by Eric Hall | Pet Domestic, Manager
We love our four-legged friends. They offer affection and companionship, keep us company, make us laugh, and even help us feel more secure in our homes. For many of us, our dogs are a part our family we couldn’t imagine living without.
However, there’s definitely one less-than-lovely aspect of being a pet owner: cleaning up after their mess. We’re not just talking a little hair shedding here and there. We’re talking about your pup’s pooping habits — and how it can make a mess out of your lawn. Despite any reservations you may have, it’s extremely important for your pet, your family, and even the environment to scoop that poop either by doing it yourself and signing up for a local pet waste removal service. Let’s take a look:
1. Protect Your Children’s Health
It’s perfectly wonderful when your children play outside on the lawn with the dogs, but it’s not so wonderful if they’re sharing the same space with animal waste. Aside from the ick factor of having your children play in the same space as feces, uncollected dog poop actually poses some serious health risks.
One of these is toxocariasis, a parasitic illness that can occur when children come in contact with dog feces. That’s because the larvae of certain parasitic worms can live in the intestines of dogs, and the eggs can pass into the feces. Unfortunately, these eggs then exit in the animal’s droppings. If little kids touch the feces and then touch their mouths or faces, they’re in danger of toxocariasis.
The CDC reports tens of millions of Americans have been exposed to toxocariasis in their lifetimes, so it’s important to stay diligent. To reduce these risks, simply remove dog poop from the lawn so that there’s less chance of small children coming into contact with the parasites that cause the illness.
2. Protect your Dog’s Health
It’s not a pretty picture, but we’ve all seen it: dogs eat poop. According to the American Kennel Club, 24% of dogs in a stool-eating study were seen to eat poop at least once, so it’s a pretty common occurrence. Why would dogs do this? It might be tied to the fact that dogs are natural scavengers, accustomed to consuming whatever they happen to find.
Although it’s a common behavior, it’s definitely not a healthy one. First of all, dogs receive no nutrients from eating poop. Secondly, it can present an unhealthy situation if you have more than one dog. When dogs eat other dogs’ droppings, they can pick up parasites, viruses, or toxins. Plus, there’s nothing more upsetting than your dog coming in to lick your hand — if you know he was just feasting on feces.
3. Maintain the Health & Look of Your Lawn
We’re sure that you agree that poop is not the greatest look for your lawn. If you’re the type of person who likes to maintain an orderly, neat, and well-cultivated lawn, there’s nothing more off-putting than seeing dog poop messing up the aesthetic. And it’s definitely not something you’ll want to show off if you have any visitors on the way.
But it goes a little deeper than just the looks of your lawn. First of all, think about the odors that are accumulating on your lawn from feces. Secondly, large quantities of un-scooped poop are actually damaging to your grass. The high levels of nitrogen in animal feces can actually go so far as to burn grassroots.
And as far as your garden goes, pet feces definitely shouldn’t be used as compost for plants your family is eating. That’s because it takes very high heat to destroy the bacteria in dog poop, a feat that’s only possible in commercial composting operations. So if you want to keep your lawn both looking, smelling, and growing great, make sure you get rid of that dog poop.
4. Prevent Waste-Tracking Inside the Home
If you’ve ever experienced the sinking sensation of stepping into a pile of dog poop, we feel for you. We all know how terrible it smells, and how difficult it is to clean dog poop from the crevices in your sneakers. In the worst case scenario, you, your kids, or a house guest accidentally steps in dog poop that’s laying out on the lawn — and then tracks it into the house.
Not only does this create a messy, dirty, and smelly situation in your well-tended home, it also presents a household hazard. As we mentioned before, dog poop is not good for human health. Dogs can carry a lot of viruses, parasites, and bacteria. Their feces are known to harbor harmful and contagious things like salmonella and e.coli bacteria, all of which can cause serious illness in human beings.
In fact, one gram of dog poop can contain an incredible 23 million bacteria. As if that wasn’t enough, loose dog poop can even leak toxic materials into the air if uncontrolled.
5. Protect Your Local Watershed
Pet waste that’s not properly disposed of is terrible for the environment. Remember when we talked about the nitrogen from dog poop that can harm your lawn? Well, the total of all that nitrogen, phosphorous, and bacteria from pet feces can easily enter your local watershed and wreak havoc on the ecosystem. According to LiveScience, 2 to 3 days of 100 dogs dropping waste can create enough environmental damage to close 20 miles of a bay-watershed.
Dog poop easily spreads into nearby water sources, both through leaching nitrogen into the soil of your law, and by getting washed away by rain and snow. The feces — and all its harmful components — then go on to pollute local natural resources like creeks and streams. Protect your local water sources by scooping your pet’s poop.
Get Dog Poop Under Control
Throughout the world, societies have gone to great lengths to ensure that dog owners practices responsible methods of dog poop control. For example, an apartment complex in Braintree, MA, actually requires pet owners to submit a DNA sample from their dogs. This way, they can catch dog poop offenders in the act. In Madrid, Spain, local volunteers organized to watch and “shame” dog owners who neglected their poop scooping duties.
Luckily, there’s no need to go to such great lengths to dispose of feces. When you know how important it is, it’s easy to make it a part of your routine. And if you ever need scheduled assistance handling your pet’s droppings, reach out to us at Pet Domestic.
On the surface, we all know dog poop is an unsightly nuisance. But knowing the diseases it spreads, the damage it can cause to lawns, and problems it contributes to communities, we should all be better at picking up after our dogs.
About the Author:
Eric Hall | Pet Domestic, Manager – I have worked with Pet Domestic Pet Waste Removal since 2014, assisting our team service several hundred accounts. Our business is your dog’s business, and keeping lawns free of dog waste in Virginia, Maryland, and DC is our mission. We give our customers peace of mind, and let them spend more time playing with their dogs rather than cleaning up after them.