Dog Care E-mail

The Scoop on Poop

Just a smelly nuisance?
Before getting a dog most people don't think too much about poop cleanup, but picking up poop is a very real part of responsible dog ownership. Besides being a stinky and unpleasant mess , dog poop is a very real health hazard. All dogs harbor E. coli and fecal coliform bacteria in the gut; dogs also can carry salmonella and giardia. All these end up in the poop. This is serious business; recently scientists started tracking the origins of dangerous bacteria in streams and seawater, and the trail has led straight to dog poop — or more accurately to owners who don't pick up after their pets. At some beaches, dogs help raise bacteria levels so high that visitors can’t go into the water.

Left on the ground, the poop can also attract maggots and parasites from other animals, pass parasites back to the dog, and often to humans as well. Bottom line: in addition to helping maintain a nice clean yard and safe neighborhood, regular poop cleanup can reduce your vet expenses and might even save on human doctor bills, too.

The right tools for the job
Scooper tools are easier to use than shovels; the best ones are lightweight and customized for the pickup task. For backyard cleanup of large areas, use a large bucket lined with a sturdy disposable bag for maximum efficiency, scooping and depositing the poop as you go. If bending is a problem, a long-handled scooper tool may be your better choice; some are even designed to work with their own disposable bags. Check online for your many options in scooping tools.

On a walk, a simple plastic bag slipped over your hand like a glove makes a safe and efficient pickup tool. Just pick up the poop, turn the bag inside out to enclose it, tie or ziplock the top, and dispose of it in the proper legal manner.

Ok, I’ve picked it up; now what?
Speaking of the proper legal manner, some municipalities classify dog poop as hazardous waste, and won’t let it be picked up by city garbage collectors. Here are your best options for proper waste removal:

  • Do it yourself:Municipal Landfill Sites
  • These often have a section for hazardous waste disposal, where you can drop it off yourself; or for a small fee, individual pick-up service may be available depending on where you live.
  • Clean-up Services
  • Many towns and cities offer a variety of privately owned dog poop clean-up services, and some will handle disposal too. Check your yellow pages and online service directories to find one in your area.
  • Doggie Dooley Septic System for Dogs

This is an excellent option for many homeowners; check your local laws to make sure it’s legal where you live to install a septic system in your yard. This device works very simply; once installed, you just pick up the poop and drop it into the hole along with water and chemical enzymes, where it breaks the poop down into the soil.