When taking your dog out in a public area it is expected to pick up his or her dog poop. In many areas, it’s the law. But living in a rural area we often hear different opinions on how to dispose of “it.” Many dog owners will let their pups poo alongside the road or trail without picking it up, thinking it’ll just decompose. Others will pick up Fido’s poop with a recycled plastic grocery bag and dispose of it when they arrive home. And how many people let their dog out in the backyard and not clean up afterwards? Some believe it will fertilize their yard. So, who’s right? Well, let me share a little insight on the poop scooping debate.

Can Dog Waste Carry Disease?

Dog waste is full of disease causing bacteria and parasites harmful to humans and can spread disease to other dogs. While the waste itself may wash away the bacteria and parasite eggs found in dog waste still remains in the soil and can linger for years. One 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.

The CDC confirms dog waste can spread parasites such as tapeworms, heart worm, hookworms, ringworms and Salmonella. Waste left on the ground attracts flies and rodents and provides breeding grounds for them.

Did you know Parvovirus, a highly contagious infection, can be contracted through feces causing severe illness and even death? Do you enjoy taking barefoot strolls through your yard? Love to garden? Let your children play in the yard? Does your dog eat poo?

By not picking up your dog’s waste on a regular basis, you may be risking yourself or your loved ones to infection.

Where Does the Poop Go If I Don’t Pick It Up?

Great question! Well, it slowly seeps into the soil where it’s directed into drains, ditches, and streams that feed our rivers, lakes and marine waters and causes pollution.

Our area is surrounded by water. We drink it, we fish in it, we admire it, we play in it. It is also home to abundant shellfish, salmon, and an endangered pod of Orca. Not only do we need it to survive, so do our fish and wild life. Water quality is extremely important for their survival.

The Washington State Department of Ecology uses an example of one large dog, one day’s worth of waste contains 7.8 billion fecal coliform bacteria which is enough to contaminate 15 acres of shellfish. That bacteria collects in our shellfish and is then transmitted to humans when eaten.

A recent study by the American Veterinary Medical Association estimated there are 1.6 million dogs in the state of Washington. In another recent study done in Seattle, nearly 20% of bacteria found in shellfish matched with dog’s. Dog waste is the second most common source of pollution destroying our waterways.

Please Pick Up Your Dog Poop!

Hopefully, after reading this article you’ll have a better understanding of why it’s important to pick up after your dog. Sending plastic bags filled with dog waste to the landfill is not the perfect solution but it’s a better choice than leaving poop by the roadside or in your yard. Think it’s grass fertilizer? Wrong! Due to high protein in dog food, dog waste is highly acidic and will actually burn your grass.

The best way to prevent infection, disease and protect our watersheds is by picking up dog waste regularly and disposing of it properly. Each of us can make small changes towards helping the pollution solution.

Carry dog bags with you when out on walks, pick up waste in your yard on a regular schedule, keep dog and cat poop out of the septic systems, and dispose of waste properly using the double bagging method and tossing it into the garbage.

And lastly, if by chance life is busy enough for you and you’re unable to keep up on your yard cleanup duties, let a professional pooper scooper help you, they are just a phone call away.

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