Pick up dog poop.
If you have a dog, it’s just that simple. Be responsible and clean up after your dog.
The average dog produces roughly 274 pounds of poop a year. With 78 million dogs in the U.S., that means our beloved pooches produce approximately 21 billion pounds of dog poop per year. That’s a lot of waste and we all need to do our part to clean it up.
Leave no dog poop behind
Be a good neighbor. When you take your dog for a walk, clean up whether he poops in a yard nearby, at a park or along a hiking path, clean it up.
Take a poop bag or two along — every coat and jacket I own has at least one bag in the pocket — or you can use a product like The Fifth Paw to make it easier to keep your hands clean and control the leash while walking your dog. The Fifth Paw attaches to your leash and can easily hold three or four bags of waste.
Or you can use a tool like the PooBagger, a handy tool that makes picking up after your dog easy and painless.
Unfortunately, far too many people just don’t pick up after their dogs. Or even worse — pick up the dog poop, but then leave the bag.
In Arvada, a Denver suburb, parks officials planted more than 600 orange flags next to piles of dog poop left by careless owners in a field along a busy street.
If those dog owners are caught, they run the risk of a $999 fine and plenty of public scorn.
Colorado park rangers encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets. For example, a sign at Mount Falcon park near Denver encourages hikers “Let’s doo it.”
“I have been on patrol where I’ve encountered up to 19 or 20 discarded bags of dog waste next to the trail,” Mary Ann Bonnell, a park ranger, told the NBC station.
People are quick to provide excuses for why they fail to pick up the poo or leave bags behind. But none of those excuses are good enough and since there is no poop fairy, someone else — most likely a parks worker — ultimately has to pick it up.
“You’re out of excuses at this point — we’d just really like people to do the right thing,” Bonnell said.
I’m not shy about shaming dog owners if I see them try to leave poop behind. When I do, I offer one of my bags. I get a few dirty looks, but it usually works — at least that time.
Be nice in shared living spaces
If you live in an apartment or condo, you likely agreed to pick up after your pooch when you signed your lease or bought your unit.
Increasingly, apartment management is going high tech to hold people accountable if they fail to pick up after their pets.
For example, an apartment complex in Longmont, Colorado, requires residents to bring their dogs in for initial DNA testing, which is done with a cheek swab. The complex pays a company called PooPrints for that testing and if residents fail to pick up, a sample is sent to the lab. PooPrints then compares the DNA from the sample against the DNA in its database. When there’s a match, the lab notifies the apartment complex, which then fines the dog owner.
Protect your castle from dog poop
If you don’t regularly pick up dog poop in your yard, you risk attracting flies and pests, creating unpleasant odors and damaging your yard.
Worse, you could encourage your dog to eat feces.
But what should you do with all that poop? Some experts suggest composting it as a way to get rid of it. But be warned, although dog waste compost can be used as a soil additive for planting trees, shrubs or flowers, you should not use it for a garden because it poses health hazards for any fruits or vegetables people eat.
But others say composting dog waste is hazardous because the process fails to kill dangerous pathogens and parasites that can infect people and animals.
Instead, send the dog waste to the landfill where the staff is trained to handle dangerous substances. Just be sure to put the poop in a biodegradable bag first.
And if you really don’t want to have to do the clean up yourself, book regular pickups through a poop scooping service that will come to your home weekly bi-weekly or monthly.
Bottom line: When you bring a dog into your home you implicitly make several promises. You agree to take care of your dog and like it or not, you agree to pick up dog poop and dispose of it properly.
Sara B. Hansen has spent the past 20-plus years as a professional editor and writer. She decided to create her dream job by launching Dog’s Best Life. Sara grew up with family dogs, and since she bought her first house, she’s had a furry companion or two to help make it a home. She shares her heart and home with Sydney, an Australian Shepherd-Corgi mix.
You can reach Sara @ firstname.lastname@example.org.