Pet Cleanup on Aisle 2

As everyone knows, your dog is going to go to the bathroom. While both one and two can cause environmental problems, the number two has really posed an environmental issue. This is especially true when it comes to leaving it on the ground but…….what can you do and what is the potty etiquette for dog parents.

Before we get to the etiquette, let’s talk about what the problem is. Yes, I know a dog’s waste is a natural product. I mean nature is going, right. The problem resides from the number of pets that exist in the world. With natural breeding from strays along with pure breeding, the number of dogs has increased over the years and with this so has the waste.

Yes, I know that waste is a natural product. I also know that, if given time, nature will take care of this waste but before this happens many times the waste is washed away, down into a city’s storm drain where it causes problems in our waterways. But what is one to do? I mean when a dog needs to go, he/she needs to go.

First, you need to understand the potty habits of your dog. Most dogs will go in the same place in your yard, so this makes dealing with the waste easier. Males dogs, on the other hand, like to mark territory and in doing so will pee at certain locations where the smell a female or another male. This is why a male dog has to stop at every mailbox. While previously, I stated that the urine is not the problem, there does exist an issue when your dog is peeing on some else’s property. What is it? Well, it is the yellowing of the plant material from the urine. The acidic nature of the liquid will burn plant material and this is way your grass along shrubs turn yellow when a dog pees on them. No, there is not much you can do on this issue except control where your dog pees but when it comes to solid waste, there is something that you can do for yourself and society. The simple answer-clean it up.

Nothing is as discouraging as to go for a run or walk and find that someone let their dog drop a load on the sidewalk. Beyond polluting our streams, leaving your dog’s gift for someone else to deal with is uncalled for. A better approach as a responsible pet owner is to carry a doggie bag with you for waste collection. Ok, I know no one wants to do this but… needs to if you decide to become a pet parent. There are several different products on the market for collection and these include simple bags to bags on sticks. What you choose is up to you but what you do with the bagged waste when you get home is just as important.

The best approach to dealing with the bagged waste is to simply throw it in the trash. Having said that though, you may be tempted to compost it instead since there are numerous products out there dedicated to composting pet waste, do not do it. Pet waste contains diseases that are easily passed to humans when used as fertilizer in a vegetable garden. While I understand that nature breaks down waste, it is better to clean up after your pet and disposing of the waste properly verses letting it lay in your neighbor’s yard or sidewalk and becoming someone else’s problem.