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How to Make Your Own Dog Waste Composter!


The Safest, Healthiest and Most Environmentally Friendly Way to Dispose of the Doo!

We recently moved to a cabin in the Mountains of NE Georgia and have a lot of land and a septic system, so dealing with the doo has become a big concern for us. We sure don't want to take our doo to the dump once a week and we sure don't want to fill up the landfill either!

While living in the city, we flushed our doo because it was the most environmentally friendly when living in the city with a city septic and waste treatment system. But now that we are in the country and have a septic system, we don't want to fill our septic tank with dog poop!

So we've decided to create our own dog waste composting system on the back side of our property. We've done our research and wanted to share all the info we learned with you!

Sit back and paw around a bit, bet you'll find this very interesting!

Photo courtesy of E. Carlson (1998). The photo is actually the Quetzlcoatl sculpture by Robert Graham located in San Jose, CA. (Some individuals say it looks like a pile of dog poop :).


Why Reused Plastic and Biodegradable Bags Aren't the Answer to Reducing Landfill Waste.

Contrary to popular belief, biodegradable and reused plastic bags utilized to pick up and dispose of your dog's waste adds tons per year to landfills throughout the country.

The bags are collected along with other trash, dumped in the landfill, then more trash is dumped on top. These materials need to have access to all the elements; sun, wind and rain in order to biodegrade and breakdown; and they don't receive exposure to those elements in the landfill.

So the two best and most environmentally friendly ways of disposing of your dog's waste are:

  • If you live in the city with a city water sewage and treatment system, flush the dog poop.
  • If you live in the country utilize a dog waste composter. If you are in the far northern states, dig and bury the composting system as deep as possible; past the frost line in your particular area. If you are in the south, bury your composting system at least 36 inches deep. Just be aware that decomposing will not be as efficient (or even non-existent) in the Winter months than in the Spring, Summer and Fall months.
  • When you travel, utilize those biodegradable dog waste bags, and dispose of them properly. It's at least more effective than non-biodegradable.

How to Make Your Own Dog Composting System!

Here are the instructions to make your own dog waste composting system.

  1. Locate a nice sunny open spot in the yard away from trees to keep the root system out.
  2. Find an old used trash can (holes and beat up are ok), and cut out the bottom of the trash can. Also drill holes in the side of the trash can 2/3 the way up the can.
  3. Dig a hole the circumference and depth of the trash can without the lid.
  4. Put the lid on the trash can for stability and then put the trash can down in the hole and backfill with dirt around the sides.
  5. Add about two inches of gravel (or broken rocks/bricks) into the bottom of the trash can hole.
  6. Just add poo, some dead leaves/grass clippings; and on occasion add some enzymes to help it break down more quickly.

Important things to keep in mind:

  • These types of composters don't work well in northern states because of the higher frost line, they also don't work very well when the weather is below 40 degrees.
  • Select a location away from your water well, or water supply; as well as free from potential tree rooting.
  • An optional system is to add a five inch diameter pvc pipe to the lid, then bury the entire trash can and lid so that only the pvc pipe is exposed. Then add the waste and the enzymes through the opening.

A Great Instruction Video for Making Your Own Dog Waste Composting System!

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Don't Have Time to Make a Composting System? Try the Doggie Dooley and Enzymes!

© 2011 Johann The Dog

Bark at me!

CrueltyFreeButy on October 29, 2012:

What a great article. I have often thought about doing this but the bought versions are out of my budget. Thank you I will get this in place soon!

Ann Hinds from So Cal on December 31, 2011:

This is a very good idea that we will need to adopt. Right now, it goes in the trash. We also have a septic tank so flushing it is not a good idea. Thanks and congrats on making the top 100.

Auntiekatkat on December 31, 2011:

Congrats on being nominated for Community Favorite Lenses of 2011. A wonderful lens. Fortunately we both share one thing it was easier to vote than for most as mine was my "why-I-am a- vegetarian was nominated as well. A proud moment for all of us.

JoyfulReviewer on December 30, 2011:

Congratulations on being one of the final 100 favorite Squidoo lenses of 2011!

Erin Hardison from Memphis, TN on December 30, 2011:

What an excellent idea! I'd never heard of dog poop composting before!

Mickie Gee on December 30, 2011:

Before my basset hound disappeared, we threw away his poo with the garbage. I know that is not the best method, but at least we did not put it in plastic grocery bags most of the time. We never allowed him to poop in other neighbors' yards. If he did, we never left it there.

Thanks for sharing this valuable information. Glad I saw it on the 2011 Community Favorites!

KimGiancaterino on December 30, 2011:

Congrats on making the Top 100 List. Happy new year!

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on December 30, 2011:

Top lens, excellent idea,you deserved the purple star. I do not have a dog but I am always looking for new ideas on keep the earth healthy. Thanks for sharing. Blessed

BuckHawkcenter on December 30, 2011:

Again, Johann, you bring the environmental responsibility to the canine world. Well done, there!

LisaDH on December 29, 2011:

I think most people are so used to the idea of picking it up and throwing it away that the idea of composting isn't even on their radar - until now.

Lynne Schroeder from Blue Mountains Australia on December 29, 2011:

Congrats on making the Community Favourites Top 100

rewards4life info on September 12, 2011:

Great lens very useful and the video really helped. I use a smaller version of this but am thinking of upgrading to save time. I agree that putting it in bags, biodegradable or not, creates a bigger carbon footprint, natural is best.

happynutritionist on September 04, 2011:

Well Aspen the Yorkie says hi to Johann the Dog, and that it would take her a LONG time to do enough poop to compost, but we have a BIG dog that likes to visit and leave a present now and then that might work:-) Congrats on the LOTD...I'm still catching up after Hurricane Irene.

Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on September 02, 2011:

@Franksterk: Thanks! Your Q is a big one...lots of debate about composting cat waste and litter. The general consensus seems to be if your cat tests free of toxoplasmosis, then yes! Just remember to keep the composter and compost it away from fruit bearing plants (same with dog waste re: that issue). Toxo isn't as common in cats as some people believe, however it does exist; and can, when left to contaminate rivers & streams, lead to our bodies of water and make water/sea life susceptible. But if your cat is free of toxo (simple test can be done by a DVM) then the answer is yes, we believe.

Frankie Kangas from California on September 02, 2011:

Excellent idea and lens. Could the same thing be done for cats? Congrats on LOTD. Bear hugs, Frankster

Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on September 01, 2011:

For some reason we lost a comment asking how often to add the enzymes. We would recommend a little once a week, see how that works out for you and go from there! That's what we're going to do. Good luck! And thanks for your comment.

KiwiGayle on August 31, 2011:

The next thing would be to teach the dog to 'go' in the hole! I wish. Very good lens - thanks

BarbaraCasey on August 31, 2011:

I think it might be tricky to do this in Florida. The bugs would abound and I wonder if the smell would be overpowering in the heat. Congrats on LOTD. There are so many inventive ideas... it's great to see them posted where we can all get our noodles thinking.

anonymous on August 31, 2011:

Congrats for this useful lens.It is necessary to dispose dog's poop in a responsible manner.

reasonablerobby on August 31, 2011:

A very good idea. Congrats on LOTD

anonymous on August 31, 2011:

I had dogs all my life, but not now that I am old and living in the woods with bears. But I compost most of my vegetable waste (I don't eat meat) and recycle more than I send to the dump. Thanks for this "green" lens- very deserving of LotD.

Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on August 31, 2011:

@RhondaSueDavis: Actually Rhonda, the EPA recommends flushing your dogs waste if you live in the city and your city has a sewage treatment system. Here's a link for more info:

RhondaSueDavis on August 30, 2011:

You answered a lot of my questions, these are not an environmentally sound option in our area or for our small yard. Flushing them into the sewer system is troublesome for the community health as well.

TheGourmetCoffe on August 30, 2011:

Very interesting lens. We rescue Siberian Huskies and adopt them as pets so understand the dilemma with the dog waste. Great ideas, thank you for sharing.

WorkingOnMe on August 30, 2011:

Dog lovers all over the world are singing your praises. Congrats!

JennySui on August 30, 2011:

Congrats on LOTD!

KiwiSanet on August 30, 2011:

I have just came in from picking up the dog poo and wondering if it is possible for my two dogs to put out more than I put in. Great lens, I will show this method of taking care of the poo to my husband. Congratulations on LOTD!

Mary from Midwest on August 30, 2011:

That's the product i was talking about that i wanted to try. But I'm not going to pay a company that kind of money if i can make my own and i have the property to get it done.

Thanks for your lens.

Natural_Skin_Care on August 30, 2011:

A much needed lens! Congratulations!

sociopath-free on August 30, 2011:

Thank you! This is the most practical thing I've read online all year.

Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on August 30, 2011:

@SquidwardQTentacles: It would depend on some factors, but yes, it's possible. Things to consider: the size of your dog; and having it as a designated composter. We have two dogs, so an inground is the best fit for us. You could also look into vermicasting, as known as worm poo composting. It may be a better fit for your situation.

Bill from Gold Coast, Australia on August 30, 2011:

This is by far the smelliest Lens Of The Day that I have come across! LOL. Great advice though. Well Done!

SquidwardQTentacles on August 30, 2011:

Is it possible to put dog poop into a normal composter? You make it sound like it would decompose easily enough as long as there is other material in there.

KimGiancaterino on August 30, 2011:

I have cats, and was once fined by my HOA for dumping organic pine litter (not the poop) behind some shrubs. Now it goes in the trash bin and ultimately to a landfill. Thanks for sharing your solution, and congrats on LOTD!

MrWidemouth on August 30, 2011:

My only thought is that it might be dangerous for small children since there is a potential for falling in to a deep hole. A variation option might include a wider, more shallow rubbermaid container with a hinged lid or a fenced off area.

Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on August 30, 2011:

@heehaw lm: Good question! If you keep utilizing the digester/enzymes and add some grass/leaf litter it will keep the smell to a minimum. I've never heard of anyone complaining about the smell of their composter :)

Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on August 30, 2011:

@quicpost: I believe it would depend upon your location, state and country. However, in all our research we've never known of requirements/licenses needed in US for this small level of composting. But we believe it is always better to be safe; check with your local governing agencies and their statues and you may, if needed, check with your HOA boards.

Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on August 30, 2011:

@lollyj lm: Oh thank you! My Mum thinks I am handsome as well :) Woofs!

Funkyhairdresser on August 30, 2011:

Great lense,now i'll be able to handle all my brothers dogs

Laurel Johnson from Washington KS on August 30, 2011:

What an interesting lens!! Johann is a very handsome and talented dog.

We don't have a dog, but I still enjoyed learning about composting dog poop. :))

quicpost on August 30, 2011:

Interesting lens. Is it safe to do the composting of waste material? Do you need to have a license or permit to do the composting of waste material? Waste is different from veggie compost and I wonder if the health dept. allows it? Thanks though for a very interesting green lens.

djselbac on August 30, 2011:

You gotta love a lens about taking care of dog poop !

I have a shepherd lab mix and this would be the way to go if I couldn't flush it !

Thanks for the info anyway and congratulations on lens of the day !

djselbac on August 30, 2011:

Ya just gotta love a lens about dog poop LOL ! Very informative and helpful.

thanks !Congrats on the lens of the day too !

anonymous on August 30, 2011:

Thank you for a great lens and showing me how to help my dog.

GordyM on August 30, 2011:

Nice work on this one..!!~

heehaw lm on August 30, 2011:

great idea, so that the dog poo do not been thrown around. hmm.. one question , will it be smelly?

NidhiRajat on August 30, 2011:

good to have you on squidoo

Delia on August 30, 2011:

Woof Woof! Congratulations on LOTD! I never heard of this...glad I only have to grandog sit a couple of times a year...but it's a good idea...I use to use my horse manure to compost.

Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on August 30, 2011:

Thank you everyone! We love your pawsome comments, ideas, tips, info and support! And thanks for taking the poll, too; interesting results! Woofs, Johann

Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on August 30, 2011:

@pangaloon: Good for you! We would still recommend not putting around plants you eat, K? Better to be safe. Bags in the trees, what?!?!?

Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on August 30, 2011:

@RhondaSueDavis: Good for you! The EPS actually recommends in many communities to flush if you are on a city system. Thanks for sharing it with your community leaders!

Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on August 30, 2011:

@livingfrontiers: Great tips! And better dig before the ground gets too hard this Winter :)

Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on August 30, 2011:

@CalamariFritti: BOL! You should do a lens on the sculpture, sure is controversial :)

anonymous on August 30, 2011:

When I saw the title of this lens, I thought "what the hell? Dog poop?

I always thought that would be ok for them doing it on the grass, that would help the land of a garden or something like that. I never thought of that a dog waste composter would be the better option.

Great info!

MargieL on August 30, 2011:

We dig a hole and bury it (5 dogs) but this is a much better system - Thank you!

CalamariFritti on August 30, 2011:

The Quetzlcoatl picture alone was enough to justify LOTD! I'm a San Jose native and have said from day 1 that it looked like a pile of dog poop. Geez my city has a horrid record for public art... Anyway, congrats on the lens, it's a brave subject to tackle!

JesseTheCAT on August 30, 2011:

A really interesting Lens with SO many great ideas. Pets waste can be so difficult to deal with,and it really has to be properly disposed to prevent germs and odors. Love this one, very helpful :)

anonymous on August 30, 2011:

Johann, I just knew you'd know what to do with your poo

Oh, but I see you call it "doo"

Give Mum a lick on the face for me...

And, congratulations on receiving LotD!

Thanks for helping make a world more green,

One of the best ideas I have seen!

livingfrontiers on August 30, 2011:

Love the idea, as it is something that so many people deal with each day. Well done! I would have to add, being from the cold north, make the hole BIG, DEEP AND SQUARE, and use a square wood dug in container TO LINE THE DIRT, instead of the plastic garbage container...this can be your doggie toilet for the winter. Use the plastic for the summer to keep the smell down. If you dig down past the frost line, you can get great cool temperatures, but not freezing, any time of year.

WeirdStuff on August 30, 2011:

Wow, such an option never came to my mind!

Lee Hansen from Vermont on August 30, 2011:

We used a similar method when we had a big dog in a small yard. Wintertime was a challenge in our northern climate though. We had to improvise and save it up for warmer weather, so we had more than one dog-doo-composting area. Congrats on a practical and green LOTD.

DavyCielen on August 30, 2011:

very useful lens. congratulations on LOTD.

DavyCielen on August 30, 2011:

Very useful lens! Congratulations on Lens of the Day award!

Pete Schultz on August 30, 2011:

Always fun to visit the lens of the day, and this one is not only fun, but environmentally friendly....or as friendly as I care to get with the main subject.

Bercton1 on August 30, 2011:

Good and useful lens! Congratulations on LOTD!

smitten on August 30, 2011:

You did a great job with this lens! I used to landfill my pets' doo or just put it in the garbage inside a plastic bag, but the informatiom you provided here made me want to reconsider this. Thanks for the quality information; all the best!

RhondaSueDavis on August 30, 2011:

I will have our county & city stream team check this lens out. The ecological info we have is to bag it and keep it out of the streams. This could change our community practices. Thanks for sharing more alternatives with ecology in mind. Pet poo is a fairly huge problem, I have seen some stats on how much is out there, in the land fill and elsewhere. biggest question people here would ask, does the composter stink? would it work for apartment complexes? homes are fairly close to each other, so how far out are they recommended from the buildings (and neighbors!)

usedcardealers on August 30, 2011:

woof poops! ha ha

congrats! for the LOTD

SofiaMann on August 30, 2011:

Good idea. Thanks. Congratulations on LOTD.

Showpup LM on August 30, 2011:

Woof! haha. You asked. Nice lens on a great subject. My brother had a similar system and he loved it.

agoofyidea on August 30, 2011:

Congratulations on getting LOTD. I had no idea my dogs were doing the doo so much.

mazusano on August 30, 2011:

very useful...

aussieremovals on August 30, 2011:

What a great idea wonderful lens.

pantar on August 30, 2011:

Great lens

Shibamom LM on August 30, 2011:

congrats on LotD. Learned a lot while I was here.

purnimamoh on August 30, 2011:

Wonderful lens and insights on organic living. Congratulations

Lisa Auch from Scotland on August 29, 2011:

love this! Well done for LotD too!

pangaloon on August 29, 2011:

I love this idea. I used to have a dog that was on a 100% vegan diet,and so I was able to put the poops into the soil around the plants. My sister is a park ranger, and gets so mad with people allowing their dogs to foul, or leaving poop bags hanging in trees! There are 100% biodegradable poop bags available- but most claim they are, and they are not. Love this unique lens

termit_bronx on August 29, 2011:

Great lens! Congratulations on your LOTD! :)

younusbravo on August 29, 2011:

this is very nice instruction

younusbravo on August 29, 2011:

Premade Dog Composters, Enzymes, and Biodegradable Bags are new adventure. this is a very nice topics.

younusbravo on August 29, 2011:

this is the nice matters that means dog waste compost. it is new adventure.

paulw54jrn on August 29, 2011:

OOps! Nicely Done!

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