Update April 19, 2011: I’ve recently gotten a few questions about this post, so I thought I’d repost it for those of you who may have missed it. This is such a great idea for an Earth Day project! Let me know if you make one yourself.
Last week I wrote about an environmentally friendly way to dispose of your dog’s poop using a waste digester—the Doggie Dooley or the Staywell Eco Clean. They work like a miniature septic tank. They can also cost a pretty penny and depending on how many dogs you have, may not be able to handle all your poop problems.
Happily you can make your own pet waste digester for dirt cheap. You’ll need:
a large plastic garbage can with a lid hat fits tightly
a drill to make holes in the side of the can
something to cut the bottom out of the can
a hole dug with that shovel
gravel or small rocks
septic tank enzyme available at hardware stores (Septonic, Septo-Bac, Roebic Septic Treatment, Drain Out, Rid-X)
Don’t locate your waste digester anywhere near edible plants. And don’t put one of these too close to water, like a river bank, or anywhere where the water table is high. Waste digesters won’t work properly in very clayey soil and digestive activity stops below 40°F, but picks up again when the weather warms up. If you live in a cool area, try to locate your digester in a sunnier part of your yard. Also, too much chlorine in the water you add to the digester may slow digestive activity.
The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association warns that Easter lilies are incredibly toxic to cats causing kidney failure if ingested. All parts of the plant are poisonous—including the pollen they lick off their own fur. There is no cure, so it’s important you get your cat to a vet if you suspect ingestion of any of the plant. Early signs of poisoning are vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies are also toxic to cats.
Ingestion of fake Easter grass is another hazard. It can wrap around the base of the tongue or cause serious intestinal blockage requiring surgery to remove.
Of course, chocolate is another hazard, with darker chocolate being more hazardous. If you suspect your pet has eaten any of these things, contact your vet or if you’re in North America, the Pet Poison Helpline: 1-800-213-6680