Can You Flush Dog Poop Down the Toilet

Can You Flush Dog Poop Down the Toilet?

Has it ever happened that your dog poops indoors, and now you need to go through the entire process of disposing of it and cleaning the waste? It’d be much easier to flush it down the toilet and be done with it. Wait, can we flush dog poop down the toilet?

In short, yes you can flush dog poop down the toilet, but only if it’s connected to the sewer system. You shouldn’t flush any animal waste if you have a septic system, as it won’t eliminate dangerous pathogens from dog waste. Also, never flush dog poop inside a bag, as it can clog your toilet.

Flushing your dog’s poop down the toilet isn’t as easy as it is for human waste. So, in this article, I’ll mention everything you need to know about flushing dog poop, including how to do it properly. If you’re not okay with that idea, I’ll discuss other alternatives to dispose of your dog’s waste. 

Is It Okay To Flush Dog Poop?

This is a common question among dog owners. After all, it’s a valid question because if humans can flush their waste down the toilet, why could owners do the same for dogs? The practice of picking your dog’s poop in a bag and throwing it in a bin is a common practice.

In most places, it’s even required by law. 

That method has downsides, as bad odors and slow decomposition are the worst factors of putting dog poop in a bag. If only there were a better way of getting rid of dog poop around your home. As it turns out, there is. 

Flushing dog poop down the toilet is okay under certain conditions. 

According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), flushing is the top choice for disposing dog poop. However, there are a few caveats with this method. 

No matter how great your sewer system and pipes are, it’s never a good option to flush plastic bags. Bags will clog up your pipes, and since they’re not degradable, they’ll be there for good. That’s a huge hit for your wallet. 

But what if I use those biodegradable, flushable bags?” you might ask. 

Well, they might do the trick, but not always, as they’re more expensive than ordinary plastic bags. Also, a study conducted in 2020 found that 23 “flushable” products failed to disintegrate in the water. 

Therefore, never trust the label before testing it yourself. 

I’d recommend sticking to the picking-dog-poop-in-a-bag method if you have a septic system. It’s a health hazard to flush dog poop with a septic tank, but more about that in a second.

Let’s see the best way to flush dog poop.

How To Safely Flush Dog Poop Down the Toilet

Let’s say you found your dog’s poop in your home. That makes it difficult to bury the poop in the ground and let it decompose naturally, so the best option is to flush it and clean the spot. 

As I mentioned, you should never flush dog poop in a bag

If you bought those “flushable” bags, always test them first to see if they’re degradable. The best way to do this is to put one bag in the toilet and let it sit there. If it starts disintegrating after a few minutes, it’s safe to flush. 

However, if it remains in one piece for an extended time, take it from the toilet and don’t use it. Also, some PVOH water-soluble bags need a longer dissolving time (up to 50 minutes). It’s best to test those in a bucket or a bowl. 

Advice: You shouldn’t use water-soluble bags if the dog poop contains any liquid, like diarrhea, especially if you’re not close to the toilet. The contents might start disintegrating the bag. 

According to the study above, a better solution is to use toilet paper. Toilet paper was the only product that passed the test and disintegrated, and if humans rely on it for the same situation, why wouldn’t we use it for dog poop? 

Also, paper towels might seem the same as toilet paper, but, in reality, you shouldn’t flush paper towels. I wrote an entire article about this, so make sure you read that one right here.

Simply pick dog poop with toilet paper, dump it in the toilet, and flush away. 

Note: Although it’s generally okay to flush dog poop, you should always check the policy in your city or country. Different laws regulate dog poop disposition. In the US, EPA recommends flushing dog poop as an eco-friendly method. However, it all depends on your area’s sewer system, wastewater treatment, and the state of your plumbing. 

Can You Flush Dog Poop Down the Toilet With a Septic System?

You shouldn’t flush dog poop down the toilet if you have a septic system. Septic tanks can’t remove dangerous pathogens found in dog poop from the flushed water. Moreover, pieces of debris and grass picked up with dog poop can clog the septic system over time. 

More people and countries view flushing dog poo as something positive. It’s quick and doesn’t cause any harm unless you have a septic tank. The septic system is designed to keep the waste and remove the flushed water. 

But, as SSWM states, septic tanks’ treatment “is only moderate.”

They’re a nightmare to maintain, and dangerous gases and pathogens may leak in case of pipe rupture. Also, in case of a power cut, your septic tank, if working on electricity, won’t remove the water from the tank. 

That’s why you should never flush dog poop if you have a septic tank. 

Why Is Wastewater Treatment Plant Important for Flushing Dog Poop?

Wastewater treatment plants are one crucial aspect septic tanks lack. After you flush dog poop, the water and contents travel directly to the treatment plant. Once there, the water is purified, and the waste is filtered. 

The treatment plants remove dangerous pathogens before releasing water to nearby rivers, lakes, or landfills. They kill dangerous bacteria by:

  • Chlorine contact tank
  • Leaving solid wastes for about a month in large tanks to break bacteria down

This is a crucial step as dog poop contains some of the most dangerous pathogens, including:

  • Toxocara canis
  • Toxoplasma
  • E. coli
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter

Moreover, according to the EPA, dog poop contains nitrogen and phosphorus, which are hazardous for humans.

The most dangerous is Toxocara canis which often infects humans, especially children. They’re dangerous because even some treatment plants can’t remove them from the flushed water. 

Therefore, you should always contact your area’s wastewater treatment plant to check if it can filter out Toxocara canis from dog poop. 

For instance, Anglian Water in the UK stated that people shouldn’t flush any type of animal waste because “the sewer network is not suitable for this kind of a waste because of the presence of Toxocara.”

The presence of treatment plants is why it’s safe for people to flush dog poop, but throwing it in a river isn’t. Without this crucial step of removing pathogens, dog poop pollutes rivers and is a health hazard for animals and humans

Safe Alternatives to Flushing Dog Poop

There are other alternatives if you have a septic tank or feel uncomfortable flushing down your dog’s poop. 

Apart from the septic system, other instances when you shouldn’t flush dog poop include:

  • When the flush isn’t strong enough.
  • If your toilet clogs often.
  • If the wastewater treatment plant can’t remove dangerous pathogens.

Your toilet doesn’t flush as it should? Check out how to fix the issue here. Also, read my other article to learn how to fix toilets that clog often.

Here are the alternatives.

Bury Dog Poop in Your Backyard

If you have a backyard, your dog will probably poop there. Some people leave dog poop on the grass as a natural fertilizer. This is a health hazard, and the components in dog poop will destroy the grass, but burying it in the ground is safe. It’ll disintegrate naturally over time and won’t cause any harm.

Use Biodegradable Bags 

While you shouldn’t use any bags when flushing dog poop, it’s best to use biodegradable bags for bins. They won’t pollute the environment as plastic bags and will degrade over time. 

Still, you shouldn’t leave dog poop near rivers or on the grass. Always use bins designated for pet waste. 

Dog Waste Decomposer

Dog waste decomposers, or digesters, are great for removing dog poop. These decomposers are placed in the ground, where dog poop decomposes naturally over time. The great thing about this product is that you can buy it in a store or build one yourself. 

Here’s a useful tutorial on how to make a decomposer:

Final Thoughts

In most cases, it’s safe to flush dog poop down the toilet, as it’s one of the best methods of disposing of your dog’s waste. However, if you have a septic system, avoid flushing dog poop. 

The waste accumulates in the septic tank, and dangerous pathogens, like E. coli, can be a health hazard. The sewer system runs the wastewater through the sewer treatment plant and removes all the hazardous materials. 

When flushing dog poop, never use any bags or paper towels. Toilet papers are the best option as they’re degradable, or you can use dog waste decomposers. 

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