The Poo Prejudice

OK. I have three dogs. And something happens when you feed them. Some hours after you feed a dog, they do this thing…they poo. And poo builds up in the yard.

Over the years I have been told, “don’t put dog poo into the compost because it carries disease”. I sort of just took that advice, and well, since I find dog poo repulsive I just went along with the advice. 

I have been revisiting some old composting books lately and have been revisiting in my mind the idea of turning this copious waste into something better. I mean, I know dog poo will never be as good as chicken poo–which by the way, I have been composting with lately with great success; I probably am making the best compost I have ever made. But is dog poo really THAT bad?

Dog poo does have disease. But wait a minute: ALL POO IS RIDDLED WITH DISEASE. This is why you compost it. Your compost pile, if done correctly, kept aerobic, etc, performs the job of raising microorganisms good for plants. Pathogens don’t like the conditions made by your compost pile. They die. Even if your pile does not heat up to 140 degrees like a really good compost pile should, it still slowly converts the conditions such that favors soil organisms good for plants.

I wouldn’t depend on dog poo solely as your manure source. Dogs are omnivores and it is preferable to have vegetarian animal poo. But as long as you are composting correctly, your dog can be doing some contributing to the soil.

If it really grosses you out, never mind my suggestion. But do realize it is a prejudice. In many countries not only dog poo, but human poo is looked on as gold. When Japan was much more of an isolated country in the 1800s solely sufficient, growing all their own food, westerners were amazed that such a small land mass provided so well for so many people without the soil being ruined like in Europe and the U.S. The reasons are many but one of those reasons was how manure of all sorts were put to use, including human. 

If you are indeed concerned about disease, but want to make something useful of dog waste, compost it separately for your ornamental plants that you don’t eat. And do a good job at composting. Make sure you have enough woody product, green waste, etc. to match up to the manure. But honestly, poop is poop. It’s all gross until you convert it into good stuff for your soil. I know many of my readers know this but I am going to say it: we are obsessed with cleanliness in this country to a degree that hurts us. The USDA, FDA ensure that we will never have decent cheese or butter like in Europe because of the phobias about disease. The same is true about tofu and tempeh. This is because it is the microbiology we fear that makes these types of food so good.

Is our food supply any safer than Europe’s as a result of this madness? I don’t think so.

So anyway, if you can be brave, put those dog turds to use. Also, dog hair is awesome for the compost too. Just sayin’.

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2 thoughts on “The Poo Prejudice

  1. Pingback: 4 Tucson Facebook pages: the food edition - Social Citizen

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