Dog Poop Happens!National Scoop the Poop Week
Earth Day is Saturday April 22nd and the following week is National Scoop the Poop Week. This is a week that is dedicated to educating and encouraging pet owners to clean up after their pets. This is not only a courtesy to others; nobody wants to step in your dog’s mess, but it is also a matter of health.
Dog waste is an environmental pollutant placed in the same category by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as herbicides, insecticides, oil, and toxic chemicals. Sure, any fecal matter is unpleasant but who would have thought our beloved friends could produce something so harmful. The truth is our dog’s feces contain more bacteria than human, horse and cow combined. Horses’ and cows’ waste is suitable for fertilizer because they are herbivores.
According to the EPA, “Pet waste can be a major source of bacteria and excess nutrients in local waters. Flushing pet waste is the best disposal method. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local waterbodies.”
A single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans. Children are the most susceptible since they are playing on the ground and putting things in their mouths. Some of the parasites that could be found on your lawn include Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Salmonella, as well as hookworms, ringworms, and tapeworms.
As mentioned above, this also affects our water supplies, and for those living and working on the coast, waste could temporarily close down a bay, as well as all watershed areas within 20 miles, for swimming and shell fishing.
Pet waste CAN be composted but it a strict process and is still inadvisable to use as fertilizer. If you do not wish to flush your dog waste as the EPA has suggested, then another method would be to double bag it and put it in the trash. If you plan to take your dog out in public, you should always be prepared with some form of waste collection bag. Let’s keep our environment clean and our dogs welcome to roam!