Build Your Own Dog Poop Composter

Yep.  I am really writing about this.

So having two big dogs has always produced more waste than I like to deal with.  Or throw away.  Especially in plastic bags.  So I did a little research and found a product out there called the Doggie Dooley- a septic system meant for in-yard use and disposing of dog waste in a “green” manner.

Doggie Dooley

So I bought and installed the Doggie Dooley as pictured above.  Technically, it was a little small for two big dogs but I decided I would simply not put all the waste in there until I knew what it could handle.  Plus it was only going to have to deal with what was in our yard as anything that happened on a walk would be bagged and thrown away.  And we walk our dogs every. single. day.

So I installed this contraption, bought the special enzymes, flushed it with the hose everyday as recommended and guess what?  The thing sucked.  Badly.  It smelled horrible, it didn’t seem to be doing anything to the poop, and it was kind of cumbersome to use.  I only used it for part of a season, then winter rendered it useless, and the next spring I decided not to add any more waste to it and simply flush it until it was in good shape.  I did that for the entire spring and summer, then gave up completely.  We ended up selling the house where this was installed, and I tried to uninstall the thing as a courtesy to the new owner but its design held a couple of gallons of water, and I couldn’t get the thing to budge.  There was no way I was going to siphon or spoon out dog waste sludge, so I just buried the thing.  Sorry new home owner.

But I still liked the idea of having a dog poop composter and had come across another solution that seemed more reasonable after my Doggie Dooley experience: using a large 50-gallon plastic trash can with holes drilled in the bottom: you simply add water (and septic enzymes) regularly, but the water is always allowed to drain out the bottom.

But first, you have to dig a really big hole:

Make Your Own Dog Poop Composter: the Hole

Then you simply insert your trash can, add dog waste (and septic enzymes and water) and you are set!

Make Your Own Dog Poop Composter

Of course, you need to keep things wet to help with decomposition, so I hooked up a drip line from our automatic sprinkler system and the waste gets watered everyday.  We’ve had some flies, but amazingly there has been almost no smell!  And once the regular watering started, decomposition happened rather quickly, too!

But some things to keep in mind: since dogs eat meat, it is good practice to keep this composter away from areas of your garden where you grow food- I believe a 10 ft radius is recommended.  I placed mine under some decorative trees and I am hoping the water and nutrients are helping those trees grow.  In the very least, the trees haven’t shown any signs of stress and I’ve had the thing up and running for a little over a year now.

Much better, and much cheaper, than the commercial dog poop composter I tried!  Now if only I could figure out how to deal with the cat’s litter….