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Are Aussies ready to mix dog poo into compost for their vege patches?

Published:03 February 2020

CQUni PhD student Emily Bryson is researching whether we can compost dog poo at home and make it safe for use in backyard vege gardens.

A novel study is checking how Australians dispose of dog poo and whether it could be safe to compost it for use on edible gardens.

It’s one of the few research projects where there could be samples from ‘labs’ amongst the lab samples. It's also unique in asking participants to think about 'standard sausages' as a reference to the amount of faeces their dog produces each day.

PhD candidate Emily Bryson, from CQUniversity’s Appleton Institute in Adelaide, is working with dog poo samples in the laboratory alongside a survey to find out how people dispose of dog poo.

The lab studies are checking for pathogens that could be transmitted via food grown in vegetable patches.

The survey is asking about poo disposal habits and the types of scoops or bags involved.

“I’m sourcing my poo for lab studies from doggie day care to ensure a mix of breeds and diets,” Ms Bryson says.

"A 2019 Pets in Australia report tells us we live with over five million companion dogs. That’s a whole lot of dog poo to deal with!

"I’m researching whether we can compost dog poo at home and make it safe for use in backyard vege gardens.

"An important part of my study is finding out how much poo dogs produce, whether their owners pick it up, what they use and what they do with it."

Data from the survey will be analysed to identify perceived risks, barriers, and interest in home-composting of dog faeces and using the end product on plants.

Results will help inform a future participant-based field trial within this project as well as potential community and council-based composting initiatives.

Survey responses can be filled out via surveymonkey.com/r/DogFaecesDisposal.