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.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
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?
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.
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
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.
My backyard has, through no effort on my part, yielded a giant tomato plant. There are tons of healthy tomatoes. However, my dogs go to the bathroom out there (probably why it grew).If I wash thoroughly, are the tomatoes safe to eat?
Okay there should be no problem eating the tomatoes that were grown in your backyard. Even though your dog uses your backyard as a toilet he is naturally fertilizing your plants.
They will be fine. Wash carefully
Personally, I would not, because dog poop has too many parasites in it, many of which can be transmitted to people. Either via contact or growing into the veggies. Ick.
There are ways to "purify" the poop, but it is a huge process. Poop on the outside is gross enough, but, as thrifty and green as I am, the chance of it growing into the vegetables is enough that I would not use them. There are many articles about the danger, this is one of them:
I personally don't think this would be an issue if your dog is not pooping right next to the plant. You will need to be the one who decides how far away the dog poop should be. I have an organic garden and in the garden, there are chicken, some cats, dogs, and other animals that roam free.
There is a forum here with some feedback.
I think this is a personal choice :) To me, you know how your crops are grown versus getting crops elsewhere you may not know their process.
Boy what a controversial subject!
It seems there are just as many that say no - do not eat it as there are that say - just wash it and eat it.
We lost our dog a year ago and have taken down her dog pen and worked up the soil to plant a vegetable garden. Now that I have it planted I was made aware of round worms eggs that could possibly still be in the soil.Am I OK or should I not continue in this spot? It's been a year since any dog poo and there is none visible.
I would add a lot of compost to the area. I think a year is enough time for any dog feces to decompose.
You have my condolences on the loss of your pet. So sad. May her memory always be a blessing.
This is a tough one and I have argued with friends over this several times. Good matured, but still.
I will not plant anything that I will be eating in places where dogs or cats pooped. This is just me. I also don't use any animal manure or fertilizers. Dog and cat are very high in acid and parasites live for a long time. The rest is just icky and smells terrible.
I have friends who say it is OK to use any kind of poop for fertilizer.
This is just one of the many articles I share with them when we argue:
I don't know how long it takes for the poop effects to totally go away. I personally would wait a few years and would keep turning the soil over to let it bake in the sun so it kills all the bad stuff.
I am very over cautious so take it for what it is worth, which is just my opinion.
Is it safe to eat from plants such as tomatoes or strawberries where cats have pooped and peed?
I'm not sure if it's technically safe, but I wouldn't try it.
I grow mine in containers to avoid this situation. Ick.
I put my herbs in a old cast iron bath tub and a stray cat has pooped in it 2 times Grrr hoping it is safe to eat. Any ideas
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.
We have a small dog that pees in the back yard - sometimes where I grow my tomatoes. I add a bag of dirt mixed with the old dirt and some Miracle Gro; plant and wait for the tomatoes. I've been planting three plants in alternating spots for over 15 years and never had a bad crop. We have so many delicious tomatoes I can't eat them all and end up giving them away; about 20 per plant. They grow through the tomato cages all across the sidewalk. So I guess pee from small dogs doesn't need neutralizing.
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
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.
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.