A Delicate Question - Worm Farms and doggy doo doo

We recently received a question from a customer which we would like to share with you. It's not pleasant but I expect its of interest to others as well, so we wanted to share it here and our customer has given us permission to do so (thanks Candice!):

Hi, I have been shopping at CanadaVet.com for about 3 years and I love your online pet store and prices. I have a bit of a "nasty" question and not being sure who to ask, I thought I would see if you know the answer.

Anyway, here it is - can I put dog doo doo in my worm farm? My husband says its OK to put dog poop in with the rest of the kitchen waste, but my mom says no way and that the kids could get nasty worms from it. Do you have any advice?


A:  Now that is a good question Candice, and I am sure you are not alone in wondering whether you can put dog poop  in worm farms.

Dog, cat and other pet :waste are all rich in nitrogen and in principle should work well in a worm composting system.

The big health concern here is transferral of disease or parasites from your pet to humans. Of course, you will be regularly treating your pets for worms and other parasites, but you must never be too careful when it comes to health matters.

As far as health concerns go, cat and and dog waste contain fecal coliform bacteria and possibly other potentially nasty pathogens.

Cat waste in particular warrants extra caution, since it can also contain a parasitic protozoan called Toxoplasma gondii. This organism is relatively harmless for many people who become infected, but as most people know, it can be a serious threat for pregnant woman (since it can harm the unborn child) or those with compromised immune systems.

(Just so you know, according to Health Authorities , most cases of Toxoplasmos is actually result from the consumption of raw meat, NOT from contact with cat feces but you still need to take good care!)

There is also the issue of smell, and one worm farmer also told me that worms will only eat doggy doo doo if there is nothing else available.

For this reason, my advice is that you only dispose of dog poop or cat doo doo in a worm farm if it is a separate system kept just for that purpose and never use the "worm tea" on plants which you might eat.