I’m assuming since you are reading this that you have a dog or at the very least have a dog waste problem. Those of us that are dog lovers know how much joy and love our dogs bring us but there is at least one nasty price we have to pay for that love. And that is the never ending potty deposits. Dog poop disposal or lack thereof is one of if not the worst part of having a dog. And sometimes it’s not even your dog you’re dealing with, it’s a neighbor’s dog that thinks your yard is the best bathroom in the neighborhood. Now that’s aggravating! Regardless we agree all this poop is a problem so let’s do something about it.
Why Proper Removal Is Necessary
Before we get into the best and most common removal practices. Let’s take a minute to discuss why it’s so important to take care of the problem and not just leave it sitting.
Amount of Waste Your Pup Makes
First of all let’s talk quantity. Have you ever thought about how much your dog goes #2? I know how that sounds and until I sat down to write this I never had either. But trust me if you have a medium size dog or bigger it’s more that you think. For example a 60 pound dog will make over 400lbs of poop a year! I don’t know about you but that’s crazy to me. Want to know how much your dog makes? Check out this dog poop calculator (http://www.flushdoggy.com/why_flush_poops.html). Go on you know you’re curious.
That’s a lot of waste from one dog so imagine a neighborhood full of dogs if no one cleaned up after fido. Which according to some sources online about 1/3 of dog owners don’t. Believe it or not that waste then becomes a hazard to the environment by spreading disease and parasites.
Types of Diseases Found In Canine Waste
As silly as it might sound pet waste is a major cause of water pollution to the point that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has deemed pet waste a “non-point source of pollution”, which puts solid pet waste in the same category as oil and toxic chemicals!
e coli – depression, dehydration, vomiting, lack of appetite, rapid heart rate, diarrhea Salmonella – fever, shock, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration.
Yersiniosis – diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, vomiting.
Campylobacteriosis –diarrhea, abdominal cramping or pain, lethargy, and fever. The diarrhea may last a week or more and often relapses suddenly after the dog appears to have recovered.
Cryptosporidiosis – watery diarrhea, dehydration, lack of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, fever, vomiting.
Giardiasis – diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and even death.
Corona – diarrhea, vomiting.
Parvo – bloody diarrhea, fever, vomiting, lethargy, rapid weight loss.
And let’s not forget the parasites including a number of worms like roundworms, whipworms, hookworms and tape worms.
One other problem caused by excessive amounts of dog waste is the eventual run off causing algal blooms in creeks and rivers choking off oxygen and killing fish and other aquatic life.
Best Canine Waste Removal Methods
So now that we’ve covered some of the potential side effects for not cleaning up after your pup let’s talk about how to actually clean up. Traditionally there are 7 common ways of taking care of business after your dog takes care of business. Chances are you already have one way you prefer but maybe you can get a few more ideas from the list below. This will be more helpful if you are new to pet ownership and the dog world. There are a few different criteria that will determine which method you choose. Those being time, money and how easily you are grossed out which will more than likely be the determining factor for your preferred method.
By far the simplest dog poop disposal method is to put it in a plastic bag and trash it or flush it!
A few keys to proper bagging are using the right size bag and learning the proper technique for using it. First always remember bigger is better. Using a bag that is too small is a sure fire way to getting doo doo on you. Second using the bag is easy simply put the bag on one hand like a glove, pick the poop up with that hand then using the free hand and pull the top of the bag down over the poop turning the bag inside out. This results with the poop inside the bag. All that is left is to tie the bag in a not and trash it or empty the bag in a toilet. Just to be clear here is a video that shows exactly what to do.
As stated above, bagging and flushing work really well together but flushing can be a bit of a pain. For one you’ve got to carry the bag in from outside and empty it in the toilet. Then you’re left with a nasty plastic bag to throw in the trash. All of which has a high gross out factor. Or if you use a scooper (covered more below) you have to carry it through the house. The easiest way to dispose of the poop by flushing is to either pick it up using toilet paper, not always practical, or to use flushable dog poop bags that dissolve in water. Flush puppies seem to be the bag of choice and are one of the most popular pet products on Amazon.
The trick with these bags is you cannot tie them closed as this will cause flushing problems because of all the trapped air in the bag.
Pooper scooper’s come in all shapes and sizes and can be as simple as an old shovel or as nice as the scooper’s shown below. Scoopers are not real great for taking on walks but are a very easy and effective way of eliminating poo from dogs that stay in a dedicated area like a fenced in yard. Simply scoop it up and then follow the bag it or trash it protocol. If trashing it some people buy a dedicated dog poop trash can which is nice for concentrating the nastiness to one area. Or you can carry it to a digester or compost pile as I’m about to explain.
One last tip about pooper scooper’s, if you scoop started get gross or you’re just a clean freak like myself you can keep your scoop clean by hosing it down or keeping a bucket of disinfectant handy.
If you’re unfamiliar with dog poop digesters they are basically a small in-ground septic system for your dog’s droppings. The digester consists of a small plastic box with a lid and an enzyme mix. It breaks down the waste into a liquid allowing it to safely soak into the ground. They are great for those that have dogs that mostly poop in their own yard and work really well in conjunction with a pooper scooper. Another bonus is the gross out factor is very minimal.
Installing the digester is simple. First and the most important part is to find a location that is away from the house and garden. Though it is recommended to be close enough for a garden hose to reach. Next you’re going to a 48 inch deep hole and install the digester. The lid should be just above ground level. Now you will fill the digester with several gallons of water and add about 2tbs of enzyme mix. Then you will add the dog poop from your yard. Don’t worry the unit will come with detailed instruction on everything mentioned here.
A couple things to keep in mind are you should have good draining soil not soil with lots of clay. Some people even dig a test hole and fill it with water to make sure the hole will drain properly. Also keep in mind you should be adding the poo every day not a week’s worth at a time. Another tip is the digesters come in different sizes so if you have a big dog or lots of dogs get a bigger digester. And lastly you should know that the digester stops working when the outside temperature drops below 40 degrees.
Composting Your Doggie Doo
Now most people would probably never consider composting dog poop for various reasons but as long as you follow some basic composting rules it’s actually a great way to get rid of dog poop. Rule #1 is locating the composter away from the garden and not using the compost on plants intended for human consumption. For a detailed explanation on how to compost dog waste you can read this document from the usda.gov site. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs142p2_035763.pdf
If you don’t have the time or desire to care for a compost pile you can take the easy route and simply bury the waste or dig a ditch at least 6 inches deep. This will allow the waste to break down over time on its own. Just make sure it’s away from the house, garden and any source of water like ponds, creeks or wells.
One of the things you can do most to help yourself no matter the method you choose is to train your dog to use a designated area for going to the bathroom. The upfront time in training will pay off in the end with less time searching and cleaning up the yard.
On a side note a training method you may or may not have heard of is “curbing”. This is the name given to training your dog to poop in the street gutter allowing rain to wash the evidence away. In theory this may sound like a great idea but as we’ve already discussed above this only lead to environmental issues. Not to mention jeopardizes the safety of you and your dog being so close to a busy street. There is really no good that can come from this type of poop removal.
What Is The Greenest Way of Discarding Doggy Doo
If you consider yourself a friend of the environment you may be looking for the greenest way of getting rid of puppy crap. Though all the methods mentioned have pros and cons flushing, digesting or composting are probably your best bets but only if done correctly. Here are a few negatives of the methods mention above.
Bagging and Trashing – If you’re bagging and trashing then chances are this is going into a landfill. And some estimates say it could take up to 1000 years to decompose. One study from San Francisco showed “animal feces make up nearly 4 percent of residential (landfill) waste — nearly as much as disposable diapers”.
Flushing – This is probably the best option but only if your water treatment facility is setup to handle this type of waste. Contact your local government to find out for sure. And if you are using the flushable bags make sure they are the biodegradable corn based dog poop bags like these
Digesting and Composting – These are great options as long as you have a good location and the temperature stays above 40 degrees.
Dog Waste Removal Service
Before wrapping up this article I would like to mention one more option and that is hiring a dog waste removal service. This is probably the most expensive option but it is definitely the easiest, most time saving and least gross for the pet owner. If you’ve never heard of such a thing it’s simple. You hire these companies and they actually come to your home and clean up the dog poop from your yard. For this service they charge a minimal fee which varies depending on yard size, number of dogs and how often you want them to clean your yard. Pricing usually starts around $8-10 per week. To find out if there is a local service near you do a simple Google search for dog waste removal service and your city/state.