Growing Vegetables Where Pets Have Pooped or Peed

August 1, 2005
White dog sitting in the backyard.


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?




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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9 Questions

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July 7, 2007

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


By Pat (Guest Post)
July 8, 20072 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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March 22, 2010

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


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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July 25, 2018

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?


July 25, 20180 found this helpful

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.


This is really healthy for your plants and any food grown on the plant or harmful chemicals. Just pick your tomatoes wash them in water and enjoy.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
July 25, 20180 found this helpful

They will be fine. Wash carefully

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July 25, 20180 found this helpful

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:

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
July 25, 20180 found this helpful

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.


From time to time we find poop in and around our plants. I've never had any issue eating this food and there is nothing wrong with it at all.

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Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,298 Posts
July 25, 20180 found this helpful

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.

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
July 31, 20180 found this helpful

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.


  • Here is only one comment that actually made a little sense. This is a quote:
  • "I once researched the subject and it seems that people in Alaska where they sometimes get severe situations with dog feces researched it experimentally - tried to compost it and than tested for pathogens. The results were that if dog poop is composted in a nice hot pile with lots of green matter it makes absolutely safe fertilizer."
  • You might want to contact your local extension office and post the question to them. It would be interesting to know what advice they give..
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May 13, 2019

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.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
May 13, 20190 found this helpful

I would add a lot of compost to the area. I think a year is enough time for any dog feces to decompose.

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May 13, 20190 found this helpful

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.

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July 21, 2010

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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May 29, 20170 found this helpful

Me too

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June 8, 20180 found this helpful

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

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January 16, 2014

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.


April 23, 20170 found this helpful

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.

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October 4, 2013

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


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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October 11, 2013

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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