How long does it take for dog poo to break down?

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How long does it take for dog poo to break down?
« on: 27/09/2008 11:12:17 »
pam asked the Naked Scientists:
Hi Chris,
I walk my son to school through parkland that is a popular dog-walking route. Some of the owners do not always clean up after their dogs, leaving "dog dirt" along the trail. As time wears on it is gradually decomposed and processed by the local fauna. I wonder, how long or at what point during this decomposition process does contact with the feces no longer pose a health threat to humans? How does the decomposition rate change as the tempurature changes with the seasons?

Not that I plan on eating it or anything, just wondering when I no longer need to feel completely repulsed if I accidentaly step in it.
Pam in Mississauga, Ontario
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 27/09/2008 11:23:35 by chris »


Offline rosalind dna

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Re: How long does it take for dog poo to decompose?
« Reply #1 on: 27/09/2008 11:17:46 »
HI Pam get onto your local council to clean it up or to have
a "word" with the dog's owner.
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She discovered the Single DNA Helix in 1953, then it was taken by Wilkins without her knowledge or agreeement.


Offline Don_1

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How long does it take for dog poo to break down?
« Reply #2 on: 29/09/2008 16:20:41 »
I would say that it would depend on the locality. In an area of hard surface (paving, concrete) it would take longer than on soil or grass. It may also be dependant on how often dogs poo in that locality. The more dogs (or cats, foxes, elephants!!!!) that poo in the area the more insects and bacteria there may be present to get to work on it. In an area seldom frequented by the ignorant dog owner, it may take a little longer for the necessary 'fauna' (as you so eloquently put it) to arrive on the scene in sufficient numbers to deal with it quickly.

Rosalind is right, get the local authority to deal with the matter. I should think Canadian local authorities are under much the same obligation as here in the UK as regards to public health & safety, and probably a damn sight better at it!
If brains were made of dynamite, I wouldn't have enough to blow my nose.