. And just so you know, that is the name of a large roundworm that is very popular.

However, the strange thing is that this roundworm does affect humans too. And studies also made me understand that about 90 percent of young puppies are carrying this worm, while at least 50 percent of adult dogs fall into this category as well.

But here is the surprising thing;

Most puppies are born with Toxocara canis – the large roundworm. And so, their poop is equally harmful to humans.

Here is how people get infected, and it happens quite a lot;

The eggs of the roundworm, not the worm itself, can find their way to a human host through various means.

It can be transferred to humans when food that has come in contact with the feces of a dog is touched. It can also find its way to an individual’s mouth through the fingers. Don’t be surprised. That’s how it happens.

So, you can see why gardeners are always discouraged from using dog feces in growing their crops, particularly a food crop.

Here is another shocking thing you need to know about Toxocara eggs.

When the eggs find their way into the soil, they still survive. Another surprising thing is that the eggs can remain in the soil for more than ten years, although this depends mainly on the environmental conditions of the soil.

The eggs of this roundworm can also remain viable for a very long time in the soil. So, when humans mistakenly pick it up, either through food or other means, then the worst may likely happen after a certain period.

What effects can hot composting have on the eggs of roundworms?

Well, the thing is the result hot compositing can have on the eggs of Toxocara still needs to be studied further. Currently, little is known about this issue.

And because of this, adding dog feces to your compost heaps, mainly when it’s intended to grow food crops is not a good idea.

What if my garden has a dog feces problem? How should you handle such cases?

The thing is I have seen people complain about this before. If you are residing in a neighborhood where dogs are almost twice as much as the human population, then you are bound to face such problems.

So, if dogs frequently litter your garden with feces, then what you need to do is to get rid of the wastes. Don’t let them decay there. Then, after that, use excellent hygiene practices so that you won’t end up being infected.

For that, wash your hands thoroughly. Also, do the same thing to your vegetables before consuming them. These are the best you can do to avoid contamination.

Dissecting the Composition of Dog Poop

Compared to other types of manure, dog poop is relatively acidic, which can hinder plant growth if used directly as a fertilizer.

Some components in dog poop:

  • Protein: Dog poop may seem rich in protein, but most of it is already broken-down and absorbed by your dog. What’s left in the droppings is not beneficial for the soil.
  • Nitrogen: While some sources mention that dog poop contains nitrogen, the level of nitrogen present in dog poop is too concentrated, leading to “burn spots” on your lawn or plants. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants, but excessive amounts can harm them.
  • Potassium: Dog poop also contains potassium, but not in substantial amounts. Better sources of potassium include compost, aged manure, or other organic fertilizers.
  • Phosphorus: Similar to potassium, dog waste has some phosphorus, but it’s not an ideal source compared to other alternatives.

Another crucial aspect to consider when using dog poop as a fertilizer is the potential presence of harmful bacteria and parasites. Dog feces can contain pathogens like E. coli, salmonella, and giardia, which can pose serious health risks to you and your plants.

As you see, using dog poop directly as a fertilizer in your garden might not be the best choice.

However, composting dog waste can help diminish potential risks and make it safe to use for your plants. Still, it’s wise to stick to other organic fertilizers to ensure the health of your garden.

Tips To Help You To Create Dog Poop Compost

Well, with all the scary things said about dog poop, is it still encouraging to make compost out of it?

Here is what you need to know.

Dog poop compost or manure is not good for food crops. In other words, do not use it to grow food crops like vegetables. Please don’t.

So, where should you use dog poop compost?

But you can use it for non-food crops or non-food gardens. These include flower gardens, shrubs, and non-fruit trees.

Here is how to make dog poop with ease. Follow the steps carefully.

Step#1 – Get your supplies ready

Get a plastic garbage can, one that has a removable lid. Well, the size of the garbage can depends on the amount of poop you want. So there is no standard size to get for this.

But have in mind that if you are thinking of harvesting the dog poop when the time comes, then a garbage can that you will be able to reach the bottom area is an ideal option.

Step#2 –Cut and drill your can

Well, for this, you already know the right tools to use (manual or electric drill, keyhole saw).

Cut open the bottom part of the can and drill holes on the sides. The holes will help water to go out of the garbage can and ensure proper drainage.

Step#3 – Bury the can

Now you have to dig a hole that is large enough for the garbage can. After digging the hole, put some blocks into the hole and put the garbage can as well. Only the top of the can should be visible.

Then, the next step is to place a large stone on top of the lid to keep others from opening it.

Step#4 – Introduce dog poop and septic starter

Now you have to add your dog poop to the buried garbage can. Then after that, add the septic tank starter as well. Give the septic starter at least 48 hours to start working.

Next, you can keep on adding dog poop daily till you are satisfied. But add the septic starter to each layer of poop you add to the garbage can.

So that’s it. That’s how to make dog poop compost.

Alternatives to Using Dog Poop as Fertilizer

You can consider alternative sources of organic matter that are safer and more suitable for your garden.

Cow Manure: Cow dung is a popular and widely available type of animal manure. It’s rich in organic nutrients and has a balanced composition that promotes soil fertility.

Simply incorporate it into your soil, and you’ll see noticeable benefits for your plants’ growth. But remember to use aged or composted cow manure, not fresh, as the latter can cause damage to the plants.

Leaves and Straw: Decomposing leaves and straw are great sources of organic matter for your garden. They can be easily collected and spread as mulch on vegetable and flower beds.

These materials help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and provide essential nutrients to the soil as they break down.

Sawdust and Wood Chips: When using sawdust or wood chips together with compost or other organic matter in your garden, you can increase water retention and improve the soil’s texture.

However, be cautious with this mixture around smaller plants, as it can create an environment with too much moisture that may harm them. Also, avoid using wood chips from chemically treated or painted wood.

Organic Matter Mix: For a well-rounded soil amendment, combine various organic materials like leaves, straw, aged animal manure, and wood chips to create a diverse and nutrient-rich blend.

This mixture will provide your garden with a range of organic nutrients and improve the soil structure for better plant growth.

By using these alternative sources of organic matter, you can provide your vegetable or flower garden with a safe and effective way to boost soil fertility without the risks associated with using dog poop as fertilizer.

Proper Disposal of Dog Poop if Not Used as Fertilizer

If you decide not to use dog poop as fertilizer for your garden, it’s essential to dispose of it properly, as improper disposal can be harmful to the environment. Here are some eco-friendly ways to dispose of your dog’s waste:

  • Throw it in the trash: Place the dog poop in a biodegradable bag and toss it in your regular trash bin. This is a convenient method, as most landfills are equipped to handle animal waste and prevent contamination of soil and water.
  • Bury it: Burying dog poop can be an environmentally friendly alternative if you have enough outdoor space. Dig a hole at least 12 inches deep, far from any vegetable or flower gardens, and place the waste inside. This will help break down the waste over time. However, it’s essential not to bury dog poop near water sources to avoid contamination.
  • Composting: Dog poop can be composted, but it requires special handling and care to ensure pathogens are destroyed. Never use dog waste compost in vegetable gardens or areas where edible plants are grown, as it can still contain harmful bacteria.

Remember to always pick up your dog’s poop as soon as possible to minimize any risks associated with leaving it on the ground.

By disposing of dog waste properly, you will protect the environment and keep your yard clean and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to use dog feces in a vegetable garden?

No, it is not safe to use dog feces in a vegetable garden. Dog poop contains pathogens that can harm you and your plants if it is used directly as a fertilizer.

It’s always better to stick to safer alternatives, such as compost from fruits and vegetables or animal waste from herbivorous animals like cows or horses.

Can dog waste be used as a fertilizer for flowers?

Dog waste can be used as a fertilizer for flowers if it’s added to a compost pile along with other materials such as straw, grass clippings, dried leaves, and vegetable waste.

Over time, the dog poop breaks down into nutrients that can be used for fertilizing flowers. However, make sure not to use fresh dog poop in your garden, as it may contain harmful pathogens.

Are there any benefits of using dog poop for grass?

Dog poop is rich in nitrogen and can provide some benefits to grass. However, the high protein content in dog feces might be too much for some grasses, leading to burned spots on the lawn.

It’s better to dispose of dog waste properly and use other types of fertilizers for your grass.

How can dog feces harm the soil?

Dog feces can introduce harmful pathogens such as bacteria, parasites, and viruses into the soil.

These pathogens can then be taken up by plants or transferred to humans and animals through contact, which can result in illness.

Additionally, excessive amounts of nitrogen from dog poop can cause an imbalance in the soil, negatively affecting plant growth.

Can you compost dog waste for gardening?

Yes, you can compost dog waste for gardening, but it needs to be done correctly to ensure that any harmful pathogens are broken down before using the compost in your garden.

To compost dog waste, combine it with other composting materials and ensure that the pile reaches a high enough temperature to kill off pathogens. It’s essential to practice proper hygiene when handling dog waste and compost.

Which animal waste is suitable for fertilizing gardens?

Animal waste from herbivorous animals, such as cows, horses, and chickens, is suitable for fertilizing gardens.

Unlike dog poop, these types of animal waste are rich in nutrients that plants need and generally do not contain harmful pathogens.

To use animal waste for fertilizing, add it to your compost pile or purchase commercially available composted manure.

Final Verdict

So back to the question, is dog poop good fertilizer for vegetable or flower garden?

Well, as I said earlier, you should only use dog poop for non-food gardens or non-food crops. These include shrubs, non-fruit trees, and your flower garden.

And, when dealing with dog poop, you have to be extremely careful. Maintain proper hygiene by washing your hands to avoid being infected.


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