Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


Pet Waste Composting


See City Farmer's Step-By-Step photo guide to making a dog waste composter in your back yard.

Sharon Slack's Dog Waste Composter

About 15 years ago, I dug a hole in the back of my ornamental garden, away from my food crops. The hole is about 3 feet wide and 3 feet deep, and is covered with a plastic lid from an old compost bin. I empty my dog's waste in the pit every day so that it will break down as compost.

Occasionally I add Septo-Bac, an enzyme-active biological compound formulated to increase the digestion rate of sewage.

I haven't had to empty the hole for over 6 years. When I did empty it, I dug a hole under some nearby shrubs, put the nearly composted waste in and covered it with soil.

Next time I empty it, I will line the sides of the pit with 1/2 inch hardware cloth because my soil is very sandy and tends to cave in a bit.

I am also starting to add some chopped yard waste (green and brown) to hasten the process. The finished dog waste compost can be used on ornamentals, but not on food crops. Dog waste is not allowed in garbage bins, so this alternative has served me well.

See City Farmer's Step-By-Step photo guide to making a dog waste composter in your back yard.

Good Times Ahead For Dog-Doo Removers Who Spy Gold In Melting Snowbanks.

We spotted this article in Saturday Night magazine (Feb. 3/01) with the above headline. We reprint the article below (without permission):

With all the talk of a looming economic downturn, it's com-forting to know that some sectors of the economy have been doing better than ever. The Calgary Herald reports that unseasonably warm January temperatures and melting snow turned lawns across the city into "poop soup", leading to a sudden boom for the city's professional dog-waste removal servicesÉ.How is such a service marketed? Here, readers are invited to match the company name to its slogan.

  1. A1 Pooper Scoopin', Calgary, AB
  2. Scoopy-doo Canine Waste Removal Inc., Winnipeg, MB
  3. The Doo-Doo Crew, Winnipeg, MB
  4. Scooby's Dog Waste Removal Service, Vancouver, BC
  5. Little Scoop of Odors, Vancouver Island, BC

  1. We'll take the crap out of your life.
  2. #1 in the #2 business.
  3. Picking up where your dog left off.
  4. No official slogan.
  5. It's a crappy jobÉbut somebody has to do it!

1B, 2C, 3E, 4A, 5D

The debate over what to do with doggy do rages on. We first took up this question back in May of 97, with an update in August of that same year. We've also covered goose manure, parrot poo, zoo doo and now we're back to doggy doo.

The official word from all municipalities in the GVRD is, "excrement of all types is banned from going in the landfills." Unofficially of course, we hear, "but if you do put it in, double wrap it before putting it in the garbage bag." That way when the truck compacts the bag, it won't burst and spray all over the drivers. If you don't want to risk getting caught, what's a pet owner to do? Here's the latest.

Bury It
You can bury the pet poo in an ornamental area of your garden. Do not put it in a food garden, pet feces contain some harmful pathogens and should not be handled, especially by pregnant women.

Dig It
Dig a do-it-yourselfer using a spade, plastic basin, a plastic garbage lid or wood plank and a package of septic starter (available in most supermarkets for $2 to $3). Choose a well-drained, slightly out of the way place, not too near tree roots which might grow up into your "septic tank". Dig a hole about half a metre deep and 30 centimetres in diameter. It should be big enough to contain the plastic basin at the bottom. (Our head gardener, Sharon Slack dug a hole about 18" deep and put a garbage-can lid on top).

Collect the dog doo and drop it into the basin. Sprinkle two of the packets of septic tank starter on top of the dog doo and add a litre or so of water. Cover the hole with the lid. Within 48 hours, the septic tank starter, which is non-caustic, and promotes natural bacterial growth will have begun its work and you can add more dog doo. You can then begin to add it daily.

Give the system a bucket of water a week and a packet of starter once or twice a month. The dog doo turns to liquid, most of which washes into the soil. What remains is a humus which should only need to be collected once every two or three years. There is no smell even in the warmest weather. Even the Vancouver Health Department declares them safe.

Sharon adds: "Factors to be considered would be how well the surrounding soil drains, and the size and number of dogs contributing. Sinking a bottomless garbage can would eliminate the problem of the sides caving in, but I opted for the possibility of using wire mesh instead, to insure better drainage."

Now if we could only train the dogs to lift the lid and make their deposits directly. Still the males would probably forget to put the lid back down when they were through. (Exerpted from an article which appeared in the Vancouver Sun in January of 1994).

Dog Dooleys And Other Thingamajiggys

If you don't want to make your own septic system there are a couple of products on the market you can use.

Doggie Dooley
"The Doggie Dooley easily installs into the ground. It works just like a septic system using live organisms in the enzyme digester. Foot operated lid opener makes it easy to drop in pet waste. Occasionally add water and digester powder and unit automatically reduces stools to ground absorbing liquid. Lawn stays waste and odor-free. Environmentally friendly. Choose from the Original Dooley Prism or the Deluxe Dooley Prism which can be expanded to increase its capacity. Both come with 6 month supply of digester powder. The liquid enzymes in the Doggie Dooley are not effective in temperatures below freezing."
At many pet stores. Try Pet Smart under the subject "Dog", subtitle "Cleanup".

Dog Waste Clean Up System by Staywell Neither Bosley's nor Buckerfields carry this brand any more, but a few years ago it was $57.99 and may still be available in other pet stores.

Pet Poo Pickers

There are also companies that will pick up your pet's poo for a fee. The ones we were able to find still in business are:

Delta Doggy Doo Services 813-4515 or 946-7306

Scooper Doo
Dog waste service to Penticton and surrounding area.
Phone 250 488 6015

Pet-D-Posit In-Ground Waste Digester

"Convenient disposal of pet excrement. Keep pet wastes separate from your compost pile. Covered canister prevents un-wanted entry. Installs inconspicu-ously in a corner of your yard or garden. Feces are reduced enzym-atically to an odorless liquid which filters into the ground below. Requires preparation of a circular hole approx. 7" deep x 9" in diameter. Includes a 4 oz. enzyme digester pack and complete instructions." $19.50 US at

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Revised May 17, 2015

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture