While some people may be tiptoeing through the tulips right now, here in Cleveland, you are more likely to find people tiptoeing through the dog crap. For the past five months we have been sending our canine companions out into our yards to do their business and their business was quickly turned into turdcicles.
But now Spring has arrived and the lawn is dotted with organic landmines. For the average dog owner in Cleveland, cleaning up the dog’s doody is just a regular Spring duty. If you have a garden, you may very well be tempted to toss those little bundles into the compost pile or even directly into your vegetable bed. After all, isn’t dog poop nothing but dog manure and don’t you hear all the time how great manure is for the garden? And, besides, tossing it into the pile or the veggie bed sure beats having to gather it all into a plastic bag which then has to be carried to the trashcan. But no matter how attractive a quick garden disposal may seem, resist the temptation to do this.
While well composted manure is considered to be an excellent source of nutrients for your vegetable garden, dog manure does not fall into this category. Only manure from vegetarian animals should be used in the garden.
Animals that eat meat, which includes dogs, cats and humans, can carry dangerous pathogens and organisms in their bodies.
For example, dog waste may contain the eggs of roundworms. If you ingest one of those things, they might hatch inside you. Yuck! Gives me the willies and makes me think that it would result in something out of Alien. Needless to say, you don’t want that near your prize tomatoes.
Another danger is that the dog may have picked up a disease from another animal that it ate. Your dog may on the level with Elmer Fudd in terms of being a hunter, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t chewing on a dead mouse it found in the yard. Disgusting, I know, but any dog owner knows that Eau de Dead Animal is considered to be top quality perfume and worth a taste test to most dogs.
As with any manure, there is the danger of e. coli. For this reason you should never, ever put uncomposted manure, dog, horse or otherwise, on a vegetable garden.
Remember, dogs may be man’s best friend but their poop is not man’s best fertilizer.