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How to make your own dog waste composter!

Updated on February 23, 2015

The safest, healthiest and most environmentally friendly way to dispose of the doo!

We recently moved to a cabin in the Mountains of NE Georgia and have a lot of land and a septic system, so dealing with the doo has become a big concern for us. We sure don't want to take our doo to the dump once a week and we sure don't want to fill up the landfill either!

While living in the city, we flushed our doo because it was the most environmentally friendly when living in the city with a city septic and waste treatment system. But now that we are in the country and have a septic system, we don't want to fill our septic tank with dog poop!

So we've decided to create our own dog waste composting system on the back side of our property. We've done our research and wanted to share all the info we learned with you!

Sit back and paw around a bit, bet you'll find this very interesting!

Photo courtesy of Don DeBold. The photo is actually the Quetzlcoatl sculpture by Robert Graham located in San Jose, CA. (Some individuals say it looks like a pile of dog poop :).

Did you know?

A typical dog excretes three quarters of a pound of waste per day-or 274 pounds per year!

Why reused plastic and biodegradable bags aren't the answer to reducing landfill waste.

Contrary to popular belief, biodegradable and reused plastic bags utilized to pick up and dispose of your dog's waste adds tons per year to landfills throughout the country.

The bags are collected along with other trash, dumped in the landfill, then more trash is dumped on top. These materials need to have access to all the elements; sun, wind and rain in order to biodegrade and breakdown; and they don't receive exposure to those elements in the landfill.

So the two best and most environmentally friendly ways of disposing of your dog's waste are:

  • If you live in the city with a city water sewage and treatment system, flush the dog poop.

  • If you live in the country utilize a dog waste composter. If you are in the far northern states, dig and bury the composting system as deep as possible; past the frost line in your particular area. If you are in the south, bury your composting system at least 36 inches deep. Just be aware that decomposing will not be as efficient (or even non-existent) in the Winter months than in the Spring, Summer and Fall months.

  • When you travel, utilize those biodegradable dog waste bags, and dispose of them properly. It's at least more effective than non-biodegradable.

Here are the instructions we'll be following to make our dog waste composting system.

  1. Locate a nice sunny open spot in the yard away from trees to keep the root system out.

  2. Find an old used trash can (holes and beat up are ok), and cut out the bottom of the trash can. Also drill holes in the side of the trash can 2/3 the way up the can.

  3. Dig a hole the circumference and depth of the trash can without the lid.

  4. Put the lid on the trash can for stability and then put the trash can down in the hole and backfill with dirt around the sides.

  5. Add about two inches of gravel (or broken rocks/bricks) into the bottom of the trash can hole.

  6. Just add poo, some dead leaves/grass clippings; and on occasion add some enzymes to help it break down more quickly.

Important things to keep in mind:

  • These types of composters don't work well in northern states because of the higher frost line, they also don't work very well when the weather is below 40 degrees.

  • Select a location away from your water well, or water supply; as well as free from potential tree rooting.

  • An optional system is to add a five inch diameter pvc pipe to the lid, then bury the entire trash can and lid so that only the pvc pipe is exposed. Then add the waste and the enzymes through the opening.

Cool stuff for cool dogs!

Be sure and visit my website - - where you can shop for cool stuff for cool dogs!

We've put together, in one place, all the cool stuff you need for your dog! You can find dog beds, all natural foods and treats, collars, leashes, charms, training and agility gear, vitamins and supplements, books, clothing, toys and more!

And the best part is we donate 10% of our profits to dog rescues and shelters!

How do you dispose of the dog doo?

See results

In the City? Flush it!

In the country? Compost!

A great instruction vid for making your own dog waste composter!

Premade Dog Composters, Enzymes, and Biodegradable Bags for when you travel!

Bark at me!

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    • profile image

      CrueltyFreeButy 5 years ago

      What a great article. I have often thought about doing this but the bought versions are out of my budget. Thank you I will get this in place soon!

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

      This is a very good idea that we will need to adopt. Right now, it goes in the trash. We also have a septic tank so flushing it is not a good idea. Thanks and congrats on making the top 100.

    • Auntiekatkat profile image

      Auntiekatkat 6 years ago

      Congrats on being nominated for Community Favorite Lenses of 2011. A wonderful lens. Fortunately we both share one thing it was easier to vote than for most as mine was my "why-I-am a- vegetarian was nominated as well. A proud moment for all of us.

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 6 years ago

      Congratulations on being one of the final 100 favorite Squidoo lenses of 2011!

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 6 years ago from Central Florida

      What an excellent idea! I'd never heard of dog poop composting before!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 6 years ago

      Before my basset hound disappeared, we threw away his poo with the garbage. I know that is not the best method, but at least we did not put it in plastic grocery bags most of the time. We never allowed him to poop in other neighbors' yards. If he did, we never left it there.

      Thanks for sharing this valuable information. Glad I saw it on the 2011 Community Favorites!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      Congrats on making the Top 100 List. Happy new year!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 6 years ago from New Zealand

      Top lens, excellent idea,you deserved the purple star. I do not have a dog but I am always looking for new ideas on keep the earth healthy. Thanks for sharing. Blessed

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 6 years ago

      Again, Johann, you bring the environmental responsibility to the canine world. Well done, there!

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 6 years ago

      I think most people are so used to the idea of picking it up and throwing it away that the idea of composting isn't even on their radar - until now.

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

      Lynne Schroeder 6 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      Congrats on making the Community Favourites Top 100

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 6 years ago

      Great lens very useful and the video really helped. I use a smaller version of this but am thinking of upgrading to save time. I agree that putting it in bags, biodegradable or not, creates a bigger carbon footprint, natural is best.

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 6 years ago

      Well Aspen the Yorkie says hi to Johann the Dog, and that it would take her a LONG time to do enough poop to compost, but we have a BIG dog that likes to visit and leave a present now and then that might work:-) Congrats on the LOTD...I'm still catching up after Hurricane Irene.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      @Franksterk: Thanks! Your Q is a big one...lots of debate about composting cat waste and litter. The general consensus seems to be if your cat tests free of toxoplasmosis, then yes! Just remember to keep the composter and compost it away from fruit bearing plants (same with dog waste re: that issue). Toxo isn't as common in cats as some people believe, however it does exist; and can, when left to contaminate rivers & streams, lead to our bodies of water and make water/sea life susceptible. But if your cat is free of toxo (simple test can be done by a DVM) then the answer is yes, we believe.

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 6 years ago from California

      Excellent idea and lens. Could the same thing be done for cats? Congrats on LOTD. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      For some reason we lost a comment asking how often to add the enzymes. We would recommend a little once a week, see how that works out for you and go from there! That's what we're going to do. Good luck! And thanks for your comment.

    • KiwiGayle profile image

      KiwiGayle 6 years ago

      The next thing would be to teach the dog to 'go' in the hole! I wish. Very good lens - thanks

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 6 years ago

      I think it might be tricky to do this in Florida. The bugs would abound and I wonder if the smell would be overpowering in the heat. Congrats on LOTD. There are so many inventive ideas... it's great to see them posted where we can all get our noodles thinking.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Congrats for this useful lens.It is necessary to dispose dog's poop in a responsible manner.

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 6 years ago

      A very good idea. Congrats on LOTD

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I had dogs all my life, but not now that I am old and living in the woods with bears. But I compost most of my vegetable waste (I don't eat meat) and recycle more than I send to the dump. Thanks for this "green" lens- very deserving of LotD.

    • RhondaSueDavis profile image

      RhondaSueDavis 6 years ago

      You answered a lot of my questions, these are not an environmentally sound option in our area or for our small yard. Flushing them into the sewer system is troublesome for the community health as well.

    • TheGourmetCoffe profile image

      TheGourmetCoffe 6 years ago

      Very interesting lens. We rescue Siberian Huskies and adopt them as pets so understand the dilemma with the dog waste. Great ideas, thank you for sharing.

    • profile image

      WorkingOnMe 6 years ago

      Dog lovers all over the world are singing your praises. Congrats!

    • profile image

      JennySui 6 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD!

    • KiwiSanet profile image

      KiwiSanet 6 years ago

      I have just came in from picking up the dog poo and wondering if it is possible for my two dogs to put out more than I put in. Great lens, I will show this method of taking care of the poo to my husband. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • quickcutterss profile image

      Mary 6 years ago from Midwest

      That's the product i was talking about that i wanted to try. But I'm not going to pay a company that kind of money if i can make my own and i have the property to get it done.

      Thanks for your lens.

    • profile image

      Natural_Skin_Care 6 years ago

      A much needed lens! Congratulations!

    • sociopath-free profile image

      sociopath-free 6 years ago

      Thank you! This is the most practical thing I've read online all year.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      @SquidwardQTentacles: It would depend on some factors, but yes, it's possible. Things to consider: the size of your dog; and having it as a designated composter. We have two dogs, so an inground is the best fit for us. You could also look into vermicasting, as known as worm poo composting. It may be a better fit for your situation.

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 6 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      This is by far the smelliest Lens Of The Day that I have come across! LOL. Great advice though. Well Done!

    • profile image

      SquidwardQTentacles 6 years ago

      Is it possible to put dog poop into a normal composter? You make it sound like it would decompose easily enough as long as there is other material in there.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      I have cats, and was once fined by my HOA for dumping organic pine litter (not the poop) behind some shrubs. Now it goes in the trash bin and ultimately to a landfill. Thanks for sharing your solution, and congrats on LOTD!

    • MrWidemouth profile image

      MrWidemouth 6 years ago

      My only thought is that it might be dangerous for small children since there is a potential for falling in to a deep hole. A variation option might include a wider, more shallow rubbermaid container with a hinged lid or a fenced off area.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      @heehaw lm: Good question! If you keep utilizing the digester/enzymes and add some grass/leaf litter it will keep the smell to a minimum. I've never heard of anyone complaining about the smell of their composter :)

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      @quicpost: I believe it would depend upon your location, state and country. However, in all our research we've never known of requirements/licenses needed in US for this small level of composting. But we believe it is always better to be safe; check with your local governing agencies and their statues and you may, if needed, check with your HOA boards.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      @lollyj lm: Oh thank you! My Mum thinks I am handsome as well :) Woofs!

    • profile image

      Funkyhairdresser 6 years ago

      Great lense,now i'll be able to handle all my brothers dogs

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 6 years ago from Washington KS

      What an interesting lens!! Johann is a very handsome and talented dog.

      We don't have a dog, but I still enjoyed learning about composting dog poop. :))

    • profile image

      quicpost 6 years ago

      Interesting lens. Is it safe to do the composting of waste material? Do you need to have a license or permit to do the composting of waste material? Waste is different from veggie compost and I wonder if the health dept. allows it? Thanks though for a very interesting green lens.

    • profile image

      djselbac 6 years ago

      You gotta love a lens about taking care of dog poop !

      I have a shepherd lab mix and this would be the way to go if I couldn't flush it !

      Thanks for the info anyway and congratulations on lens of the day !

    • profile image

      djselbac 6 years ago

      Ya just gotta love a lens about dog poop LOL ! Very informative and helpful.

      thanks !Congrats on the lens of the day too !

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you for a great lens and showing me how to help my dog.

    • profile image

      GordyM 6 years ago

      Nice work on this one..!!~

    • heehaw lm profile image

      heehaw lm 6 years ago

      great idea, so that the dog poo do not been thrown around. hmm.. one question , will it be smelly?

    • profile image

      NidhiRajat 6 years ago

      good to have you on squidoo

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      Woof Woof! Congratulations on LOTD! I never heard of this...glad I only have to grandog sit a couple of times a year...but it's a good idea...I use to use my horse manure to compost.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      Thank you everyone! We love your pawsome comments, ideas, tips, info and support! And thanks for taking the poll, too; interesting results! Woofs, Johann

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      @pangaloon: Good for you! We would still recommend not putting around plants you eat, K? Better to be safe. Bags in the trees, what?!?!?

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      @RhondaSueDavis: Good for you! The EPS actually recommends in many communities to flush if you are on a city system. Thanks for sharing it with your community leaders!

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      @livingfrontiers: Great tips! And better dig before the ground gets too hard this Winter :)

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      @CalamariFritti: BOL! You should do a lens on the sculpture, sure is controversial :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      When I saw the title of this lens, I thought "what the hell? Dog poop?

      I always thought that would be ok for them doing it on the grass, that would help the land of a garden or something like that. I never thought of that a dog waste composter would be the better option.

      Great info!

    • profile image

      MargieL 6 years ago

      We dig a hole and bury it (5 dogs) but this is a much better system - Thank you!

    • profile image

      CalamariFritti 6 years ago

      The Quetzlcoatl picture alone was enough to justify LOTD! I'm a San Jose native and have said from day 1 that it looked like a pile of dog poop. Geez my city has a horrid record for public art... Anyway, congrats on the lens, it's a brave subject to tackle!

    • profile image

      JesseTheCAT 6 years ago

      A really interesting Lens with SO many great ideas. Pets waste can be so difficult to deal with,and it really has to be properly disposed to prevent germs and odors. Love this one, very helpful :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Johann, I just knew you'd know what to do with your poo

      Oh, but I see you call it "doo"

      Give Mum a lick on the face for me...

      And, congratulations on receiving LotD!

      Thanks for helping make a world more green,

      One of the best ideas I have seen!

    • profile image

      livingfrontiers 6 years ago

      Love the idea, as it is something that so many people deal with each day. Well done! I would have to add, being from the cold north, make the hole BIG, DEEP AND SQUARE, and use a square wood dug in container TO LINE THE DIRT, instead of the plastic garbage container...this can be your doggie toilet for the winter. Use the plastic for the summer to keep the smell down. If you dig down past the frost line, you can get great cool temperatures, but not freezing, any time of year.

    • profile image

      WeirdStuff 6 years ago

      Wow, such an option never came to my mind!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      We used a similar method when we had a big dog in a small yard. Wintertime was a challenge in our northern climate though. We had to improvise and save it up for warmer weather, so we had more than one dog-doo-composting area. Congrats on a practical and green LOTD.

    • profile image

      DavyCielen 6 years ago

      very useful lens. congratulations on LOTD.

    • profile image

      DavyCielen 6 years ago

      Very useful lens! Congratulations on Lens of the Day award!

    • profile image

      Pete Schultz 6 years ago

      Always fun to visit the lens of the day, and this one is not only fun, but environmentally friendly....or as friendly as I care to get with the main subject.

    • Bercton1 profile image

      Bercton1 6 years ago

      Good and useful lens! Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      smitten 6 years ago

      You did a great job with this lens! I used to landfill my pets' doo or just put it in the garbage inside a plastic bag, but the informatiom you provided here made me want to reconsider this. Thanks for the quality information; all the best!

    • RhondaSueDavis profile image

      RhondaSueDavis 6 years ago

      I will have our county & city stream team check this lens out. The ecological info we have is to bag it and keep it out of the streams. This could change our community practices. Thanks for sharing more alternatives with ecology in mind. Pet poo is a fairly huge problem, I have seen some stats on how much is out there, in the land fill and elsewhere. biggest question people here would ask, does the composter stink? would it work for apartment complexes? homes are fairly close to each other, so how far out are they recommended from the buildings (and neighbors!)

    • profile image

      usedcardealers 6 years ago

      woof poops! ha ha

      congrats! for the LOTD

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 6 years ago

      Good idea. Thanks. Congratulations on LOTD.

    • Showpup LM profile image

      Showpup LM 6 years ago

      Woof! haha. You asked. Nice lens on a great subject. My brother had a similar system and he loved it.

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 6 years ago

      Congratulations on getting LOTD. I had no idea my dogs were doing the doo so much.

    • profile image

      mazusano 6 years ago

      very useful...

    • profile image

      aussieremovals 6 years ago

      What a great idea wonderful lens.

    • pantar profile image

      pantar 6 years ago

      Great lens

    • Shibamom LM profile image

      Shibamom LM 6 years ago

      congrats on LotD. Learned a lot while I was here.

    • profile image

      purnimamoh 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens and insights on organic living. Congratulations

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      love this! Well done for LotD too!

    • pangaloon profile image

      pangaloon 6 years ago

      I love this idea. I used to have a dog that was on a 100% vegan diet,and so I was able to put the poops into the soil around the plants. My sister is a park ranger, and gets so mad with people allowing their dogs to foul, or leaving poop bags hanging in trees! There are 100% biodegradable poop bags available- but most claim they are, and they are not. Love this unique lens

    • profile image

      termit_bronx 6 years ago

      Great lens! Congratulations on your LOTD! :)

    • profile image

      younusbravo 6 years ago

      this is very nice instruction

    • profile image

      younusbravo 6 years ago

      Premade Dog Composters, Enzymes, and Biodegradable Bags are new adventure. this is a very nice topics.

    • profile image

      younusbravo 6 years ago

      this is the nice matters that means dog waste compost. it is new adventure.

    • profile image

      paulw54jrn 6 years ago

      OOps! Nicely Done!