Health Effects of Dog Feces in Garden

Asked February 12, 2019, 11:50 AM EST

I'm very concerned about the health hazards of eating food grown in the beds where a dog has pooped. At this point, I could build a fence around the whole garden to stop any further damage, but I'm wondering about the existing and persistent harm of bacteria or worms that may now be in the soil. My housemate's dog did her duty in multiple beds throughout the winter of last year. I went ahead and trusted the soil would be okay after the feces was picked up. This year, however, I've been disturbed to read about the dangers of dog feces. Also, the dog has been doing its duty more regularly in the beds. This year, the dog started in the Fall, going in vacant garden beds and beds of newly planted seeds and starts (which I didn't eat because of it). Now in the winter, the dog is pooping regularly in empty beds and where we have food plants...atop the strawberries and the beets, beside the stunted kale plants. If we clean up all the feces now, will the soil be safe in March to begin planting food plants in it? And will the strawberry patch ever be safe to eat from if a few plants have had feces on them? If you can point me to a study, that would be helpful for me to be certain about the situation. I know the longterm solution is building a fence or training the dog. Thank you.

Lane County Oregon

2 Responses

After reading 5 articles, there was no article with a university backing.
It is critical to keep dogs and cats from pooping on the garden area. User a fence, smelly soap or some way to distract animals. Key - keep poop out of garden.

Dogs and cats have parasitic pathogens and roundworms which can transfer to humans.

Remove all of the manure.
Keep manure out of the garden area.
Plant cover crops - blue grass, or fava or red clover. Fallow or growing nothing is the best solution.
Plant plants that have a big root system and are large plants, such as tomatoes, green beans, pole beans, peas, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers.

Let the rain clean the soil, add lime at 80 pounds per 1000 sq feet.

After one year, then you can plant rooted veggies.

Unfortunately we don't have exact information.


Linked below is a helpful resource, "Practical Food Safety in the Garden" from Sarah Runkel of OSU Extension. There is a recorded webinar and list of further reading.