We tested EnviroWagg’s dog waste compost against a commercial poultry manure compost by germinating and growing petunias. We planted seeds from the same packet in flats containing starter mix with equal amounts of compost and perlite. We exposed the seed flats to the same amounts of water and sunlight. The Doggone Good Compost® (top) outperformed its competitor. No formal soil studies have been conducted to find out if composted carnivore waste provides unique nutrients for productive growth on specific plants.
Raw dog waste contains two and a half times the nitrogen, the same amount of phosphate and half as much potassium as cattle manure.
What is composting?
Composting is the controlled aerobic (oxygen-using) biological decomposition of moist organic source material to produce a soil conditioner. Composting works through the use of microorganisms, mainly a wide range of bacteria and fungi, which break down organic matter. These organisms transport oxygen and moisture throughout the compost mass while they assist the physical and chemical breakdown.
Bulking material, typically, shredded bark mulch, straw, leaves or sawdust, is added to energize the process, and help maintain a porous texture that circulates air and moisture. Pathogens are killed by the high heat naturally generated by heat-loving microbes during the initial process, predatory organisms during cool down, and the retention time provided in a carefully managed system. EnviroWagg is now experimenting with processing dog waste in a large, carefully monitored in-vessel tumbler.
What makes composting dog waste unique?
While cow, sheep, horse, and poultry manure are commonly composted, dog waste has not been traditionally considered an appropriate component. Public health agencies have spent decades warning about the risks of dog waste and composting it in backyard bins. The reason is pathogens specific to raw carnivore feces. Roundworms and other destructive organisms from unhealthy dogs are harmful if ingested or rubbed into eyes or open skin.
But these cautionary warnings have become common knowledge. Pet owners and communities can safely repurpose dog waste using a number of proven processes. Diligent composting is one option.
Properly composting dog waste in the back yard will result in an amendment that will enrich landscape plants, but is not appropriate for edible crops because direct contact will contaminate vegetables and fruits. Large-scale dog waste composting, practiced in a number of municipalities, produces compost that has been tested safe for distribution and food cultivation.
EnviroWagg’s composting system carefully monitors temperatures and includes a long curing period. Finished material has been tested to meet EPA standards for safe handling and growing herbs, fruits and vegetables.