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I have taken to collecting our dog’s fæces in lavatory paper and flushing them rather than using the little plastic bags one can buy for the purpose and putting those in the (non-recycling) rubbish bin.

The dog is a White West Highland, a bit under 10 kg, so the quantity is moderate. I do not use a dustpan, but collect it in 3 layers of lavatory paper, which I put between more paper in a resealable freezer bag which I use until it no longer works satisfactorily.

My questions

  • How does flushing stack up against garbage or composting for environmental impact?
  • Does flushing have other downsides (e.g. are dog fæces so different from the human variety as to cause problems in sewage processing) or upsides (e.g. chance to recover valuable compounds)?

Related questions

These questions consider using them in the garden, but I am not sure if that works for us, and for many it is just not an option:

  • Note that you aren't required to use composted material in your garden. You can just compost them and leave the resulting compost in the pile as you continue to add more. – Jean-Paul Calderone Apr 27 '18 at 15:18
  • Related question for people with cats: Solution To Cat Litter – Nic May 13 '18 at 23:45
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Flushing down the toilet is a lot better than have it end up in a city dump where it will remain as long as the bag that contains it lasts.

You can purchase dedicated pet waste composting units or make your own. I have a bucket with lots of holes drilled in the bottom and have it half buried in the ground on the verge so that I can open it up, and drop the dog waste inside. However, it's painful to empty it out of the non biodegradable bags that I use which also have to be disposed of. The holes in the bottom are for worms to enter and leave. Of course if my dog relieved himself in a convenient location I wouldn't have the bag problem.

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Well, dogs excrements seem to be something special. First of all, they will not cause any problem to sewage-treatment facilities, as long as they do not come together with bags. It might rather be a problem to bring the excrements to the toilets because of the stench it may emit during its transport in the house.

To take up the excrements bags should be used or dustpans used exclusively for this purpose due to the bacteria (coli, salmonella, etc.) involved. There are sustainable bags made from corn, etc. However they also should not be put into the toilets because they may block the drain pipe.

Composting dogs excrements is possible, but should not be used in composts used to support plants that will be used as food later. There is a latent risk of transfer of parasites (e.g. tapeworms) which must be avoided. It was also observed that cows and horses refused food being planted on compost with dogs excrements. Being meat-eaters the amino acids in the excrements are taken up from the plants (grass, wheat, etc.) and seem to change the smell or taste of the food. As dogs initially were hunters and marked their territory by excrements this seems to influence other animals still today.

However people growing earthworms seem to love dogs excrements to feed their worms. It seems to be the best food for them since it is soft and can be eaten by the worms easily.

In any case dogs excrements should not be composted or put to the toilets when dogs receive medicine or antibiotics. They influence sewage-treatment facilities negatively and reduce the activity in every compost. They are also bad for worms.

To answer the question. If there is no medicine involved and if nobody in house minds about the smell then taking up dogs excrements with a dustpan and bringing it to the toilet would be the best sustainable solution. All other involve additional material like bags, etc.

  • I had not thought of the point about antibiotics — but how much of a problem is flushing then, given that people on antibiotics go on flushing their own fæces? – PJTraill Apr 30 '18 at 12:22
  • I do not use a dustpan, but collect it in 3 layers of lavatory paper, which I put between more paper in a resealable freezer bag which I use until it no longer works. – PJTraill Apr 30 '18 at 12:24
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    You say dogs excrements seem to be something special — what do you refer to? If it is the earthworm aspect, perhaps it would make things a little clearer to say there “the special thing is …” or to add to your first sentence “(see the paragraph on earthworms!) – PJTraill Apr 30 '18 at 12:39
  • I don't understand why you can't put dog faeces in the toilet. How would antibiotics in dog faeces be different from antibiotics in human faeces? Also I can't recommend putting dog faeces in a worm compost heap because you can't do hot composting which means potential harmful bacteria and parasites aren't killed. – THelper May 1 '18 at 6:52
  • "dogs excrements seem to be something special" I meant as being a rather complex item and in first line not recommended in composts to create plants for food. – Salt May 1 '18 at 12:44

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