Most folks have encountered stepping in dog poo in public areas. Besides being smelly and annoying, dog poop causes many environmental and social issues. Sadly, at least 40% of people won’t pick up after their dog in public areas. The act of cleaning up after your dog has become a touchy subject for most folks. Here are six reasons why everyone should clean up after their dogs, no matter if you’re out in public or at home.
It Will Help Prevent the Spread of Parasites and Disease
The Centers for Disease Control states that a single gram of dog poop can contain 23 million bacteria! The bacteria can contaminate the soil and cause infections and parasites that could even infect humans. Some of these diseases and parasites that can affect humans include:
- Giardia– causes upset stomach and diarrhea in humans, and symptoms can last up to 2 weeks. If left untreated, symptoms can also return.
- Salmonella- causes diarrhea, upset stomach, vomiting, and fever.
- E-Coli– causes watery or bloody diarrhea, fever, and upset stomach.
- Roundworms– larvae from roundworms can enter the human body and travel through the liver, lungs, and central nervous system, causing fever, coughing, enlarged liver, and sometimes pneumonia. The larvae can also go to the eyes and cause infections, scarring, and even blindness in humans.
- Hookworms– the larvae of these worms can live in the soil, and once they have contact with human skin, they can migrate into the skin and cause infection and inflammation. Getting infected with hookworms can be something as simple as walking barefoot through the yard or playing volleyball while barefoot in the sand. You don’t have to step in poop to get infected either. By not picking up after the dog, the hookworm larvae will get into the soil.
Picking Up After Your Pets Is Better For The Environment
It takes a long time to let dog poop “dissolve” in your yard! And while that poop is “dissolving” away, it is contaminating the soil and groundwater when it rains, which in turn spreads diseases. There have been many air quality studies indicating that dog poop pollutes the air we breathe. The EPA recognizes dog poop as an environmental hazard, especially for groundwater. The bacteria found in dog poop is found to cause algae and weeds in sources of water. The number of bacteria can even shut down local swimming areas due to overgrowth in the water, which can make humans and animals sick. As far as air quality concerns, according to the EPA, air quality testing in cities such as Cleveland and Detroit revealed that anywhere from 10-50% of the bacteria in the air came from dog poop.
Poop Attracts Bugs and Rodents
Dog poop that is lying around in your yard will attract flies, fleas, ticks, and cockroaches, as well as rodents such as mice and rats. Yuck!
Cleaning Up is A Common Courtesy- Don’t Ruin it For All of Us!
Many hotels, national parks, beaches, and even campsites are starting to restrict dogs from being allowed on their property due to folks not cleaning up after their pets. The only way we can fix this is to pick up after our pets. Otherwise, we will ruin the ability to have our dogs allowed in these areas.
Dog Poop is Not a Good Fertilizer
The idea of dog poop being a good fertilizer seems to be a reasonable one; after all, cow poop makes an excellent fertilizer, right? When, in fact, dog poop usually kills grass and plants. If you look at cows, their diet is mostly grass and grains, and this is one of the reasons their poop makes an excellent fertilizer. Whereas dogs have a diet consisting primarily of protein, which makes their poop acidic enough to kill plants. Just think about all those brown spots in lawns where the dog poop was.
Some folks state that dog poop can be composted. Technically it can be. However, it depends on what purpose the compost will be used. For using the compost on anything edible, such as vegetables or fruit trees, there are some extra steps in the composting process. When composting, you need to make sure the poop is heat-treated to temperatures around 165F for at least one week. Heat-treating the compost will kill any harmful bacteria and potential parasites.
Improving Cleanliness and Reducing Odors
Who wants to hang out into the back yard for a barbecue, only to be overwhelmed by the smell of dog poo? It’s not very appealing to be sitting at the picnic table on your patio and gaze upon a yard full of poop either! Not only that, kids can’t safely enjoy themselves in the yard when there are piles of poo everywhere.
Moving Forward: Tips for Cleaning Up After Your Pets
You probably already knew and agreed with all the reasons mentioned above for picking up after your dog. Here are some suggestions for doing the job a little easier:
- Carry some pickup bags when you are out and enjoying adventures with your dog. Keep some bags in your vehicle for those spontaneous adventures. There are also great poop bag holders out there that will attach right to your dog’s leash. Plastic grocery bags are also a great thing to use, and you are re-purposing them, so that’s a bonus!
- Have only a particular area of the yard where you allow your pups to do their business. Some dogs already have a favorite spot; however, if you are not consistent about picking up after them, they will venture out in other places.
- Make it a routine task, whether it be daily, every other day, or once weekly, make scooping the poop a part of your routine. Hint: This is a chore to pass off to the kids!
- Too busy to regularly scoop the poop? Hire a poop-scooper! You will save time cleaning up after the pup, and it gives you more time to spend with them and the family. Poop scooping services are very affordable.
Enjoying The Great Outdoors
Ultimately, if we want to continue to enjoy the amazing outdoors with our furry friends, we have to remember to take care of the environment by picking up after them. It is the least enjoyable task of owning a pet, but it is part of the responsibility. If we all work together at this, we can make a significant impact on the communities that we live and play in. Whether it is a relaxing day at home in the yard, or taking the family out on an adventure, remember to pick up after your pet, and enjoy yourself!