It probably isn’t news to anyone, but the pandemic has led to an upsurge in dog ownership. The number of households with a canine resident has jumped form 23% pre-Covid to 33% in 2021. I must admit I’ve always been more of a cat person, preferring their independent spirit and the fact they are, well how can I say this, just a little less needy than a dog. Despite this I understand that the companionship a dog can bring and as mental health has really suffered during lockdown the addition of a loyal, furry friend to a household will have had real benefits.
But what about the environmental impact? We know that human meat consumption adds to the carbon footprint of our species; dogs therefore will do the same. And like us humans dogs are naturally omnivorous, and according to owners will eat pretty much anything and everything. It is also possible for some dogs to live happily and healthily as a vegan.
Another important thing to consider when you rehome a dog or bring home a pup is what to do with the poo. As any parent knows little people produce quite a quantity of the brown stuff relative to their size. When you are taking Fido or Fifi (and I am talking dogs again now, not humans) out for a walk then biodegradable doggy bags are great and the waste will decompose over time. However, when at home, if you have a garden, you might not want to fill your bin with bags of doggy doo. So, what can you do with it?
I found myself pondering this as I offered to help someone who had welcomed a new pooch into their house. They have a compost bin, which is not in the most accessible spot, and they didn’t want to just put the poop in the general waste bin. A quick bit of online research suggested an underground method of dog waste disposal and although there are commercially available products for this, there are also cheaper DIY options. And this was what we opted for… and this is what we did:
Take a large plant pot and drill holes in the bottom.
Use a Stanley knife to cut a large circular hole in the bottom and remove this.
Turn the pot on the side and drill holes to help drainage.
Select a suitable location, then dig a big hole for the plant pot to sit in.
Fill in the sides and find something to acts as a lid.
As and when you need to add the poop and occasionally scatter some soil or other organic matter. You can buy enzymes or bacterial starter kits to help with decomposition but the naturally occurring microorganisms in soil seem to do the trick.
Once the poop pot is getting full you can either slide the plastic pot out, cover over the waste, and dig a new hole, or as we have done decant the rotted poop into the compost heap. We have only needed to do this twice in six months. The results are good, there is no smell, and the waste will go back into the garden eventually, when the compost heap is full, recycling the nutrients.
If you have a new dog, or even an old dog, then why not give this a go? And if you don’t have a dog you could also try this. You could be the perfect local community citizen picking up abandoned poo from the streets. I am sure your friends and neighbours around Tayport, or wherever you live, will be very grateful.