Dogs in the Garden

A letter to the editor warns dog owners to cover their compost piles so their pets can’t eat what’s inside.

These are the four paws that “protect” my garden.

I’m in the office today, but I’ll bet my dog is in the vegetable garden right now. And I doubt she’s staying on the paths.

Unlike the family dogs that have patrolled my garden in the past, this one doesn’t like paths. She’d also rather chase bees than rabbits and chipmunks. And dog food? It’s just that: dog food. She prefers to wait for people food to pass through the kitchen and make its way into a garbage can or the compost pile.

A letter to the editor in our local paper this week, warns dog owners to cover their compost piles so their pets can’t eat what’s inside. The writer, a veterinarian, says he’s treated a number of dogs who have taken sick after getting into some bad food from a compost pile.

Hopefully these pet owners weren’t putting meat, fish and dairy products into their compost piles. That’s never a good idea.

But I agree with his recommendation to keep your compost pile covered. There are actually a couple good reasons to do so. One is to keep your dog (or the neighbor’s) from dumpster diving. Covering your compost or using an enclosed bin with a well-fitting lid, also helps retain moisture during the summer months to encourage faster decomposition. In areas with plentiful summer rainfall, keeping your compost covered will minimize the leaching of nutrients, too.

Keep your compost pile cooking with these keep-it-simple composting tips.

Running into a few problems? Read our compost troubleshooting guide.

In the market for a new compost bin? Here’s how to choose the right composter for you.

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6 Responses to Dogs in the Garden

  1. Sam Libby says:

    That IS a cute dog! Too bad she’s such a menace to the garden. Maybe if squirrels were yellow and black like a bumblebee, she would chase them a little more avidly.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great to hear the dog talk. Got a question for you. I think my dog got into licking the already washed off Concern diatomaceous earth powder residue. He threw up white crystaline bubbles? I couldn’t get through on the phone. It’s Sunday. Can you tell me if he’s okay? Cherie

  3. Hi Cherie,The primary caution on the label for this DE product is to avoid inhaling the powder.Please contact your vet directly about risks that may be associated with ingesting it. He or she would be best qualified to advise you about this.

  4. rosagallica says:

    Kathy, I’d like to warn gardeners to keep all fertilizers out of reach of their dogs. Bone meal and blood meal might be organic (to a dog, this combo is steak!), but they can sicken an animal if ingested. My son’s Boxer became very ill after getting into the fertilizer bags, and had to spend a night in the animal hospital.I keep ALL supplies on a high shelf now.

  5. It’s a good idea to keep all fertilizers, whether organic or inorganic, safely away from dogs as well as wildlife. It’s hard to predict which dogs will be interested in eating fertilizers and which ones won’t. Better to err on the side of caution.

  6. Too bad for the dog. Just keep your garbage close tight and maybe the dog will learn not to eat left overs.
    Is there another way to do this?

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