By Amy Tokic,
It’s an unwritten rule that responsible dog parents ensure they clean up after their pets in public spaces. However, there are instances where owners may overlook this duty, perhaps due to being pressed for time, not having waste bags on hand, or not fully understanding the importance of this responsibility. These oversights can lead to others inadvertently stepping on dog poop, only to realize what has happened when an unpleasant smell fills their car. This scenario is just one of many that highlight the significance of cleaning up after your dog. Here are a few additional reasons.
- Common Courtesy
As a pet parent, it’s both your duty and a matter of common courtesy to clean up after your pet. Leaving your dog’s waste in parks, sidewalks, and even grassy areas is not only unpleasant due to the smell but it’s also your responsibility once you step onto public property. In fact, in some urban and suburban areas, it’s actually required by law to clean up after your pet. Moreover, it’s simply a matter of good manners.
- It Doesn’t Break Down
Contrary to common belief, dog waste doesn’t just decompose or wash away. It can actually persist for up to a year. Moreover, when it rains, the water that flows over the waste eventually enters our drainage systems, carrying the contamination into lakes, rivers and streams. This implies that your next swim could potentially be in water contaminated with fecal matter. Research has even revealed that pet waste contributes to nearly 30% of the bacterial pollution in our watersheds.
- Parasites and Bacteria
Dog poop can become a breeding ground for harmful parasites and bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella, if not properly disposed of. These pathogens can be present even if your dog appears healthy, posing a threat to both humans and other pets. In addition, dog waste can carry various diseases such as Coronavirus, Giardiasis, Parvovirus, Cryptosporidiosis, Salmonellosis, and Campylobacteriosis, as well as different types of worms including ringworm and tapeworm.
These harmful elements can persist in the soil for years, creating a long-term health hazard. Not cleaning up after your dog can expose other pets to these harmful bacteria. Those who spend a lot of time outdoors, such as children playing and people gardening, are most likely to be affected.
- It’s Not Fertilizer
Dog waste is not a natural fertilizer. Due to dogs’ high-protein diets, their waste is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, which can actually damage your lawn by causing burns if left untouched. Unlike cow manure, which is often used as compost due to cows’ plant-based diets, dog waste is highly acidic and can kill grass. Furthermore, if not composted correctly, dog waste can pollute fruits, vegetables, and surrounding areas with harmful bacteria.
Dog feces not only attract a variety of bugs and parasites but also serve as an attractive food source for rats. This is particularly problematic in urban environments where rat populations are prevalent. If there is a rat infestation in your area, it could be attributed to an abundance of dog feces. The solution to this issue is straightforward – pet owners must be diligent in cleaning up after their pets. Ensuring you carry a waste bag when you walk your dog and disposing of their waste properly can help in mitigating this problem.
Neglecting to clean up after your dog in public places not only increases the chance of people stepping in poop, but it also emits an unpleasant smell. As the day progresses, particularly in hot weather, the scent of the unattended poop intensifies. This can prevent others from enjoying public spaces. Moreover, it reduces the cleanliness of these areas, potentially transforming a beautiful park into an unattractive location. Maintain the cleanliness and freshness of your local parks and public places by using a poop bag to pick up your dog’s poop.
It’s important to remember that cleaning up after your dog is not just a matter of courtesy, but also contributes to the safety of you, your pet, and your community.