Pet waste is not only smelly and unsightly, but it is a health risk to pets and people and creates water quality issues too. When walking your dog, always carry a plastic baggie to scoop up the waste. Dispose of sealed baggies in the trash. Clean up dog waste in your yard at least once a week, and either flush it down the toilet or dispose of it in the trash.
There are approximately 1.5 million dogs in North Central Texas. If the average dog produces 3/4 pounds of waste a day, almost 1,125,000 pounds of dog waste is being produced each day. That’s a lot of doo!
Pet waste that is not disposed of properly can put your health, your dog’s health, and your child’s health at risk.
Parvovirus is a serious, highly contagious disease that affects dogs of any age, breed, or sex. It is highly contagious to unvaccinated puppies. A dog may be a carrier of the disease without even showing signs of being infected. It affects the intestinal lining, causing diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, and even death. It is transmitted by contact with infected dog waste either directly or indirectly through soiled shoes, car tires, and anything else that it touches. The virus can remain infectious on the ground for six months or even longer!
Dog waste can also affect people. Some of the diseases or parasites that can be transmitted to people from dog waste include campylobacteriosis, cryptosporidium, and toxocariasis. Children playing in the yard and adults gardening can be exposed to these diseases or parasites.
Water Quality Issue
Additionally, improperly disposed of pet waste can wash into storm drains through by rain, melting snow, and even from the runoff from sprinklers and other landscape watering. Storm drains in North Central Texas drain directly into our lakes and streams, carrying many pollutants along with the water. This water is NOT treated or cleaned before it empties into a body of water.
Pet waste that ends up in our lakes, rivers, and streams causes many problems. Pet waste in the water increases bacteria levels and that can cause gastrointestinal problems and skin reactions, making the water unsafe for swimming and other activities. Pet waste in the water also decays, using up oxygen and sometimes releasing ammonia. Low oxygen levels and ammonia combined with warm temperatures can kill fish. Pet waste also contains nutrients that encourage weed and algae growth. Overly fertile water becomes cloudy and green–unattractive for swimming, boating, and fishing.
Tips for Dealing with Pet Waste
- Flush it. Pick up the waste with a pooper scooper or slip a plastic bag over your hand. Flush the waste down the toilet (do not flush the plastic bag).
- Toss it (in a trash can). Collect the waste in a plastic bag, tie the end securely, and toss it in your trash can.
- Bury it. Scoop the waste and bury it at least six inches in the ground and away from gardens and water sources.
- Attach a small bag or pouch to your dog’s leash so that you can always carry a supply of baggies. Be creative in reusing materials for picking up pet waste. Save plastic bread bags, plastic newspaper sleeves, or plastic produce bags and use them as scooping baggies.
- Clean up droppings around the yard at least once a week. Either flush them down the toilet, or dispose of them in a secured baggie in the trash can. Pet waste composters are also available commercially, so check those out.
(Source: North Texas Council of Governments)