Dog Doo-Doo Do’s and Don’ts

November 12, 2013 1 Comment

Whether you are the proud companion person to a giant bull mastiff, or a tiny teacup Chihuahua, managing your pet’s waste in an environmentally friendly manner can be an unpleasant challenge.

Traditionally, dog waste has been handled in a variety of ways, none of them particularly kind to dear old mother earth. If you reuse plastic bags from the grocery store or newspaper sleeves to collect your doggy deuces, you can take only a small amount of satisfaction in adhering to the holy reduce-reuse-recycle trinity before admitting you are simply sealing something biodegradable in one or more layers of nearly indestructible plastic. Plastic is unable to be broken down without sunlight. When your dog’s poop is entombed in a plastic sarcophagus and interred in a landfill, it could be there for up to 1,000 years before it disintegrates. There has to be a better way, right?

Use a pooper scooper? What to do with the scoopings? Putting them in a trash bag, you eliminate the middle man of the intermediary plastic bag, but you are still sealing everything up and sentencing it to a grizzly afterlife in a landfill somewhere.

Perhaps you have a fenced-in yard and your pets are free to go wherever they want. While most municipalities have some sort of ordinance on the books requiring residents to pick up after their pet, most private property is exempt from such laws. However, aside from the fact that it could take up to a year for the waste to fully break down and disappear (turning a variety of stunning colors in the process) it’s not necessarily safe to let nature take its course with this one. Dog waste can contain many kinds of bacteria and parasites that you don’t want squirming around in your backyard. They can contaminate water, soil, and possibly infect you, your pets, and especially children.

Not my dog, was just dogsitting this monster.

Not my dog, was just dogsitting this monster.

If you can find a safe and not terribly disgusting method of collecting and transporting the waste to your toilet, this is about as clean and green as you can get with minimal investment of time, money, and requiring no physical labor, perfect for renters or the non-mechanically inclined.

Perhaps you are interested in making that small investment of time and money, and are willing to do a little digging? You may be interested in installing a pet waste septic system, which uses a chemical enzyme to break down dog waste into a liquid that can safely be absorbed into the ground. Do-it-yourselfers can find many tutorials online. Of course you can also find many different in-ground pet waste disposal systems available for purchase online and at your local pet retailers. Once installed these systems require little maintenance. The one caveat is that many of these in-ground systems aren’t effective in temperatures below 40 degrees. But, if you live in a temperate climate and are looking for a greener way to dispose of your pet waste, this could be a good option for you.

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Amanda Leff Ritchie is a Pittsburgh-based writer. You can follow her on Twitter @mermanda.
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Comments (1)

  1. Susan Donohoe says:

    Another easy alternative is a dog waste compost. Easy to use and the waste breaks down into dirt. Easy also to google exact directions but in a nutshell all you need to do is have a medium size compost bin with top removable lid, a bag of sawdust which you put on the bottom ground to start, add dog droppings then add hand full of sawdust to cover. Will require some water along the way to help nature take its course. Just keep layering droppings with sawdust. Works for the house yard but not going out of course..however, there is newspaper. Depends on the quality of the food the dog is fed whether that is possible. Usually the wet yukky food makes for the same kind of end result. Check out the better dry foods (does not have to be premium) and soft bones/wings for the dogs diet.

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