How to Compost Your Chihuahua’s Doo Doo (aka Poop)

Today I finally built a composter for my Chihuahua’s waste.  She’s only 6 1/2 pounds and on a raw food diet, so her waste is minimal.  We’ve been just piling her doo doo in a corner of the yard for over 2 years now and the pile really doesn’t grow.  However, it really was time to do something a little more attractive.  My intent is not to create compost to use in my garden, but to simply let it decompose and absorb into the ground.

Materials and Equipment

Materials Required

  • Plastic bucket with lid (15 litres / 4 gallons – you’ll need to go bigger for larger dogs)
  • Nylon rope (approx 18 inches)

Equipment Required

  • Shovel, digging bar, crow bar or anything else you like to dig with
  • Drill and bit the same diameter as the rope
  • Utility knife

Optional Requirement

  • Level (to impress your Grandfather with your perfectionism)
  • A little helper for asking questions, getting in the way and minimizing the overall efficiency of your labours

How to Build a Dog Waste Composter

Step 1: Cut the bottom out of the bucket

Step 1: Cut the bottom out of the bucket

Use the utility knife to cut the bottom out of the bucket.  I left a rim all around the bottom simply because it was easier.

Be careful; take your time; avoid cutting yourself.  Keep your phone handy and ensure that your little helper knows how to dial 911.

Step 2: Drill Holes in the Lid

Step 2: Drill Holes in the Lid

Drill 2 holes in the lid, approximately 6 inches apart.  These are for the rope handle.

Please do not underestimate the serious nature of drilling holes for a 5 year old boy.

Step 3: Complete the Rope Handle

Step 3: Complete the Rope Handle

Thread the nylon rope through the holes, tying the two ends together in a knot on the underside of the lid.

You can do this; I know you can.

Step 4: Dig a Hole

Step 4: Dig a Hole

Dig the hole wide enough and deep enough that the bucket fits in, with just the brim above the dirt.  You want to be able to put the lid on it, but not really see any more of the bucket, other than the lid.

If at all possible, get someone else to do this step for you; a 15 litre hole is more work than you’d expect.  Holding on to your back, walking stiffling and rattling a bottle of Ibuprofen might help with enlisting aid. In my case, the family hole digger was off gallivanting on trails with his mountain bike , so I did it myself.  If you happen to be using the optional little helper, s/he will probably wander off before this step is complete but will want to come back to “try out” the hole occasionally.

Step 5: Place the Bucket in the Hole

Step 5: Place the Bucket in the Hole

Once the hole is the correct width and depth, lower the bucket into it and then tweak things until it sits nice and level.

If you’d like to impress your perfectionist Grandfather or just be able to sleep better at night, use a level and do it PROPERLY!  Don’t be surprised when you try and teach your perfectionist little helper how to use a level and he ALREADY KNOWS.

Step 6: Backfill the Hole

Step 6: Backfill the Hole

Carefully add dirt back into the hole (on the outside of the bucket), using the level frequently to ensure that the bucket remains level.  Gently tamp in the dirt and continue to fill in the hole to the level of the surrounding dirt, ensuring that the bucket is securely buried.

At this point, you are almost finished.  Resist the urge to stop and have a cold drink because if you stop now, you’ll probably never finish and will end up with a bottomless bucket buried in the corner of your yard for no apparent reason.  This will become a hazard to small children, as well as teens who wander around the backyard, not looking where they are going because they are too busy texting their friends.

Step 7: Clean Up and Admire Your Work

Small Dog Waste Compost (the blue lid conceals a buried plastic bucket)

Once you’ve put away your tools and dusted yourself off, this project is complete. You may want to paint the lid to camouflage it and/or to make it clear to passers-by that it contains nasty doo doo waste products.

Find somewhere to dispose of the rocks and dirt that were removed from the hole.  I don’t recommend that you fling it over the fence into the neighbour’s yard … then again, our neighbour has been known to fling their dog’s doo doo over the fence into our yard ….  My current strategy is to leave it in the wheelbarrow until my spouse needs to use the wheelbarrow and thus, is required to figure out what to do with it’s contents.

While your Chihuahua (or other small pet) may wish to carefully investigate the new structure in their yard, they will likely be VERY alarmed if they are placed inside said structure.

Tomorrow’s plan: Move aforementioned pile of doo doo into the bucket and locate a local source of doo doo composting enzymes.

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6 Comments

  1. Stanley Rober

     /  July 11, 2012

    Wonderful idea, for this day and age, and explicit instructions, but I know somebody who will not like the worried expression on Maddie’s face after being placed in the bucket. Now back in my day and age, I just threw the doo-doo towards the woods because there was no back fence and no neighbor in that direction. H-m-mmmmmmm. Now that I think about it, I may have just thrown it on the pellet pile that was behind the rabbit pen.

    Reply
  2. Stanley Rober

     /  July 12, 2012

    Many of the pellets were placed into a 50 gallon drum, about 1/4th full, then filled with water, let “cook” for a few days with occasional stirring, and then using a bucket could be placed around berry vines, shrubs, fruit trees, cabbages, etc. and etc.

    P.S. Today, from a local farm, I bought 1/2 flats of strawberries and raspberries. Val is just finishing up rising off two boxes of raspberries and I’m heading for the kitchen right now.

    Reply
  3. This is a great idea. Close to one I tried that didn’t work, but I obviously did it wrong…So now I have inspiration to try again (perhaps in my summer). Thank you!

    Reply
    • Alarna, I spent a lot of my childhood using outhouses … so I know there’s got to be a way to make it work. We’re just getting started, but worse case scenario is that it fills up and I have to just bury it all and start over :)

  4. JIlly

     /  July 31, 2012

    This is very clever and well written, and I love it,, but I still feel sick… even reading about teeny tiny dog poop makes me gaggy :)

    Reply

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