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Using Dog Poop In A Veggie Garden
Judy J. Crawford

----- Original Message -----
From: "VISITOR" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, March 25, 2001 8:22 AM
Subject: Help with poop in veggie garden.

> I found this article helpful, but have further questions.  What are the
> health risks of allowing a dogs to poop on a vegetable garden?
> Especially if there is a tendency to not wash and thoroughly clean
> vegetables from the same garden?
> I have been trying to caution my boyfriend about this but he feels that
> dogs fertilize and everything is organic and therefore not harmful. Are
> there health risks? If so, what are they?
> Thank you very, much.

----- Reply -----


My first impression when I read your note was:  Eeeeeeewwwwwwww!

If your boyfriend insists on using dog feces in his garden, he MUST hot
compost it first for several months!!!  Even then, compost containing dog
feces is only safe in garden areas other than a vegetable garden.  Under no
circumstances whatsoever are dog, cat, or human feces considered safe to use
in an area used for vegetable gardening.  I am an organic gardener, and I
can assure you that this is not something I made up, it's a fact, and is
part of the doctrine of organic gardening.

There are many parasites that can be transmitted to humans via dog feces.
Of course I'm sure you are aware that many kinds of worms can easily be
transmitted to humans from dogs, such as roundworms and tapeworms, and
occasionally toxoplasmosis (harmful to unborn children if the pregnant
mother is initially exposed to it while pregnant).  Unless a dog is
indoor-only, one would have to constantly worm one's dog in order to ensure
that the dog didn't have these parasites.  Another nasty parasite is
Cryptosporidium, which is easily passed on to humans from stools via
unwashed food.

Other terrible pathogens that can and ARE transmitted to humans via dog
feces are e.coli bacteria, staph infections, salmonella, and listeria, to
name just a few.  E.coli is present in all feces, even the cleanest of dogs
(and people!) is going to pollute the ground with e.coli bacteria.

It is vitally important that it be understood that there is a HUGE
difference between different types of feces/manures.  The digestive system
of dogs, cats, humans, and other carnivores/omnivores is entirely different
than that of herbivores.  Carnivore/omnivore digestive systems do NOT digest
or neutralize all pathogens consumed, plus, they excrete a few of their own.
The feces of an herbivore is inherently less pathogenic to humans than other
feces, because what goes in at the beginning (plants) is in itself less
pathogenic.  However, what goes into a carnivore like a dog is VERY
pathogenic & unfit for human consumption - raw or spoiled meat, animal
by-products, etcetera.  Animals that eat vegetative matter are not as likely
to pick up and pass on diseases that are harmful to humans as are
meat-eating animals. Either a dog or cat may chew on a dead bird or squirrel
that died of a disease, has rabies, etc. Harmful bacteria and pathogens may
be passed through to feces, which may or may not be destroyed by composting.
Dog feces may carry parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens and viruses that
are harmful to humans. These may be picked up, for instance, if a diseased
bird flies into your yard and your dog catches it and eats it. A hot compost
pile might kill these parasites. However, you would have to closely monitor
the part of the pile that the feces were in to be sure it reached the
maximum temperature

Dog feces attract flies.  Flies lay eggs.  These eggs & larvae can easily be
ingested by humans if they happen to be on the vegetables when harvested and
not washed off - a very high probability, indeed.

It is imperative that vegetables be washed before consumption, especially
root crops and salad crops like lettuce, celery, radishes and onions.
Numerous insects, insect eggs or larvae, as well as molds & fungi easily
contaminate vegetables in the garden via the soil.   The soil itself can
harbor harmful pathogens, and these are easily splashed onto the leaves or
fruit via rain, sprinklers or the wind.   I'm not saying that any time you
cannot resist the urge to bite into a juicy, vine-ripened, sun-warmed tomato
you're taking your life into your hands.  Only that to do so repeatedly, and
especially with produce grown closer to the ground, is really asking for
trouble.  I mean, even raccoons wash their food...

I know that I could not eat anything from a garden without washing it
first - even my own - and I keep a very clean, organic garden.  I also would
not eat anything that had been grown in a garden containing dog feces.
Ever.  For any reason.  Nor would I eat anything that had been urinated on
by a dog.  Or a cat.  Or a person.

Eeeeeeeewwwwwwwww!  Even my husband agrees with me on this one.

Best of luck in helping your boyfriend to understand proper sanitation for
food handling!


Judy J. Crawford
GardenFoundation LLC

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Copyright 2000 - Judy J. Crawford - GardenFoundation LLC
Last revised: September 16, 2001.