Picking up the Poo

Did you know International Pooper Scooper Week starts today? No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke, this is a real thing.  April 1 – 7 is set aside to educate pet parents and protect our communities, specifically our drinking water.

Ten Million tons of waste is created by the 78 million dogs who reside in the US. All this waste has the potential to pollute our waterways while posing a public health threat.  This is enough was to cover 900 football fields with more than 10 inches of waste.1 Ick!

Water Contamination

Leslie the pet nurse pooper scooper
Tapeworm segments visible in stool.

Studies indicate that about 90% of fecal coliform bacteria, which is used as a measure of water health and quality, is of non-human origin, mostly canine. It is considered so dangerous that it is in the same EPA pollutant category as oil and runoff from abandon mines, and two or three days worth of un-picked up poop from 100 dogs can cause a big enough spike in bacteria levels to necessitate closing waterways within 20 miles to swimming and shell fishing.2

Something that we often dismiss pet waste as a simple nuisance can be dangerous to humans, pets and the greater community.  It’s pretty simple, if your pet poops, pick it up.

You may be a contentious pet parent but many are not. When we go on our walks, there is usually at least one if not more landmines we have to avoid.  I’m not above shaming the non-scoopers, politely of course.  Usually offering them a bag and saying something like “I hate it when I forget my poop bag, I have an extra for you”

Your Own Yard

Poop pick
Poop pick-up is important in your own yard too.

If you are lucky enough to have a yard, make sure you pick up the poo there as well.  We’ve always picked it up in our yard but usually just once a day.  Unfortunately, our newest addition is a poop eater.  She comes from 10 years as a breeder in a puppy mill.  It is not uncommon for dogs that come from these terrible situations to eat poop as a nutrient source. It is very challenging to break them of the habit.  Now I follow the dogs around with the scooper and pick it up immediately.  If you give her more than a minute, she’s picked it up for us (insert vomit noises here).

Why Pick It Up?

It’s not just the right thing to do, picking up after your dog is a win, win for all pets and our communities. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies dog poop as a pollutant in the same category as oil spills.

Five Reasons

  1. Eliminate potential for spreading disease. Fecal material may contain juvenile stages of parasites (like roundworms, whipworms), as well as bacteria or virus that can be passed on to other domestic pets and potentially people.
  2. It’s gross. You don’t want to see it or smell it and no one else does either.
  3. Save the shoes. Have you ever tried to get poop out of the tight pattern on the sole of Van’s? I have. It’s awful.
  4. It a pet parents responsibility. This is just one area of pet care like getting regular veterinary check ups, vaccines, and heartworm prevention.
  5. It’s not a fertilizer. Canine/feline poop is too acidic and won’t work as a fertilizer (as other animal waste can).  It will damage it.

Remember it’s not just an inconvenience, it can actually be dangerous to us, our pets and our communities.

 

Happy Pet Parenting,

Leslie the Pet Nurse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

1 The National Resources Defense Council https://www.nrdc.org/stories/how-be-eco-friendly-pet-owner

2 Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists https://apaws.org

 

 

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