Scoop the Poop

When thinking about ways to enhance your life, consider making a pledge that will help you improve the health of your pet and water quality. Picking up pet waste is something that is associated with taking a pet on a walk, but have you thought about the feces out in your yard? When was the last time you took the time to pick up your pet’s waste? Pet waste that sits in the yard can cause a slew of problems for your pet, your family, and water quality. 

You might be asking yourself, what is the harm in a few piles of dog poop? For starters, there is a whole lot more than a few piles laying around! The American Veterinarian Medical Association estimates that there are approximately 76 million dogs in the United States, and according to the Food and Drug Administration, on average, a dog will excrete three-quarters of a pound of waste per day, which equates to approximately 235lbs of waste per year per dog. So, for the United States alone, our pets create ~57 million pounds of waste every day or ~20.8 trillion pounds of waste every year.

All of that waste has two natural lifecycles that it can go through. One option is pet waste remains wherever the pet chooses to drop it. Pet waste can contain bacteria and viruses that are responsible for the spread of tapeworm, roundworm, E. coli, and so much more. Pet waste that remains on lawns can lead to other pets getting sick, while also putting humans at risk of contracting diseases. These bacteria and parasites may cause abdominal cramps, fever, coughing or wheezing, hives, and possibly permanent vision damage. Some people believe that it biodegrades quickly, therefore it is out of sight and out of mind. However, the process to biodegrade pet waste takes approximately a year to complete. It is a common assumption that animal waste will make good fertilizer; however, it is more likely to kill the surrounding area or turn it yellow than to provide nutrients for your lawn.

Would you leave your dog’s waste here? Of course not! But if you don’t pick it up, it could end up here.

Alternatively, dog waste can wash away, ending up in our waterways. Pet waste in rivers is not only an unappealing concept, but it is grosser than you may know. Have you ever walked past a waterbody that was green and smelly? Perhaps it was murky, and there were signs advising people to avoid swimming, boating, and fishing in the water. These are all byproducts of the excess nutrients decomposing in the water, allowing for rapid growth in algae. This alga is unappealing to look at, but the pathogens listed above make the water unsafe for recreational use!

So when thinking of ways to help improve your life, consider an option that will promote better water quality and health for your pet and neighbors.

by Jacquelyn Buck

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