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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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?

Hardiness Zone: 5a

Diane from Chicago, IL

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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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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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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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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.

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

By Gabe

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

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Home and Garden Gardening SoilSeptember 18, 2013
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