Let’s face it, dog poop disposal isn’t one of the more pleasant aspects of being a pet parent, but it is an important and necessary one. Besides messing up your shoes, neglecting this doody duty can ruin lawns, pollute nearby bodies of water and even spread disease. “If all dog owners pick up just one extra [piece of dog waste] per walk it can make a huge difference in keeping your neighborhood and local parks clean,” says Hailee Dix, DCBC, CPDT-KSA, who manages operations at Dogma Behaviour & Education Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Why Dog Poop Disposal Is Important
Reasons why people don’t pick up after their dogs are as plentiful as the piles their pets deposit. But even the most stubborn offenders can’t deny these hard-hitting facts:
Dog poop is not fertilizer: The belief that dog poop makes good lawn fertilizer is pure manure, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The high level of nitrogen in dog feces can burn grass and cause unsightly yellow spots. However, the USDA does say on its site that dog poop can be composted, but recommends against using it on crops intended for human consumption.
Dog poop is a major contributor to water pollution: When dissolved in water, nutrients in the dog feces breed algae and other vegetation that create scum, choke off beneficial plant life and create toxic conditions for fish and humans. Even if you don’t live near the water, runoff from rain and melting snow can wash uncollected dog feces into storm drains, polluting creeks, streams, lakes and rivers.
Dog feces spread diseases: Dog feces is a common carrier of bacteria and parasites that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can cause illness in humans and dogs including:
- E. coli
The best way to protect our environment, our health and our pet’s health from these diseases is to pick up our dogs’ poop.
Dog Poop Pick-Up Tips
Don’t Turn Your Walk Into a Crapshoot
“Ensure you always have dog poop bags with you when you are with your pet, whether you are going out for just a few minutes to stretch your legs or a nice long walk,” Dix says. Make sure your bags are large enough to contain all the feces, Dix recommends, especially if you have a large breed—which can require multiple bags. Be sure to pick as much of the waste as you can, including the small pieces that might have fallen outside the main waste pile. It’s always good to have a backup bag, just in case one of your dog poop bags breaks. “If you see someone without a poop bag, you can always offer one of your extras, which is a tremendous help for the person who left home without one,” Dix says. It’s a good idea to buy poop bags in bulk so you always have enough on hand. Frisco sells a refill kit that comes with 60 rolls of dog poop bags and two dog poop bag dispensers. With 15 bags per roll, that’s a grand total of 900 bags!
Be Aware of Your Dog’s Bathroom Habits
Does your dog go No. 2 as soon as they sniff the first patch of grass they see? Or maybe your pup needs a 20-minute warm up before finding the perfect spot to go potty? By keeping track of your dog’s bathroom habits, you’ll be able to predict when they go and even where they go, particularly for pups who are repeat bathroom offenders in the same location. Ensuring you know your pup’s habits means you can be ready when the call of the wild calls to them.
Wipe Up Afterwards
In case of bag tears or some unfortunate mishap where you or your dog come in close contact with the poop you’re picking up, a generous supply of wet wipes can come in handy. “It is great to have something moist with you to wash your hands,” Dix says. “If your dog has longer hair around their tail or back legs, they [wet wipes] can also be used to clean the hair if anything gets on it when they eliminate.”
For less frequent cleanups in your yard, use dog poop scoopers, rakes and bins, which enable you to sweep up the poop without having to bend down or come within arm’s reach of the mess. Petmate Clean Response Waste Management System Swivel Bin & Rake has a large capacity bin so you can scoop more between unloading. It can be used on grass or hard surfaces and has a long handle, which extends to over 3 feet in length. The Dogit Jaws for Grass Dog Poop Scooper has an ergonomic handle and comes with a calibrated spring mechanism to ensure you can pick up your dog’s waste every time. And the Four Paws Spade Set is made of durable, stainless steel that won’t rust. Whether you use a bag or a spade, be sure to answer the call of doody and pick up after your dog.