Meeting the Dog (& Waste!)
As a landscape company, we often meet our client’s furry friends as we perform maintenance or install landscapes on their properties, and we also tend to find the waste (Murphy’s Law!). As a company, our services don’t include dog waste removal; however we do recognize that for many customers, what to do with the waste is an ever present question. We did a little reading and discovered a few basic dos and do nots for dog owners.
◾Clean Your Yard – Even the healthiest dogs will produce waste laden with harmful bacteria, viruses, and even parasites that will persist in the soil or local water ways long after the waste is gone.
◾Bag & Trash it – Most municipalities encourage their residents to send pet waste to the landfill as a way to control the amount of untreated waste in their area for public health safety. For those worried about landfill waste, consider using commercially available biodegradable bags or purchasing a digester (see below).
◾Flush Dog Waste – Pet owners attached to municipal sewer systems have the option to flush dog waste, as sewage treatment plants are able to decontaminate and treat dog feces along with human waste.
◾Consider Installing a Digester – Essentially a miniature in ground septic tank for dog waste, it’s considered an environmentally friendly way to dispose of pet waste. It’s commercially available at most pet stores for a low price and relies on non-toxic, safe enzymes and bacteria to break down pet waste on site.
◾Leave it Where it Lies – Even the poop of beloved, healthy pets will carry harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and even parasites that will persist in the soil and local waterways for up to 4 years, putting local wildlife and children at risk.
◾Throw it in the Garden Compost – Residential compost piles rarely reach the temperatures necessary to kill pathogens found in dog waste (extended exposure at 140 degrees F). Using compost with pet waste in it as a fertilizer on food crops is a recipe for disaster.
◾Flush if on a Septic Tank – Dog waste tends to contain higher amounts of hair and ash (found in dog foods) than human waste, and can interfere with normal tank functions just as the increased volume exceeds tank capacity.
◾Flush Cat Waste – Cat waste can carry the eggs of a parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, that research suggests may survive current sewage treatments.