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Avatar for Matti_Green
Mar 18, 2018 9:12 PM CST

Hello, first post. Wish it were a more positive one, but today I had to take my dog to the vet and long story short, its poisoning from eating from the compost pile, a behavior I thought we had broken.

We've had our pile for about 2 years and I've read on composting a good bit. I like to think the pile is healthy and functioning properly. But now this has me concerned (especially because we mix in some of the mature stuff when we pot house plants on occasion). Is this something normal that just happens and not a problem as long as nothing is ingested or is there something I need to do? Do I need to put more cover material on top of the pile? Just had me worried, especially because my 4 year old plays in the backyard where the pile is. After seeing what it did to the dog, it got me thinking a bit more about the safety aspect of composting. Thanks in advance
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Mar 18, 2018 10:12 PM CST
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Birds Region: Canadian Clematis Lilies Peonies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Roses Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Photo Contest Winner: 2017
Welcome to the Forum. Is it possible to put a small weave chicken wire fence around your compost pile to keep your dog away from the fungi which have been making him sick?
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Mar 19, 2018 12:00 PM CST
Name: Christie
Central Ohio 43016 (Zone 6a)
Plays on the water.
Amaryllis Permaculture Sempervivums Roses Bookworm Annuals
Composter Hybridizer Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Master Level
I used to have a 4 sided wire type square "cage" that I used. All four sides came apart if needed, or just one side if I wanted to open a "door" to scoop out the compost. The top and bottom were open. I would use something like that to keep the dog out. Dogs will eat anything - even help themselves to dinner from the cat's litter box. The fungi and bacteria living in a compost pile can breed inside the dog's intestinal tract, overgrow, and create a problem. Our digestive systems are meant to handle a small amount of bacteria etc, but it sounds like your dog ingested more than it could handle. I would say to just use good sense, tell the kids that the compost pile is not for playing in, and to wash their hands when coming indoors and before meals - as you would probably do anyway. I hope your pooch is feeling better! And FYI - my cat loves to lick plastic grocery bags - and gets sick from that too - too much of anything is bad.
Plant Dreams. Pull Weeds. Grow A Happy Life.
Avatar for Matti_Green
Mar 20, 2018 5:44 AM CST

Thanks for the replies. The pile is actually enclosed. It had cedar runner boards around the bottom and top and has a heavy wire mesh stapled to the inside of the cube. Somehow my dog slipped in anyway. Now I have wrapped a second layer around it and put blocks around the bottom so there is no way he will be getting back in now. He is already better, still has some tremors going on but for the most part he is back to normal Hurray!
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Mar 20, 2018 6:06 AM CST
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Herbs Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 2
Welcome @Matti_Green ~ I am glad your dog is doing better. I am curious as to what his symptoms were and is he a very big dog? I want to know what to be watch out for. Hope your solution works on the compost security. Good luck! Crossing Fingers!
Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch
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