With a poo poo here and a poo poo there, here a poo, there a poo everywhere a poo poo.
It’s everywhere… OK?
I remember playing outdoor-sports all my life and stepping on a lot of poo. Open-fields are heaven-sent for dog owners who love letting their dog romp off-leash and poop-about. Even before I was a dog owner, I probably stepped in hundreds of piles before finally stepping in my dog’s very own poop (not sure which I feel worse about). Still, it’s hard not to notice the amount of poop one comes across in urban areas like: child playgrounds, sidewalks (grass, cement, and dirt), off the side of a curb, and even grassy areas around hospitals and business parks. You’d think the world by now knows to pick up THE POO!
I personally don’t care when a stranger’s dog poops on my front lawn during their walk. As long as the owner picks up after their dog, I’m totally cool. However, if the owner decides to leave their dog’s mess on my lawn, I make sure to run out (sometimes after them) and hand them a poop-bag to finish the job. After which, I let them dispose of it in my trashcan. I’m totally nice, see.
I can sometimes sense the public humiliation when I call-out those who don’t pick up after their dog. But I’ve also started wars with those who don’t see eye-to-eye. What can I say, it’s a sticky situation.
There are people that don’t see the fuss about dog poop being left-about. The one defense-answer that’s stuck with me is, “What about wolves and coyotes? Who picks up their s***? It will disappear on its own. It’s Mother Nature!”
Here are 5 quick facts for those that think dog poop is part of Mother Nature. And while one isn’t as stinky, it requires you to look at dog poop, so yeah.
1. Dog poop does not decompose as fast as you think—if ever.
Wild coyotes, foxes, wolves–basically choose any wild animal not closely related to domestic dogs, and their waste is 100% biodegradable. Wild animal-poop, especially that of the carnivorous persuasion, is the result of a high-protein and calcium rich diet. There are no preservatives, chemicals, or grain. It’s a laughing matter to compare the diets of a wild animal and commercialized dog diet. Wild-poop, decomposes in a matter of days. Flies, beetles, and other insects love making work of the natural waste—the bacterias in soil also love to pitch in.
Dog poop which is the result of a cheap diet (in most cases), can sometimes hold its consistency and smell for close to a year before it finally begins to break down. In some locations and instances, dog poop does not decompose at all. I’ve tested this. I have dog poop samples going one-year strong. They are just now starting to shrivel. Dogs on preservative rich dog food (usually the cheap stuff) produce waste that is also rich in preservatives. Since most preservatives are not absorbed by the body, preservatives end up being part of the stewy hominy. Preservative rich poop; how about that for science?
The only instance where dog poop decomposes to a dust is when dogs are fed a RAW diet. RAW diets are the exact natural diets a wild predator would consume. Natural diets like these also help produce less waste and a milder smell.
Some places in the world, no matter the kind of diet your dog is on, will decompose in a matter of days. Certain Eco-systems are so rich in bacteria, waste like this decomposes on its own; even the nastiest of dog poop.
Certain landscapes produce a variety of flies and beetles which feed on dog poop, thus helping with the decomposition rate in the warmer seasons.
If you’re like me, you call-out a piece of dog poop before one of your friends steps on it. I’m joking, I don’t. I love watching people step in dog poop. Maybe this will educate the world. No one likes stepping in dog poop–dog owner or not, it’s the very last thing people want clinging to the bottom of their sole.
Noticing bags full of dog poop in the backcountry makes me cringe. There is nothing natural about dog poop (in most cases); especially in plastic bags.
Dog feces can contain harmful diseases that can easily be transmitted to other animals and humans. When dog poop has a hard time decomposing, it will leach all, if any, disease. Leaching happens when poop finds its way into our sewer system, or into underwater springs from rainfall. If feces itself makes its way into natural rivers, springs, and lakes, it can result in algae blooms and ammonia spikes due to the dissolved-oxygen pet waste consumes. Aquatic plants and animals depend on sunlight and oxygen for survival in these waters. So as dog poop decomposes in water, so will the habitat.
Dog feces should never be left out in the open, especially near bodies of water. If you’re days out on a camping trip with no proper way to dispose of your dog’s waste, you should always bury their waste 6-8″ deep and 200 feet away from trails and water—it’s the law!
- Parasitic worms–Heartworms, Hookworms, Roundworms, Whipworms, Tapeworms
- E. Coli
By nature, puppies can become infected with internal parasites before they are born or through their mothers milk. Dogs that are not de-wormed as puppies will continue to have worms in their stools until treated. A dog simply ingesting a flea can cause tapeworms to hatch once inside. It’s that easy.
4. It’s the law… in some places
The four things I run in my head when leaving the house with my dogs is: “keys, wallet, phone, poop-bags.” I’m not going to lie though, I’ve forgotten the poo-bags many times. But It’s never kept me from FINDING a way to properly dispose of my dog’s doodoo.
The absolute best way of disposing of your dog’s waste is by flushing it down the toilet. It does require a few extra steps, but it’s the greenest way. For the rest, it’s paramount that dog poop decomposes (or doesn’t) in landfills because modern day landfills are constructed and designed to keep pollutants from leaching. Even homemade doggy-septic systems work great. However, tossing your dog’s waste into compost is never a good idea because it will never reach high enough temperatures to kill pathogens. And simply burying it in the yard is not advisable as water tables can cause feces to pollute groundwater. Check your city ordinances before burying dog feces in your yard.
5. Internal health monitor
Not all aspects of dog poop are as stinky, when you consider it’s an internal health monitor for your dog. Observing your dog’s poop every day is the closest any human can get to asking a dog how they feel. Parasitic worms, blood, discoloration, excess discharge, and diarrhea are all a few signs that can easily tell you your dog needs Veterinarian attention. Even if a dog seems physically fit and happy, bad-stool can tell otherwise.
Even the smell of poop—yes, I know poop smells, but sudden changes in color and smell, especially if no diet changes were made are underlying issues a Veterinarian can assess.
How many of you out there have been able to diagnose illnesses in your dog by noticing a slight change in their stool?