Regarding the hard-to-discuss-in-polite- society subject of DOG POOP, I have only 3 words: Pick It Up!
10 years in the pet-care business, with tens of thousands of dog walks logged in virtually every city zip code, it is grossly obvious that many dog owners have complete disregard about picking up after their pet. This blithe ignorance is universally witnessed in open public spaces, parks, sidewalks and residential lawns. Even more curious is the marginal effort to actually bag it before walking away empty handed. Here’s the real scoop on poop and why it is not o.k. to disregard local ordinances known as “pooper-scooper” laws and crap on your neighbor’s yard.
Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks as harmful bacteria and nutrients will wash into storm drains and local water systems. The Environmental Protection Agency reported in 1993 that 95% of fecal ecoli bacteria found in urban storm water was non-human.
To dispel any preconceived notions about the break-down composition of your dog’s abandoned litter, please know that dog waste takes at least a year to decompose and is NOT a good source of natural fertilizer. The process of making fertilizer is very complicated involving many materials harvested over time. Neither cat nor dog feces are a stand-alone fertilizing component, unless composted with other materials that will break it down over time, which only happens in a commercial plant.
As reported in a Live Science op-ed, by Susan Freinkel, On Earth Magazine: The Poop Problem: What to do with 10 Million Tons of Dog Waste:
“Per the Environmental Protection Agency, 2-3 days of dog waste, from 100 dogs, contains enough bacteria, nitrogen and phosphorous to close 20 miles of a bay water shed from swimming and shellfishing.”
Taking that to the next level, it is estimated that there are 70-80 million domesticated dogs, owned as pets in the U.S., and their collective elimination is the equivalent of 10.6 million tons of poop per year. Sh—happens.
Hopscotching around fallen “debris” is never fun for those of us who wish to enjoy an unfettered landscape and can be hazardous to a dog’s health, as well as ours.
Many harmful diseases can be transmitted to animals and humans, through infected feces. Dogs can both spread or contract Parvovirus, Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, giardia, roundworms, heartworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, salmonella and Ecoli through their dung. It is estimated that one gram of dog waste contains 23 million fecal coliform bacteria.
You should never let your dog sniff or step on public poop, given these potential diseases lying in wait.
Another healthy reason to properly remove your pup’s poop in public is to minimize the flies. Flies love it, lay eggs in it, and eventually find their way into open doors and windows, typically landing on the kitchen counter.
There isn’t a single argument that can be made for the insubordination of those who defy local ordinances and these public health issues, including “I forgot to bring a bag”- as the saying goes: “haste makes waste”. Every responsible dog-owning citizen should be prepared in advance. If you left your poop bags at home and get caught on your walk with an empty hand as you stare at your dog’s business, return to the scene of the crime later if at all possible. If this happens in the woods, bury it; next to the bear scat.
Local ordinances exist in every county, city and state, with fines ranging from $100-$500 for offenders, if caught in the act. Enforcement is virtually non-existent and difficult to employ.
Posting individual notices both publicly and privately might keep sign merchants in business, yet seems to do very little to deter errant dog owners from their civic doo-ty.
It is an absolute and non-negotiable responsibility of every dog owner to remove their dog’s public waste. In case you are simply embarrassed by that less-than-sexy bag of bounty swinging from your side, consider buying a Go Two Bag pouch. Cleverly crafted in colorful, waterproof material with side pockets to hold your supplies, this affordable carrier combines practicality with pizzazz. It’s sanitary, convenient and fashionable and attaches to your dog’s leash. Available for less than $20 @ https://www.gotwobag.com; a small price to pay for artful discretion while freeing up both your hands until a receptacle for proper disposal can be located.
The most biologically friendly way to dispose of dog poop is to flush it down your toilet. This only works at home, so when walking your dog in public, consider biodegradable bags as an added eco-friendly measure.
For further information on this aromatic topic, please read the short and insightful article from the Rhode Island Storm Water Solutions organization @
Thank you to those of you who practice compliance and courtesy. Please share this blog with your friends or post your comments below. Together, we can advocate for a safer and healthier environment all around.
photo attribution for image of one very responsible dog found @ http://discountdogpoopbags.com/
and poop sign from ebay.com 🙂