Why You Should Clean Up After Your Dog
We totally agree; picking up smelly piles of poo isn’t one of the high points of dog ownership. But this unsavory task is more important than you realize, and not just because of common courtesy or the law.
At least 40% of people walking their dog in public rarely (or never) pick up after them. With approximately 73 million dogs living in the United States alone, that equals a lot of poop on the ground!
Before you step out the door with your dog, here are two friendly reminders about why you shouldn’t leave that pile o’ poo behind.
Dog poop is toxic
It’s easy to assume that dog poop is natural, so it will decompose – that’s what happens when wild animals poop in the woods, right? But, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dog waste is the equivalent of an oil spill when it comes to environmental pollutants. In fact, 20-30% of bacteria in urban watersheds comes from dog waste, making it one of the leading causes of water pollution.
Even if your dog eats a healthy, organic diet, their poop still contains bacteria and high levels of nitrogen. Not only will it kill your grass, but, when left to sit, it seeps into soil, and enters ground and surface water. Once in the water, these toxins lower oxygen levels and increase ammonia, leading to algae and weed growth that impact fish and underwater grasses. They also create unsafe conditions for drinking, swimming, and other recreational activities.
Dog poop is a health concern
There are 23 million coliform bacteria in each gram of doggy doo, including E. coli and salmonella. It can also contain dangerous viruses like parvo and nasty parasites, including Giardia, tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms. All of these organisms can easily cause illness in people and dogs.
What’s scary is that most of these organisms aren’t visible to the naked eye, and dogs that seem healthy can shed viruses, bacteria, or parasites through their waste. But the worst part? These organisms can contaminate the soil for years, continuing to spread disease long after any sign of that abandoned pile of dog poop is gone.
So, picking up that poop may not be glamorous, but do everyone a favor and clean up after your dog, even if no one’s watching. The earth, your dog, and your neighbors will thank you for it.