Is Dog Poop a Good Fertilizer?
Picking up dog poop is a pain. If you’re aware that cow and horse manure is a common ingredient in fertilizer, you may wonder if you can just leave your dog’s poop on the lawn and let it fertilize your plants for you. Unfortunately, the truth is that dog poop is not a good fertilizer.
There are several reasons why using dog poop as a fertilizer is not a good idea. It should be noted that you can turn it into compost if you want to, but healthy compost with dog poop requires a long time for decomposition and high temperatures (at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit) to kill pathogens. Just leaving dog poop to fertilize simply won’t work.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Dog Poop as Fertilizer
There are several issues with dog poop that make it unsuitable as a fertilizer. These are the main reasons you want to avoid leaving dog poop out to fertilize your yard.
- Dog Poop is High in Pathogens and Parasites
- Dog Poop is Acidic
- Dog Poop Takes Time to Decompose
- Dog Poop is Illegal
Ultimately, the reasons come down to this: leaving dog poop in your yard is unhealthy for your grass, your dog, and your family. Plus, it’s just unpleasant—no one likes to walk through a yard full of poop.
Let’s take a closer look at why using dog poop as a fertilizer is a bad idea.
1) Dog Poop is High in Pathogens and Parasites
Dog poop has been pretty extensively tested and has been found to be high in pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus and enterococci, as well as parasites such as giardia and worms, to name just a few. These pathogens can cause infections and many are resistant to antibacterial treatments. Parasites like worms easily spread to other animals or children playing in your yard.
If you pick up dog poop regularly, you don’t need to worry about pathogens. However, leaving it out for long periods of time can allow more pathogens to grow and spread to your dog, other animals, or even children. Plus, it’s not a great idea to use dog poop as fertilizer for any plants you’ll eat.
2) Dog Poop is Acidic
If you’re feeding your dog well, they’re probably getting lots of protein. When your dog’s body breaks down protein, the waste it leaves behind is acidic and high in nitrogen. While small amounts of nitrogen are good for grass and plants, the high amounts in dog poop are not as beneficial.
Because of the acidic nature of dog poop (and dog pee, for that matter), it can kill your grass if it sits there too long. Over time, the acidic poop will burn and kill your grass, leaving you with large brown spots where the poop was left to decompose.
Some people think that dog poop is helping their yard because, initially, their grass seems to be growing longer and greener. This is actually because when your dog first poops, the poop releases only a small amount of nitrogen. This amount is just about right for helping your grass grow.
However, the longer you leave the poop, the yellower your grass will become until it eventually dies completely. You’ll have to reseed if you want to grow grass in that area of your lawn again.
3) Dog Poop Takes Time to Decompose
Do you want to wait around for a year to see dog poop gradually decompose and kill off your grass? Most people wouldn’t. Dog poop takes a long time to decompose, and the entire time it’s decomposing, it’s letting off more nitrogen and allowing the opportunity for more pathogens or parasites to make it a home.
Leaving dog poop out would never be a good idea, even if it could fertilize your grass. The longer it stays out, the more chance there is of it causing illness in you, your family, or your dog. Some dogs even eat poop if it’s left out for long, which could cause health problems of its own.
It’s important that you pick dog poop up as soon as possible to keep it from ruining your lawn and sickening your pets and family members.
4) Dog Poop Is Illegal
Most governments are not going to come into your yard and force you to pick up dog poop. However, many cities do have laws enforcing dog poop cleanup. Pet owners are required to pick up after their dogs in public areas or they may face a serious fine.
In the Treasure Valley, the laws in each city vary, but most require owners to pick up dog poop and maintain a clean property or face a fine. If you want to ensure that you maintain compliance with the law and provide a clean environment for children, pets, and guests, you must pick up dog poop rather than leave it to fertilize your lawn.
How To Get Rid of Dog Poop
By now you’re aware that dog poop is not a good fertilizer. It is possible to use it in a compost pile (we don’t recommend using it for a garden in which you’re growing human food), but to do that you need to pick it up quickly and ensure it gets hot enough to kill off those pathogens.
The best way to get rid of dog poop is simply by picking it up and disposing of it. However, there’s no question that picking up dog poop is not a fun job. That’s where our team at Idaho Poop Scoop comes in.
We understand how annoying it is to have to pick up after your dog so often. We get that it’s disgusting and time-consuming and really just not enjoyable. Our team is made up of dog-lovers who really care about keeping dogs (and their owners) safe.
If you would like someone to help you clean up dog poop and keep your yard, your dog, and your family healthier in the process, don’t hesitate to check out our services. We would be happy to scoop poop so that you don’t have to.