Dog feces in compost

Asked July 6, 2016, 12:11 AM EDT

I read to not use dog feces in compost piles since they are carnivorous (the dogs, not the piles haha).
What if my pet only eats dry food (pellets) that may contain meat or poultry, is this still a no-no and for what reasons?

Forsyth County North Carolina

4 Responses

It is recommended that dog and cat feces not be used in a composting system because of the possibility of disease. You could possibly use the manure around strictly ornamental plants - (non food)shrubs and trees etc.

Thanks Derek for your quick response. I'm still wondering...what is the difference between a bovin and a pet dog when both are followed on regular basis by a veterinarian? Would a dog be able to host some hidden disease but not be affected by it as opposed to bovins that couldn't? Would there be a problem with maybe some kinds of worms?
Is all that scientifically proven or is it just what so and so believe, including the USDA?

There are so many things that are thought to be true while being deadly false and are just myth or misinformation (I.e. Epson salt killing weeds) that I am simply wondering.

Thanks in advance.

Hi Patrick,

It is standard practice to recommend caution in handling any type of animal manure due to the potential of pathogen transmission.

As I'm sure you know, the digestive systems of bovines and canines are quite different. Relatively speaking, the stomach of a dog is pretty short and thus pathogens have a greater potential to pass through. Bovines are herbivores, which addresses part of the potential pathogen issue, but they also have additional parts to their digestive system that further processes what they eat.

Dog feces contains coliform bacteria, and often parasites. Even if your dog seems healthy and gets tested regularly at the vet, he/she may still ingest other animal feces (as some dogs like to do) that contains parasites.

The recommendation not to compost pet manure is "better safe than sorry". It can be done successfully, but most recommendations are made to the general population, many of whom are not inclined to pay close attention to the process to ensure that it is composted correctly.

You might be interested in this NRCS study on dog manure composting:

Thank you Cindy for your very informative response. The link you provided was very interesting too and only confirmed your opinion..."better safe than sorry". I am sure your post will be of great use by many.
As always, you guys are the best. Thanks again.