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Dog Waste Composting

Dog Waste Composting 

Over 350,000 dogs in Metro Vancouver produce dog waste each day. Where should it go?

Keeping dog waste off the ground is important. People walk on paths and parks and no one wants to step or slip in your dog's waste. It's not a fertilizer, and does not disappear in the rain.

Dogs at home

Flush it - Dog waste can be flushed in the toilet, and treated at a wastewater treatment plant with other sewage. Don't put it in a storm sewer (on your street) as these carry rain to natural creeks.

*Note: Don't flush any bags. They will clog your plumbing, or the city sewer.

Call a collection service - There are companies that collect dog waste from prviate and public spaces. This is also a good option in townhouses or apartments where numerous dog owners cost-share. Search the web under 'dog waste collection'.

Build a composter on your garden - Dog waste will decompose cleanly and without odour in a composter. City Farmer provides instructions. Allocate a bin to this purpose only. The resulting compost can be used on shrubs.

*Note: Don't put the resulting compost, or composter on or near your vegetable garden. If you live near a stream, place your composter away from the stream, as the runoff can contain a lot of nutrients (phosphorous and nitrogen) which not good for streams. Do not dig below groundwater.

Garbage - Pet waste is listed as prohibited from the region's garbage, but small amounts are accepted preferably double-bagged and put in the next pick-up.

We want to limit the amount of dog waste going to the landfill. It’s potentially hazardous to staff and it also produces methane, a powerful green house gas. On warm days it smells in bags, the garbage bin and work places. We encourage the alternatives listed above.

Other pets, and other places

Litter boxes (hamsters, rabbits and similar) - Remove clumps and either flush, compost or put them in the garbage, preferably double-bagged. After clumps are removed, loose litter (sawdust, corn husks, wood shavings, newsprint) can be composted, in some areas it can be placed in the yard trimmings bin for municipal pick-up (check with your municipality first), or bagged in the garbage.

Cats - Cat feces can contain a parasite Toxoplasma gondii linked to the disease toxoplasmosis. It is unsafe for people, especially pregnant women. More information

Cat feces should not be flushed, handled (always wear gloves to clean a litter box) or composted. Dispose of it double-bagged in the garbage. All litter (even litter sold as flushable) can clog your sewer, or your building or city sewer, and should not be flushed.

Kennels - Large quantities of dog or other animal waste cannot go in the garbage. Dog kennel operators can call a collection service.  Cat kennel operators can call a collection service, or make an arrangement with their closest transfer station.

Parks and pet waste

Some local parks estimate up to 300,000 dog visits each year. If you visit any park, ensure you clean up after your pet, and at minimum use the garbage. Parks are changing too. Some have designated bins, septic tanks and even dog toilets. Using these correctly, where available, will ensure that more environmentally responsible options are available in the future.

 Ecosafe Plastics - purchase biodegradable bags online
 City Farmer - dog waste composting advice

 Dealing with dog waste in Vancouver parks report

What is your experience?
We would like to hear from you if you have tried dog waste composting and have useful information to share with others.
e-mail Email with your comments

  • There are about 350,000 dogs living in the Lower Mainland.

Opening a pet waste collection company? Contact Metro Vancouver's Regulation and Enforcement Division at via email or call 604-432-6200 to find out how to access a wastewater treatment plant.


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