Picking Up Your Dog’s Poop – Keeping the Outdoors Tidy

dog and woman sitting at the park

If you’re a dog owner, you never leave home without your trusty poop bags. In the good old days, your dog just did his business in the great outdoors whenever natured called while you turned a blind eye. Once Fido was all finished, off the two of you went on your merry way. But times, they have a-changed! Today, most city by-laws prohibit owners from leaving unsightly feces on any public or private property. Poop bags are now a necessity if you want to avoid a hefty fine as well as the scorn and contempt of your neighbors.

What’s the Problem with Poo?

Some dog owners are mystified with their city’s seeming obsession with poop removal. Many people think that poop is biodegradable and even good for the soil. After all, no one cleaned up their dog’s poop fifty years ago, and miraculously, people lived to tell about it, so just how harmful can it be?

You might be surprised.

Here are four reasons why removing and properly disposing of your dog’s feces is important:

It’s courteous to other citizens

Let’s face it; poop stinks. While you may not necessarily notice its smell wafting through your kitchen window, you definitely can’t miss it if you find some attached to your shoe. While it is always important to watch where you walk, you shouldn’t have to navigate what feels like poop landmines.

It is only polite to pick up any waste materials produced by your dog. Not only is it unsightly and smells bad, but it also is a nuisance to clean out of clothing and footwear. If you wouldn’t like to step in it, you shouldn’t leave any where others might either.

It actually ISN’T good for soil and grass

Contrary to popular opinion, not all poop is created equally. Because of this, not all poop is suitable as a fertilizer spread to encourage the growth of grass and provide nutrients for our soil. Different species process foods differently, and only certain feces is helpful for our environment.

Bear in mind that the diet of a canine differs dramatically from that of a cow. Diets that are rich in meats and other proteins contain materials that are actually caustic to the earth. Leaving your dog’s feces precisely where he deposits it can actually hurt the ground. To help protect the earth, it is important for all dog owners to do their part in cleaning up their dog’s poop.

It contains disease-causing bacteria

While most dog owners are careful to ensure that their dogs are regularly de-wormed and receive appropriate protection against parasites, not every person who owns a dog is quite as fastidious. Feces is an agent that is rife with harmful bacteria. Many of the diseases that can be transmitted through feces can also affect human beings such as e coli and salmonella, so it is not just our dogs that are at risk. We too could contract serious illness as the result of feces that has not been removed and properly disposed of.

Worst of all, some bacterias do not just remain in the feces; they also infect the soil they rest on. Many of these disease-causing culprits have a long life span, resulting in earth that could be contaminated for several years before losing its efficacy.

Dogs generally come in contact with this bacteria when they engage in prolonged sniffing of feces they encounter while out on a walk. The bacteria enters the dog’s system through the nasal membranes.

To help prevent the spread of disease, it is critical that everyone do their part in proper feces removal.

It doesn’t break down easily

Unfortunately, feces stands up really well to inclement weather. Many people think that harsher climates will wash away their feces woes. Not so!  Poop breaks down at an amazingly slow rate sometimes taking up to a full year before it finally disappears. Colder weather acts as a preservative, meaning the poop sticks around even longer, giving all of those parasites a little extra time to leech into the earth and promote the spread of disease.

What Is the Proper Way to Dispose of Poop?

The good news is that dog poop is relatively easy to clean up. Most dog owners carry poop bags with them at all times for simple removal of their dog’s feces. To remove the poop, simply insert your hand into the poop bag to protect it so that you can pick up the poop. Once you have the feces securely in the bag, you can then pull the bag up over the feces, thus extricating your hand. Tie the bag in a knot and discard the entire package in the nearest waste receptable. Gross? Yes.  Necessary? Yes.

Since your dog uses your yard most frequently when he needs to do his business, it can quickly become a museum of poop artifacts. We generally don’t tend to clean these messes up as often because they originate with our own dogs, and we are aware of the precautionary measures we have taken to ensure that they are healthy and protected against disease. Most dog owners like to do a thorough cleanup on an as needed basis. Pooper scoopers are an ideal tool for this job, particularly if you have a large breed dog. Poop bags often aren’t up to the task of large dog messes. That’s where a pooper scooper comes in handy.

One final precaution for owners to consider is the proper clean up of a dog who seems to have some “will nots.” If your dog seems to carry around poop remnants in his coat or paws, it is important to get him cleaned up right away.  Little bits of poop can easily become matted in fur, making them very difficult to remove. They are also uncomfortable for your dog, and of course, carry disease.

For solid pieces of poop, sometimes it is easiest to use some shears to snip out the piece entirely. For more liquid poop or poop that covers more surface area, it may be necessary to give Fido a complete bath to rid him of the feces and its smell.

Yes, dog poop removal is a way of life for all canine owners. To help fight the spread of disease and preserve the beauty of our earth, keep poop bags with you at all times to allow you to quickly pick up and dispose of any of Fido’s waste materials. The earth, and your neighbors, will thank you for it!



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