Letter Re: Good Use of Your Dog’s Waste


We live on 1.3 acres in a semi-rural area of Colorado. We have one dog, and used to pick up after her and put it in the trash for collection.

When we stopped mowing our large deer-fenced front yard that has a number of small- to medium-sized evergreen and shade trees, it occurred to me to stop throwing this high nitrogen fertilizer away and stop buying fertilizer. I collect the stuff from the small, fenced and mowed back yard in a bucket with the usual scooper and distribute it in the drip line of the trees. The result has been great– dark green, glistening, growing trees. Of course, our dog is well cared for, does not roam, and does not have parasites. The grass is so tall that the grandchildren don’t wander out there but stick to the back yard. There is absolutely no odor.

A side benefit of going natural is that I have seen a lot of frogs and snakes, birds, et cetera out there, and there’s less yard work and less gasoline used.

I also collect deer waste from the unfenced “back forty” with the same scooper and till it in to my large garden with similar good results. – Colorado Living at our Retreat.

JWR Responds: That has some merit, but please see the SurvivalBlog archives for the MANY warnings about using the fecal waste from any meat-eating animals or humans on gardens. (Put “Humanure” in the search box.) Generally it is safe with fruit and nut trees but NOT so with garden vegetables! But even then there is the risk of infection because of unknowingly tracking in the waste to your house, followed by any cuts to feet or toes. Regards, JWR

HJL Adds: I would add two things to JWR’s response. The manure from predatory animals has a distinctive odor that is rather unpleasant. While you can get used to the smell if you are around it long enough, those that visit you will notice it immediately. You also have to be careful that this odor is not clinging to you. We often find humor in the situation when someone has stepped in a dog pile and then steps into a small enclosed space, such as an elevator with others. You will see everyone start to check their shoes to see if it is them and when they identify you as the culprit, you are basically ostracized. The social situation is even worse when the odor is just clinging to you because it is what your house and property smell like.

While that is more of a social thing, the second is far more serious. Have you ever noticed that it is the third world countries or heavily populated countries that have the most serious and obnoxious diseases? Much of this is due to their habit of using their world as their toilet. While herbivores provide us with manure that has amazing properties in the cycle of life, omnivores and carnivores have manure that just causes issues anywhere that it is used as fertilizer. Yes, the plants may benefit from it, but it has some very serious drawbacks that should make a person think twice about using it in that manner.