Growing Vegetables Where Pets Have Pooped or Peed

Knowing that your soil is safe for growing food is important. This guide is about growing vegetables where pets have pooped or peed.
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August 1, 2005 Flag

Question:

I know that cat urine can burn up a lot of plants. I have a problem with dog dung in my vegetable garden. Does anyone know if this will hurt the plants?

BJ, KY

Answer:

BJ,

Although dog and cat manure both contain organic nutrients useful to plants, neither is safe to use in soil containing food crops. Both contain parasitic pathogens that are harmful to human health.

Dog manure can contain the eggs of Toxocara canis (the common large roundworm), which can also infect humans. It's estimated that 90% of young puppies are infected with this worm-many are born infected-and up to 50% of all adult dogs.

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The eggs can be transferred to the human mouth by a person's fingers or from foods that have been in contact with dog feces.

Toxocara eggs can remain viable in the soil for up to 10 years depending on environmental conditions. Because no information is known on the effects hot composting has on Toxocara eggs, it also unsafe to add dog manure to compost heaps intended for food crops.

If you have a dog feces problem in your garden, remove the feces and take care to use good hygiene practices (thoroughly washing hands and vegetables) to avoid possible contamination.

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July 7, 2007 Flag

I have 2 female dogs. They urinate on cement in my yard, when I hose it down the water from this goes into my vegetable garden. Can this be harmful to humans to eat these vegetables? I am concerned about this. Can someone please help?

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Hardiness Zone: 5a

Diane from Chicago, IL

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July 8, 20071 found this helpful
Best Answer

Since it seeps into the ground, I don't believe there is potential harm for humans - but it can/will kill grass and plants (especially from female dogs).

Try to get the dogs to go somewhere else. You can also dig a small "moat" around your garden to block the urine - or line the edge with rocks to block it.

In the meantime, you will need to neutralize the soil. An old trick my father taught me - place a few tablespoons of baking soda in a watering can - water thoroughly. This will counteract the acid in the urine.

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July 8, 20070 found this helpful

Don't know if it will harm you to eat the veggies, but you probably won't get any if you don't neutralize the acid from the urine (especially from female dogs.)

I would put a barrier between the garden and the dog urine - possibly dig a small "moat" and fill with rocks to stop the urine - or build a barrier with bricks of garden stones.

Also, you will need to neutralize the acid fairly quickly or your vegetables will not survive - my father's trick was to use a few tablespoons of baking soda in a watering can and water the area.

Good luck!

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July 12, 20070 found this helpful

I read somewhere dog feces in veg garden will seep in and cause bacteria that is not good for humanes.

I would find out BEFORE I ate anything. Good luck

and hope you find out.

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September 14, 20080 found this helpful

My dog urinates on my basil and cilantro which i've been eating for 3 months. I just learned today that he was doing that. Because he is a boy and a 150 lbs. Neo mastiff it gets the whole plant from top to bottom. I decided to close up the garden and he'll just have a smaller yard. I'm sorry baby boy but mommy needs her veggies.

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March 22, 2010 Flag

My new puppy has pooped several times in the vegetable garden since last fall. When he was young he had a type of worm. Can I plant my vegetables there this spring or do I need to change all the soil?

Hardiness Zone: 7a

By Tracy from Kinnelon, NJ

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March 26, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

I can't imagine it could be a problem, I mean, no one can control where animals poop. I would pick it up whenever you can, but I wouldn't worry about it.

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March 23, 20100 found this helpful

If you cover it up with composted manure about 6 inches or more or dig a hole & bury it, then keep the dog out of the garden. It should be o k, good luck.

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October 4, 2013 Flag

If dog manure has been buried in a garden used only for trees and non food plants and several months ago the practice stopped after reading posts on the dangers of burying dog and pet feces, how long will the buried "poop" be considered toxic?

We have removed 12-18 inches of the soil and replaced with new fresh top soil. Will time and decomposition of the feces along with 12-18 inches of top soil make the ground safe for tomatoes and peppers in a year or so?

By Jerry D

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October 7, 20130 found this helpful

There are different answers for this issue.

In one place I went to visit there were black raspberries around a post loaded with berries. People that live there stated the berries would not come on. They cleaned up after there dogs, they lifted the soil and put there dog droppings there. The doggie "do do" actually made the bushes load up with berries.

I questioned weather or not the berries would be eatable. Some say yes, others would not eat them. But consider this. Manure from other animals are used for gardens. And human sewage is also used for garden fertilizer.

Consider hatching this question out with your local veterinarian, your medical DR and your local cooperative extension.

Did you know that there is garden fertilizer made with human sewage processed, and then sold in garden and building supply stores.

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July 21, 2010 Flag

Is it safe to eat from plants such as tomatoes or strawberries where cats have pooped and peed?

By Gabe

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July 21, 20100 found this helpful

I'm not sure if it's technically safe, but I wouldn't try it.

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July 23, 20100 found this helpful

I grow mine in containers to avoid this situation. Ick.

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January 16, 2014 Flag

I was away from home for about two weeks, when I came back the other day I found my neighbour's dogs in my garden (4 Rottweilers). It appears that they had been there a while. My veggie plot is covered in their poo

Is there any way I can treat the soil or clear up any pathogens or parasites that may have been left in the soil? How long will I have to leave it before I can use my plots again?

By Becky W.

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October 11, 2013 Flag

We had an unexpected growth of a pumpkin patch in our flower garden. It yielded 6 beautiful pumpkins! However, this is an area that my cat and possibly others use as a litter box. I feel it is not a good idea to eat the meat or seeds from these pumpkins. What say you?

By Shannon S.

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