Poop, it’s an undeniable fact of life. It’s also an unpleasant aspect of having a pet. There is no skirting around it, however, picking up your pet’s poop is essential whether it’s in your yard or out and about. It’s not just about petiquette (consideration for all the other people who use public places); it’s also a matter of health.
Pet waste contains bacteria that contaminate water sources, which can affect local flora and cause illness and disease in people. When you ignore your dog’s business on the sidewalk or in the park, you essentially leave it to ooze into storm drains and roadside ditches that flow directly into rivers and lakes.
Apart from the harmful bacteria, there is also an excess of nitrogen in pet waste, which depletes water of oxygen and has a disastrous effect on the continued survival of beneficial underwater grasses, wildlife and fish.
There are a host of diseases associated with cat poo and dog poop, the most common of which include Giardia, roundworms, hookworms, salmonella, and E.coli. They might not be visible to the naked eye, but did you know that dog poop analysis shows that a young pup with parvovirus can pass a million roundworm eggs a day? Once in the environment, these eggs pose a serious danger to other dogs and people. In fact, an area that has been contaminated by poop from an infected dog remains infectious for up to six months.
Another aspect of raising a dog that not everybody likes to acknowledge is the fact that at some point your dog is likely to eat poop. Coprophagia (eating poop) harks back to a remote past of leaner times when dogs scavenged on the edges of human settlements for food (including latrines). It is a natural reaction when dogs perhaps lack nutrients or when the feces smell particularly good (like some meat that hasn’t been properly digested and which could be right for the picking). Management is your best option if your dog has started eating poop – simply pick up poop as soon as your dog has finished her business so she doesn’t get a chance to eat it, and don’t let her sniff any poop left by inconsiderate pet owners on the side of the road.
You can also try some products which are designed to discourage dogs from eating poop, but they aren’t always effective. For example, Dis-Taste is an oral product that you add to your dog’s food which is supposed to make the taste of poop unpalatable even to dogs.
Pet Poop Inc.
Taking care of pet waste is big business, with a variety of products designed to making cleaning up after your dog, and disposing of the waste easier and even environmentally friendly.
For example, for less than $35 you can get a great product for the yard called Doggie Dooley. It’s an in-ground stool digester which works like a mini septic tank system, breaking down dog and cat poop safely and then allowing the harmless residue to slowly sink into the ground without damaging the soil at all, almost like pet poop fertilizer or dog poop manure.
If you are out and about with your dog, make sure you’ve always got your poop scoop, like the Dispoz-a-Scoop that comes with a plastic bag for easy transportation. It’s always a good idea to have a couple of plastic bags with you whenever you go out with your dog, and become a master of the poop bag knot, so you can wrap up the poop securely to ensure that it doesn’t mess or spill.
Make it someone else’s problem. There are enterprising souls who have taken it upon themselves to save pet owners time, energy and distaste by running dog poop pick-up businesses. For example, the folks over at DoodyCalls provide a nationwide service for all dog and cat guardians who need a little bit of help in scooping the poop. There is also Pet Butler, one of the largest pooper scooper franchise businesses in the United States.
A quick Google search will yield pages of results for pooper scooper businesses by area, so you can choose from eco-friendly dog poop services to pick-up pet poop services that are much like the trash removal systems provided by local county services.
Your responsibility as a pet guardian means that you have to clean up after your pets. Leaving your dog’s poop lying around for other people to step in or for other dogs to nibble on is unhygienic and just plain rude. It’s not unusual for steaming piles of dog turds to cause rifts between neighbors, which have been known to come to blows.
Be a good neighbor and a considerate citizen and help take care of your community’s health by picking up after your dog.