Pet Waste Disposal Tips To Keep Our Environment SafePublished November 11, 2009
In my opinion hardly anything rivals the delight of sharing our hearts and homes with our four-legged furry companions. It is unimaginable to me not to have the extreme pleasure of snuggling up with our cats for an afternoon nap, or hearing the patter of little paws as our two cats fly around the house at breakneck speed, leaping upon a cat tree or just chasing each other while hunting for a favorite toy, if we no longer had the joy of living with kitties. But being owned by pets is not all fun and games. There is that rather unpleasant "poop patrol" which dog people must embark upon, and those endless trips to the litter box to scoop them thoroughly keeping them immaculate to suit the taste of any discerning feline. While animals are certainly not the biggest contributor to toxic pollutants in urban waterways, their waste is just one thing, when combined with other factors which add up to a serious problem. Since a dog or cat resides in four in ten households, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturer's Association and up to 40 percent of dog owners do not bother to pick up their dog's feces it is easy to see what kind of impact our pets can make on our environment. So the not so pleasant task of picking up after your pet is not just to please your pets and prevent nasty odors from assailing sensitive noses; it is both environmentally sound and healthy. So now that you have walked your dog, and carefully scooped up the waste, placing it in a plastic bag, and have cleaned your litter boxes, what do you do with the waste? We all know that animal feces if left behind, it will ultimately end up washed into a storm drain by street cleaners, or rainstorms. This fetid matter impacts our rivers, streams and lakes, carrying dangerous bacteria and polluting our aquifers. It also negatively impacts wildlife and fish. Canines carry Coliform bacteria that may cause serious illness to children and older folks. It is especially dangerous as it contains E.Coli and Salmonella. Cat feces can also carry parasites such as toxoplasmosis and roundworm which can affect both humans and other animals. Gardeners are especially at risk since outdoor cats frequently defecate in flower beds and vegetable patches. What we can do to help: Here are a few things we all can do to protect our environment from animal-related disease. 1. When walking the dog, bring along an eco- friendly grocery bag. Bring along an extra bag to share if you run across someone who left theirs at home! 2. Consider providing litter boxes for outdoor cats to use in preference of the garden soil. 3. Never flush cat's waste down the toilet. Dispose of it properly in the trash. 4. Gardeners can lay one inch chicken wire over soil beds to prevent cats from defecating on them. 5. Check for animal waste at least once a week in yards or property. Proper Disposal of Pet Waste: Make sure to double bag litter or dog waste. Securely tie and dispose it in the garbage. If you live in a home with a yard, another option is to bury pet waste at least one foot deep and 100 yards away from any well, lake, ditch or stream. Pet waste decomposers, which work similarly to mini- septic tanks, are available at local retailers and online. They break down the waste to a ground absorbing liquid. There are pet waste pick-up services. Check out your yellow pages for a local provider.