WITH two of my own dogs and a new addition that visits on a regular basis I have found myself shoveling a great deal of dog poop out of the back yard and into my dog waste composter.
That sounds all fancy doesn't it? "Dog waste composter." Really, it's a big hole in the very far end of the yard that rarely gets visited by anything other than the dogs and wild animals. In this hole I deposit the dog waste along with other garden waste and the occasional dousing of lime.
But this got me thinking. What do most people do with their dog waste? I know they do the right thing and clean up after their dog, and in some cases bring it home since dog waste receptacles are not always conveniently located. On a side note, I'm not going to get into a debate about whether to pick up or not, so please don't send me emails with your thoughts on the matter. It's a bylaw to pick up your dog's doo-doo, so do it!
Almost every municipality prohibits dog waste from being placed into the household garbage for weekly collection, and in some cases from the garbage can at public parks as well. I doubt many of us adhere to those rules; I admit to being a rule breaker when I'm out with my dogs. I find the closest garbage container I can to get rid of my packet of poop. When I did bring the doo home with me, I placed it in the trash. I excused my behaviour by rationalizing that the bag is biodegradable.
In good conscience I can't use that excuse any longer.
Out of curiosity I contacted my local officials regarding the deposit of dog waste in garbage meant for collection. They suggested that instead of tossing it into the garbage, I empty the bag into my toilet and flush it away.
Now, there's a reason I didn't have children of my own. The idea of scooping out dog poop from a plastic bag and dumping it into the toilet doesn't sit well with me. Besides, then I'd have to toss the soiled bag in the garbage anyway.
I knew there had to be a better option.
At the pet store I found flushable dog waste bags that are 100 per cent biodegradable and can be tossed right in the toilet . . . Yahoo! But there is a word of warning with regards to some brands of flushable dog waste bags - they aren't recommended for some types of low flow toilets.
"Hmm," I thought. I didn't want to take the chance that my low-flush was the one and only model that would not accept the bag of dog poop.
The dilemma brought me to my makeshift dog waste composter. Turns out it really isn't that fancy after all - there are many backyard dog waste composters available at pet stores or online.
Even the District of North Vancouver's web site offers a link to manufacturers of such products, as well as a guide on how too build one yourself (www.cityfarmer.org/ petwaste.html#pet).
You would think that a dog waste composter would smell, but it doesn't. Even mine that hosts the business of up to three dogs and doesn't have a cover - like the kits you can purchase do - doesn't emit an odour, as long as I remember to cover with yard waste or a composting agent.
As an added bonus it seems that the flushable and 100 per cent biodegradable dog waste bags can be tossed into your backyard composter.
What happens when the composter gets full? Use it in your garden. Composted dog waste can safely be used in outdoor ornamental gardens.
There you have it: poop problem solved.
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