There are a few misconceptions out there about picking up dog poop, and they need to be addressed. Picking up after your dog is an important task that is part of responsible pet ownership. In this week’s blog, we’ll touch on a few misconceptions and reasons why it is important to clean up after your pet.
- Common Courtesy – What’s that smell? There are many things that can ruin your day, but stepping in a steaming pile is definitely high on the list. There is not many things that are more unpleasant than getting in the car, and blasting the heat, only to discover a terrible odor emitting from the floorboards. When you take your pet off of your property, you are entering public shared space. It is the duty of pet owners to ensure that they pick up after their pets. Your dog’s waste is your mess, and you need to pick it up yourself. No one likes a messy shoe and a stinky car.
- It’s Just Poop, It’s Natural Like Cows, It’s Fertilizer – Not True!
A common misconception, or excuse people use, is that poop is natural fertilizer. However, this is not really true. Not all piles of poop are created equal. If that were the case, we probably would have to invest so much in sewage treatment of our own waste. Cow manure is has a very different make up from dog waste because their digestive systems, and diets are very different. Cows are herbivores, where as a dog’s are omnivores, and their diets are very high in protein. Dog waste is actually so high in nitrogen and phosphorus that it can have the opposite effect of fertilizer. It can actually burn your lawn if you don’t pick it up. It also causes all sorts of issues for local watersheds, but that’s a blog for another day.
- Disease Causing Bacteria and Parasites – Harmful For Humans And Dogs Nitrogen and phosphorus isn’t the only thing that dog poop has a lot of. Dog waste is even more full of disease causing bacteria and parasites than other types of waste. These bacteria and parasites are harmful to humans and spread disease to other dogs. Dog waste is full of E. coli, salmonella and is a common carrier of the following: Worms (several types), Parvovirus, Coronavirus, Giardiasis, Salmonellosis, Cryptosporidiosis, and Campybacteriosis. These bacteria and parasites can actually linger in the soil for years. If you don’t pick up after your dog, you are putting other people and other dogs at risk of getting sick.
- It Will Just Wash Away and Be Gone Soon – Not True! Another common misconception is that if you don’t pick it up, it will quickly break down or wash away. However, once again, this is not the case with dog poop. In fact, dog waste can take as long as a year to naturally break down. Especially since we live in a climate with a colder winter season. The other down side here is that, as previously mentioned, the bacteria still lingers in the soil. So even if you leave the poop on the ground and it does eventually break down, all of those bacteria and parasites will be left to linger there for several more years.
In summary, Poop Happens, and it’s important to do your part! Please be a responsible pet owner and pick up after your dog.