Puppy Waste Composter

You've got a dog. Dogs poop - that's all there is to it. Once they leave you a present you need to do something about it. Leaving it in your yard is uncool. Try having a party in your yard with dog poop all over.

Here's a little DIY project to deal with pet waste. No sense throwing it away when you can make it into something more useful = compost. A little disclaimer - I wouldn't use this compost on soils that are producing something you eat. So unless you are eating your flowers and shrubs, there is no reason that you can't put this compost on there.

Step 1: Exhibit 1 - the Container

It doesn't get much easier than thins folks. I went and bought a 4 dollar valve housing. This is the same thing you would buy if you wanted to put a valve for your in ground sprinkler system.

It is attached to an extra garbage can that was laying around the house. A little dremmel work and I had the bottom cut out. The cover is attached to the garbage can by four zip ties.

While I was drilling holes for the zip tiles I went ahead and put extra drainage holes in the sides. I really don' think those do anything and will be leaving them off next time.

Not shown, is that I wrapped the whole thing in landscaping fabric to keep the soil from coming in.

Step 2: Exhibit 2 - Dig a Hole

Once I had the composter assembled it was just a matter of finding it a home. We had just completed renovating part of our yard, so this makes a great time to dig in. Because of what the composter looks like, I had no worries putting it so close to the sidewalk. There is no smell from it, and people passing by think its just another valve cover. You want water to get into your composter, which is why it is good that there is a little hole on top. Easy way to open it and easy to get rain water down.

Step 3: Exhibit 3 - Waste Producer

This is Piper P. Puppy. She will be the provider of the organic matter for our composter. Other than her solid waste, I will put some lye to help things along.

This is really just a cute picture of her.

Step 4: Exhibit 4 - Final Project

Finally after you have your hole filled you will want to line the bottom with some course rocks to all for drainage. I used lava rock only because we had a lot laying around.

I used about a 3" layer of rock, then I placed the composter in the hole and put another 6" or so of rock around the outside of the composter. Soil was added to bring the grade level up. I wanted the composter to be slightly lower than the soil line for two reasons. 1) To ensure I could mow over the top of the composter with damaging it or my mower, and 2) to encourage water to enter the composter. In a normal septic tank you have a lot of water, coming and going. Because all we are adding is dry matter, water needs to be encouraged to flow into the composter.

I have a small dog, so I made a small composter. If you have a larger dog, you will want to use a larger container.

People often ask me what I am going to do when it fills. Well I can just leave it and the matter will eventually leech out, or I better yet I can empty it. Im thinking a shop vac would suck it out nicely. Then I can empty the vac on my flower beds. What is left after the waste breaks down is humus, not dog waste (get over that right now). I don't think I would use it on veggies or fruits, but it will work great as humus for my flower beds. I need to start another composter project, so that when this one fills I have another I can work on filling while the first finishes breaking down. Remember that in the winter, all composter will become very slow, if not stop.



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    12 Discussions

    dog poop is bad for all plants right? i have five large dogs and ther is poop every were,and i heard that dog poop kills plant because of what they eat....cows poop is good for plants because they make compost all on there own by proscessing the grass and veggies though there body......dogs on the other hand eat meat based foods that have no nutrients for plants......so is this really good for plants?


    11 years ago on Step 1

    I would leave the holes because they help stimulate airflow which will speed the decomposition process. But you need to have the rocks to allow air to flow around the composter.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Good for small dogs but our big dog filled hers up right away


    what makes you think that the local sewer facilities want to deal with a sudden influx of the community's dog crap and quite possibly millions of your PVA pet waste bags?? why continue to encourage people to place unnecessary burden on the rest of society when they can easily deal with this in their own backyard AND benefit from it?! no time like the present, people!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Another suggestion on how to make the composting cycle continue on: add a packet of septic tank starter (available at any big-box home improvement store). The bacteria in the packet will help move the composting along, even in winter months when strait organic composting slows down. You could also buy the Dogie Do right decomposing powder, but from what I've read it's basically a repackaged septic start kit.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    You should never use animal or human waste on and garden bed that will be used for food (veggie gardens, ...). This composted waste is okay for flower and decorative gardens only. Also, if your compost is working properly, it should not stop, it should continue all year long, as long as you feed it some dry brown yard waste as well (grass clippings/leaves) - this helps with the breakdown. And if you make it approximately large enough for 3 weeks worth of waste, you should not have to empty it for a year, as it will constantly break down. Oh, and yes, the holes in the side are good. more holes the better.

    1 reply

    Good point on not using it on anything that you are going to eat (See Step 4). Because of the size of this composter, it will stop working in the winter, or at least around here it will. It simply is too small and it gets too cold up here to keep it going year round.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe you should make another one, so when this one is filled, you can switch over to the other one and allow the waste to decompose. Then when the other one is filled, empty the full, yet decomposed one out and use it again.

    1 reply

    Exactly - that is at the end of Step 4. Because they are so cheap and easy to make I was thinking about sinking several in my yard, for one, it would be easier that way since my dog hasn't believed me yet that eliminating near this one is a good idea, and 2) then I can have several working at the same time.