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Is Dog Poop Bad For a Vegetable Garden?

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.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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By (Guest Post)02/14/2009

We have berry trees planted as wind rows. The rabbits in the winter eat the bark. This stressed the trees. We put dog poop around perimeter of wind rows. Find that this deters the rabbits.

By Cullen Chadwick (Guest Post)07/21/2008

I've heard here that parasites and "too much nitrogen" are the problem with using dog poop as fertilizer. I live in Tucson, AZ and dog poop does not decompose here. It stays a hard, dry piece of poop forever where it stands until a monsoon puts it in a wash or dry river. Here I suppose it gets buried and decomposed, but my point is that I regularly see old pieces of dog poop, in my backyard and while taking walks in Tucson's many beautiful parks. They have been baking in the 110+ degree sun for weeks. Surely the parasites are killed by then?

Once I collect my dog's dry, cooked stool, can I then alter the acidity and "nitrogen content" to make the end product useful and safe for my vegetable garden?

By lydia (Guest Post)06/05/2008

What if you plant where dogs had been pooping a few months earlier, but do not add any poop after?

By Derek. (Guest Post)06/25/2007

Does watering plants/ie.the poop down (if already on or near plants) really help. I had a rainbucket (5 gallon) bucket of water I used on plants- forgetting that about a month previous I used it to cart dog poop out of my dog's pen. There was one 'turd' still in the bottom of the bucket, which I only noticed after watering all my tomato, and lettuce plants that I had worked so hard to grow from seed.

By sandy (Guest Post)08/03/2005

if they are pooping in your garden they are also peeing. pee isnt good.

By Lynne [2]08/02/2005

Animal poop needs to be composted before being put in the garden.

Also, poop from dogs, cats, humans, and other meat eaters can host parasites that can be harmful to humans, and should not be used on or near plants that will be eaten raw. Just as an interesting side note, Asian cultures often use "nightsoil" (aka, human poop) as fertilizer for their crops. That is why all foods are cooked, or at least washed thoroughly and then peeled. Things like raw lettuce salads are unheard of.

But as Susan from Thrifty Fun says, it should be fine to use around ornamentals, as long as it's out of the way of any kids who might like to dig in the dirt.

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]08/02/2005

Hi,
I have a special compost pile for the dog poop. I keep it separate from my other compost pile and mix in leaves and grass clippings to cover the smell. When it is composted I can use it on ornamental plants. I never use it on my vegetable garden but it's fine for trees and shrubs once composted.
Susan from ThriftyFun

By suzq (Guest Post)08/02/2005

I dig holes between rows in my garden...bury the dog poop...next year it will be like fertilizer....

By Yes, it does not do good things for your garden (Guest Post)08/01/2005

dog poo kills trees, kills plants. Yes, it's bad for the garden. It's like a nitrogen overdose for the plants. If you can't keep the dogs from the garden try to give the plants extra water to try to water down the stuff.

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