Sunday, 27 June 2021

Don't waste that poop! It's black erm.. brown gold!

Did you know one medium sized dog produces about 180 kilograms of poop a year? I expect your human bags it and bins it, or scoops it up from your garden and then bins it, they might even throw it over the fence but we won't go there! No! No! No! And worst of all they might pretend it's not yours and leave it., I've seen some humans looking around while their dog drops a little parcel somewhere and then walks off like it never happened. yuk! That's just bad dog owner behaviour! Oh yes! Baaaaad. 

So I thought I'd let you into a well kept secret! Did you know you can use dog and cat poop to make homemade fertiliser for your garden? Well you can ner! After all you don't want to add to landfill with dozens of little black plastic bags full of lovingly produced poop do you? Really? If you don't care stop reading now, but if you want great healthy plants, fruit and veg (and stop pulling that face), you can utilise poop and save yourself some money! Sound good? Great, read on.....

Thousands of years ago, before the human population explosion the human (and animal) poop used to drop onto the soil and decompose. Healthy soil is rich in nutrients, microbes, bacteria which thrive on great soil. But now with so many humans and less animals, organic waste has become a major problem, not only contaminating the soil but also the water sources. There's so much infact that it is a major problem for most countries, including yours! 

Dog, poop (and cat poop to some degree),  is considered an environmental hazard, yep we get the blame because we can't use porcelain thrones or chemical toilets like our humans. Its the fear of falling in, I get it! Although some of us have learnt to balance on the rim and stick our butts over the edge so we can safely launch our poop into the water. But we're not all as gifted and not all in comfy homes where we could if we wanted to. So we have to drop it where we can. It's not our fault. Stop feeling guilty! Your human is a responsible pawrent right? OK calm down, let me carry on

We'll concentrate on dog poop because cat's bless them can use litter trays and if they don't have access to one they do bury their poop in the garden. Us dogs haven't evolved to do that because we've always had staff to do it for us. 

Did you know, dog poop is three quarters water plus undigested food including carbohydrates, fibre, proteins, and fats from the our digestive system. Also present are a wide range of resident bacteria that are needed for digestion.

If we are infected with worms, or other disease-causing microbes, these can be present in our poop. Left on the street, dog poop is either stuck to a humans shoe, bicycle wheels, shopping trolleys or washed into waterways, creating a potential health hazard. Once pathogenic microbes from the poop get into waterways, they can find their way into other living things – including humans. People also don’t like dog poop because of its smell, like theirs smells of roses!  The pong is due to the volatile products produced by microbes in the gut that are involved in the digestion process, like I said earlier.  More than 100 different chemicals that could contribute to the bad smell have been identified. Some human must have a great job huh? Imagine! No please don't, let me go on.....

Because poop smells bad humans avoid dealing with it. Local councils offer plastic bags at parks and other public places to encourage dog owners to collect the poop, not like stamp collecting, stop giggling I'm being serious here. Bins, sometimes specifically for dog waste, are often placed nearby so the smelly package can be discarded as soon as possible, like when they drop a letter through a letter box only better!

But this is not the best solution, because ultimately the dog poop ends up going to landfill, contributing to the ever growing  problem of waste accumulation.

Still with me? Good, hey you at the back! I can see you nodding off, try and pay attention so you can get your human to do this stuff.... ahem... where was I? Oh yea....

Why dog poop can become a nutrient

Rather than becoming a pollutant, dog poop can become a nutrient for the garden, by being composted in your backyard, great huh? Read on it get's better..... 

If you have a garden your human can make their own compost bin by adding the dog poop to grass clippings, plant or other organic waste, and even sawdust or shredded cardboard as a source of food for the microbes. The microbes then break down the organic material into humus and that's humus not humour, this is not funny. During this process the temperature in the compost mixture rises to 50-60℃. Over time, the heat will kill most if not all canine bacteria, because they can't live in high temperatures, they're used to cooler damper places like in our gut!

Compost contains billions of microbes per gram of material and competition from between the bacteria as well as the heat being produced by the compost assist in promoting the destruction of pathogenic canine microbes, if present. Gotta bake those psychopathic sorry pathogenic microbes! Fry their brains! *giggles* ahem....

The compost needs to be turned over weekly to ensure uniform composing and oxygenation. Your human can do this Over days or weeks the temperature in the compost drops, indicating when the decomposition process is complete. If the human is feeling particularly resourceful and lets face it some are some aren't, they can use a big plastic dustbin and drill a hole near the bottom and fix a waterbutt tap, they can look how to do this on youtube humans just love that place! Anyway once thats done they can then load the dustbin up to their hearts content with all kinds of waste, not just our poop, like shredded paper, dry leaves, cooked and uncooked food. Make sure the lid is secure and maybe drill one hole about 1/2" in diameter in the lid for ventilation. They can then stand the dustbin up on blocks so they can drain the liquid off it once a week and use diluted 1 part liquid 10 parts water, as liquid fertiliser for their plants (its also good for killing off bugs on plants if it's sprayed on the leaves, diluted of course).  Making compost this way is much faster than in a normal heap in the corner or traditional compost bin, and the compost is usually ready within 4-6 weeks. All the nasty stuff like bad bacteria and things that sprad disease are all killed off with the extreme heat and the compost is safe to use on the garden and your human will love you even more for being a mobile compost contributer! Don't blame me if they want to get another sibling for you to help in this very responsible job! 

A couple of dog-do dont’s:

  • Don’t include waste from unknown dogs or from dogs that show signs of disease (unless using the sealed dustbin (hotbin) method of composting.

  • Avoid using it on vegetable leaves for human consumption, I mean would you eat those lettuce after?  No so use it around the base on the soil not on the actual plant. If they're not gonna eat the plant spray away to their heart's content.

If you live in an apartment and don’t have a garden or access to green waste, you can still compost dog poop. There are small compost bins commercially available for this purpose, they're usually airtight so don't produce a pong and they come with full instructions how to use them, infact a mini hotbin type composter would be ideal! It would also help heat up your humans bathroom!  Ok maybe not.  Composted material from these can be used on your outdoor or indoor plants. And if your humans dont have any indoor plants, then shame on them! They should go and get some because they produce oxygen, reduce indoor air pollution (and who doesn't let one slip now and again after a rich treat or dinner), and cut down on ozone in the air.

So all in all our poop can help towards saving the planet! You just got to educate your human and stop them shouting at you when the grass mower runs over something you prepared earlier and they were too slow picking up from the garden! 

Now after that long and highly technical explanation of how we are such useful pets I'm going out to check a few lamp posts and roll in some day old bird or fox poop! Why not? It's gotta be done! 

Here's a little ditty to help your humans to compost our poop. And fur composts too, so tell them that as well, we are such useful critters.

bag and bin that poop you see

take it home and make poop tea

bake it in your compost bin

too good to waste, what a sin

spray it on, to kill those bugs

spread it round, repel those slugs

all your plants will thrive and grow

when people ask just let them know!

Dog poop rules!

Cya later pals! 

Love ya 

Bonnie da Westie