Is dog faeces biodegradable? (5 points to consider)

The article will explain if dog faeces is biodegradable or not. Other covered aspects would include:

  • What are the disposal options?
  • What is the best way to deal with it?
  • What are the dos and don’ts of dealing with dog faeces?

Is dog faeces biodegradable?

Dog faeces is biodegradable because it is natural and has organic content in them which makes the microbes able to degrade and break down the dog faeces. 

In order to determine if something is biodegradable or not, it is important to know what that particular material is made up of. If the material is made from natural and organic material, it will degrade and if the material is made from non-natural material, it will not degrade by the action of microbes. 

Dog faeces usually contain nitrogen and phosphorus. It may also contain microbes such as Salmonella, E.coli et cetera. Most of these microbes can be hazardous and toxic to humans and other forms of life. 

What are safe disposal options for dog faeces?

Trash bags

You may throw dog faeces in trash bags. When it comes to that, there are several options that are available such as:

  • Non-biodegradable bags 
  • Biodegradable bags
  • Recycled bags

These are some of the options that you can opt for. The best option is biodegradable bags because these bags are made from natural and biodegradable materials. Therefore, once you throw the dog faeces in these bags, not only the dog faeces will degrade, but the bags that contain the faeces will also degrade. 

The next best candidate is recycled bags. These bags are made from recycled material (either biodegradable or nonbiodegradable). When these bags are used, the environmental faeces problem is alleviated to the best of its capacity. 

However, as discussed, this is not the ideal way to dispose of dog faeces because:

  • There will be pressure on the faeces management systems
  • There will be a use of resources be it biodegradable or non-biodegradable bags 
  • The dog faeces will not be utilised to the maximum capacity as it will be in the case of composting 

Water bodies

It is not advisable to throw dog faeces (untreated and uncovered) in water bodies because of many reasons. 

For instance, dog faeces contain harmful microbes that can put life in water at risk of contamination and health issues. This also deviates from the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030. 

Another issue that is associated with the disposal of dog faeces in water bodies is that the nitrogen and phosphorus present in dog faeces can alter the chemistry and biology of water bodies leading to problems such as BOD, COD, or eutrophication. 

Another indirect downside of throwing dog faeces in water bodies is that when that is done, there is no benefit given to the environment which could have been the case if it were for composting. 

Home garden

People usually think that since dog faeces is compostable and biodegradable, it is okay if they throw dog faeces in their garden soil. While this may be possible, it is not advisable at all. 

This is because of many basic reasons. For example, dog faeces have a strong odour which can cause problems for people living nearby. 

Also, dog faeces contain several microbes that can cause harm and threat to life nearby. Also, the microbes, if left open and unseen, can cause contamination to people living nearby. The risk of groundwater contamination can also not be ignored. 

Therefore, while it may seem possible, it is not advisable to throw dog faeces in your garden. The best thing to do is to compost it as has been discussed in the previous sections. 

Composting 

When dog faeces is composted, not only will it benefit the environment as you will not need plastic bags or biodegradable bags; but also there will be various benefits of the composting process. 

The compost can be used as a natural fertiliser which can improve the soil quality and also offer other benefits such as increased yield and better water retention profiles. This can offer advantages such as water conservation and better utilisation of resources. 

Many people argue that dog faeces can not be composted because of the presence of harmful and toxic microbes in the dog faeces. However, this is not true. One type of composting is called hot composting where the temperature is kept as such to remove all the harmful microbes that may put lives at risk. 

Another reservation people have is that the dog faeces, if composted, will lead to a bad odour and will irritate the people around. However, this is also opposed by the experts because as per the composting experts, when dog faeces is composted, there is no bad smell as it is naturally perceived.

What is the best way to deal with dog faces?

As per the experts, the best way to deal with dog faeces is to compost them. This offers many advantages such as:

  • There is no utilisation of resources (only negligible) 
  • The compost can substitute chemical fertiliser
  • The compost can improve soil quality and improve the yield 
  • There is no need for trash cans or intricate disposal practices

Here is how to do it:

  • Select a suitable place for composting. It is preferable to go for a compost bin 
  • The place should be accessible but it should also be a bit distant from your home 
  • Make sure that the area is in dry and sunny conditions
  • Make alternate layers of dog faeces (nitrogen-rich) with other carbon-rich layers (such as sawdust). 
  • Properly mix and add moisture to the heap 
  • Mix after every 4-5 days
  • The key is to turn the pile when the temperature starts to decline 
  • Once the compost is ready, utilise it well. The compost should be ready in about 7 weeks if the temperature conditions are kept optimum 

What are the dos and don’ts of dealing with dog faces? (5 points) 

Let us revisit the article by going through some of the precautions and dos while dealing with dog faeces:

  • One of the best ways to dispose of dog faces is by composting it 
  • You may dispose of dog faces in trash bags. For this, prefer biodegradable and compostable bags 
  • You should not throw dog faces openly in the garden
  • You should not throw dog faces in nearby lakes or streams
  • You should not flush dog faeces as the wastewater treatment plants might not be able to treat water with dog faeces 

Conclusion

It is concluded that dog faeces is biodegradable as it contains natural and organic materials such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and other microbes. 

The article discussed the best way to dispose of dog faeces that were composting while also shedding light on other alternatives such as disposal in bags, or throwing in water bodies et cetera. 

The article also expressed some practical tips and procedures to compost dog faeces at home so that the compost may be offered for a number of environmental benefits. 

References

  • Pettable. How to Dispose of Dog Poop the “Green” Way. Retrieved from: https://pettable.com/blog/how-to-dispose-of-dog-poop-the-green-way
  • Dróżdż, D., Malińska, K., Postawa, P., Stachowiak, T., & Nowak, D. (2022). End-of-Life Management of Biodegradable Plastic Dog Poop Bags through Composting of Green Waste. Materials, 15(8), 2869.
  • Faulkner, N., & Peterson, J. M. (2018). Biodegradability and You. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
  • Cara. Is Dog Poop Compostable? Retrieved from: https://doggydogood.com/blogs/dog-blog/is-dog-poop-compostable

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