Canine Waste Management: Keeping it GreenPublished April 22, 2009
While most cities and small towns have stringent laws about picking up after our dogs while walking them in public areas, there is a huge amount of doggie poop which is not properly disposed of is a health hazard and, of course very unappealing. While at one time dog poop was not considered to be a major danger to our health, (with the exception of specific bacteria which causes a disease called Toxicarias), scientists have now retracted this assessment and warn people to be very cautious and careful in disposing doggie doo. Some folks allow their dogs to run freely on public and private beaches which, as bacterial levels rise and tides roll in, those levels may even force lifeguards to forbid folks from going into the water. Storm drains which frequently spill into the water supply may contain E-coli, Salmonella, Giardia and fecal Coliform bacteria. Dog poop often sullies our parks and other public areas designed for recreation and all in all this is a rather disgusting and very unsanitary situation. Of course, this is not at all ecologically sound for humans or other living creatures. Blizzard, a Hungarian Sheepdog, using "industrial strength" pooper scooper So what do we do with all this excess poo? Some horticulturally minded folks mix dog poop into worm farms as a fertilizer, but this formula is not considered to be appropriate for vegetable patches. It can work for shrubs, trees and other garden plants. Far better is horse or cow manure, which can be purchased at any gardening store. What about a "Doggie Loo?" An excellent alternative to burying doggie doo in your gardens or just putting it into a bin is to get a dog "toilet". You can get buckets designed with holes in the bottom. You simply place it in a convenient location on the ground on top of bed of stones, add a special enzyme which is designed to break down the raw material, and when the bucket is filled just pour water into it and the treated waste will simply flush away. Since there is no risk to your plants, you can just hide the bucket in your garden. If you can't find pre-made buckets, you can make one easily as described above. Just use an active enzyme drain cleaner product, made for septic systems. They only contain good bacteria and are not harmful or toxic. These products are available at hardware stores and supermarkets. If using pellets, use a teaspoon dissolved in water about once a month to keep the bacterial colony fresh and active. Most responsible dog owners carry plastic bags in which to dispose of their dog's solid waste. However these plastic bags are not degradable so are not "green". Happily, biodegradable/degradable bags are available designed to do the job effectively. With two types of 100% degradable dog waste bags which can be purchased though Animal Management Services. These bags, when exposed to light, heat or moisture will break down the waste. There are also products which contain micro-organisms as well. Another excellent product is the SkooperBox: This box is constructed with 100% recycled paper, starts out as flat, and contains a convenient leash clip. All you have to do when your dog does its business is to open the box, scoop the poop, and hang it back on the clip, and it is ready for you to dispose. You can learn more about SkooperBox by visiting their website at http://www.skooperbox.com/ What are some suggestions you can add to help keep our environment green during dog-walking sessions? Leave a comment and share.