Dog feces are more than just a nuisance – pet waste can pose a serious health hazard.
Why? A number of common parasites, including roundworm, are transmitted via dog feces. When infected dog droppings are left on the ground the eggs of the roundworms and other parasites can linger in the soil for years. As a result, anyone who comes in contact with the soil also comes in contact with the infected eggs.
Children run the greatest risk of infection because they’re prone to play in the dirt at the park or playground and then put their hands in their mouths or rub their eyes with their hands. But even a group of teens or adults playing Frisbee or touch football in an open area could be in danger. Parasitic infections can make humans extremely sick, and for pregnant women – can pose a serious harm to their unborn child.
The Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists (aPaws), founded in February 2002, has established April 1-7 as a special week of educating pet owners on the importance of cleaning up after their dogs. With the week in full swing, pet owners should be aware of the problems concerning dog waste. The American Pet Association estimates that this country’s seventy-one million pet dogs produce over 4.4 billion pounds of waste per year. That’s enough to cover 900 football fields with 12 inches of dog waste!
What can we as pet owners do about it to keep our lawns clean and safe?
1) Dissolve it
2) Scoop it
3) Bag it
4) Hire someone
5) Throw away the grass (not your lawn!)
One of the most innovative ways is to install a dog waste septic system. It works the same a human septic system, bacteria break down the waste and it is absorbed into the earth. A receptacle is installed in the ground with a door on the top to allow you to deposit the dog waste in. Add some enzymes, close the door, and let nature do its thing. This system by Doggie Dooley claims to be the original pet waste disposal system.
There are any number of rakes and clam-shell type grabbers available at your local pet store that let you move the waste without touching it. They have a hand trigger which allows you to open and close the jaws at the bottom to remove any size of feces. Place it in a bag then dispose of in the municipal trash.
One innovative company, PooBagger, has developed a scoop that has a removable bag at the end. You can use any of your own bags, no special refills required. The bag is held to the scoop by a friction ring which keeps it securely fastened to the handle. Once done with the scooping, loosen the ring, remove the bag, tie it off, rinse the scoop, and it was an easy, no-fuss way to keep the yard clean and safe. The product also has an optional handle extension so if you don’t want to, or have mobility issues bending, attach the handle for extra comfort.
One of the newest sectors in pet care is at-home animal waste removal servies. Going by several clever names, the service provider comes to your home on an individual or ongoing time to clean up after your dogs. While the cost may be greater, on a seasonal basis, than a one-time purchase of a product or gizmo, it saves the homeowner from the repetitive task of dealing with the waste each time the animal goes outside, or that extra Saturday chore before mowing the lawn. The Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists lists a directory on their website. You can also look in the yellow pages, craigslist, or even Google to find someone to do it for you.
Throw Away The Grass!
You may have watched the Shark Tank episode featuring FreshPatch. They are a subscription grass service, that offers three sizes of grass patches they send which you can keep indoors (or on the deck, or balcony) for your animals to ‘do their business’. After the grass is unusable, throw that one out, order a new one, and you are good to go. Unlike artificial grass, or pee pads, the live grass actually helps to mitigate the odor, and doesn’t require cleaning. FreshPatch has several accessories to surround the cardboard box the grass ships in, and trays to keep liquids in.