August 26, 2010

Dog Doo Compost Bin

This summer we installed a new feature, though well hidden, in our backyard. Gardener Guy had seen on an HGTV show how to compost dog waste. Yep, that's right, good old fashion dog poop.

We have a 3 yr old Golden Retriever named Dixie, and trust me, she puts out plenty of waste, and sizable for that matter. Okay sorry, TMI.  Since Gardener Guy got tired of hearing me complain about the smelly bags waiting for trash day, he decided to try this method of disposing of the doo.

This is a great family activity to do on the weekend, it only took a couple of hours. And seriously, aren't all kids fascinated with doo?

**Don't worry, there are no pictures of the actual doo used to make this tutorial**

Here's what you'll need:
Plastic bin with a lid. We used an empty cat litter box with a flip top lid, but you could also use a 5 gallon bucket.
Rocks. We used some lava rock that was on the side of the garage.
Drill with 1/2 inch drill bit.
Utility knife or saw.
Septic tank bacteria in powder form.

 Here's how you do it:

Prepare the site.
  1. Dig a hole. We dug ours a little deeper than the depth of the container. We chose to put ours in the dog run as close to the property line as possible. *Read: As far away from the house as possible. 

Prepare the container.
  1. Cut the bottom off of plastic container.
  2. Drill holes around sides of container. This is for drainage.

Now to put it all together.
  1. Insert plastic bin into the hole. Make sure the lid is above ground, but that everything else is below ground.
  2. Put a couple of inches of rock in the bottom. Again, for drainage. 
  3. Fill in the hole so there is no space between the container and the ground. 
  4. Insert dog doo into container. 
  5. Sprinkle with bacteria powder.
  6. Water well. And I mean well. 

Essentially, what you've just made is a mini septic tank. It won't hold water, but the bacteria will eat away the doo.  You will need to rewater every day or so to make sure the bacteria can do it's job.

In hindsight, we probably dug our hole too deep and added too many rocks.  We're having an issue with getting enough water to stay in the container to do what it should. Other than that, I love it.

The best thing is that it DOES NOT SMELL. It's underground, and covered so odors never escape.

Let me know if you decide to do this too, would love to hear how you like it.


Anonymous said...

This is awesome! We have four big dogs, so this would be perfect to eliminate the odor!

Megan & Adam said...

Do you know if you can reuse the compost in gardening?

mel said...

Never use pet waste in the garden. It can still carry nasty bacteria and other harmful organisms even after composting it that you don't want near your veggies! It would probably be okay on a flower garden depending what is in the septic tank bacteria you add. Because of the design of the bucket you could just locate it near a flower bed on the nutrients in the poet waste would naturally leach in through the soil.

mel said...

** that would be pet waste, not poet!!

Anonymous said...

How much of the septic tank powder do you use and how often?

Sherry Almeida said...

How often do you use the septic powder and how often?

Anonymous said...

Just installed this today. Exact container and everything. :) I didn't drill holes in the side, so hopefully it will hold water. I dug the hole about 1 1/2" wider on all sides than the bucket. I put a bed of sand down: 1/2", then lava rock: 1". I put the container in 2" above ground, back filled with sand: 2", dirt to grade. We have two large shepard/lab 1 year olds. Looking forward to the yard not stinking! My daughter earns part of her cell phone bill once a week. :)

frodosdojo said...

I installed this 2 days ago. What a neat idea ! I can tell the poop is dissolving and the doggie pen is clean now. Thank you for sharing this !

Anonymous said...

I am going to do this tomorrow how often do you water it and how much powder? I have 4 big dogs and 4 small if this works I might have to have 3 of these

Anonymous said...

Can anyone update on how this is working out for them? I would love to try, but want to be sure it has met all your expectations!

Carmen Stone said...

I breed yorkies and silkies and have a bit of dog waste so my hubby and I tried this compost bin and is been working great, no odor we noticed we had to add the bacteria eating powder every 3-4 months to keep it going.. so far so good..
we used a 5 gal bucket from home depot.

Tammy Oliver Ford said...

Is it still working for you? I already have the supplies and plan on installing tomorrow. ��

Tammy Oliver Ford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Anonymous said...

Can you add cat waste as well, pee and poop with litter?

DawnOfTheDanes said...

If you want the poo piles even smaller, research the raw species appropriate diet. I have been feeding my Great Danes that way since 1998 and if I can help it, I will NEVER go back to dog food. It's like trying to live on Cheerios without the milk. Imagine that kind of meal twice a day for your entire life. BLECH!!! Smaller piles, disintegrates in a matter of 2 to 3 days, stops smelling after 12 hours. Dogs never have to have their teeth clean, less disease. More laid back dog. (No carbs) Win, win.

Anonymous said...

So what does the compost do after you have gone thru all these steps? Does it just desenegrate or do you use it for something? I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

All this sounds great. I want to try it too but here's my question... What about the environment. Does the chemical pose any kind of short or long term effects. What about the grass? What about zoonotic diseases? Is there a concern not just for myself but for humans around me or for let's just say for example I were to sell my home in the future. Can parasites (worms) be in the ground to effect future gardening?

Anonymous said...

Other versions use a large trash can. Just search the Internet for pet waste disposal system.

patty davenport said...


Ernestine Henry said...

Does RIDX work better than this waste management septic powder?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Ridx is the best, I have been using it for the past 22 years on my 1000 gallon septisch system with no problem, therefore it will take care of a few piles of dog poo, and the bacteria in Ridx is natural.

Anonymous said...

Septic System...LOL gotta love autocorrect

Anonymous said...

I have built a doggie septic system from a 5-gal bucket, holes drilled and bottom removed. Lots of stone/rocks and good drainage. The question has been asked but never answered that I saw.
How much Rid-X? Everyday? How much water?
Do I add the Rid-X and water after every deposit?
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

We put our doggie doo in our hot compost bin. It's called a Hot Bin. Got ours from this supplier in UK
I daresay there is something similar in the US. It produces lovely rich compost and because it composted a 70 degrees or more it kills off most of the nasty bacteria. Also the bin is sealed so no odour escape which means it doesn't attract rats.

Anonymous said...

OK do not use animal waste in gardens. As for dog waste, feed a dog it's natural diet of raw meat and you have very little waste and once a day. My 45 pound dog has never ate anything but a natural diet and there's very little waste. You have so much dog waste is you are feeding them bagged food that is full of grain they cannot digest it goes in one end and out the other. So make your Dog waste bin but also feed your dog the proper diet to stop all the waste to begin with.