Greetings everyone and welcome back to Green Tip Tuesday after a BRIEF hiatus! I apologize we haven't connected in so long, so let's just skip that awkward first ten minutes of small talk and witty banter, and pretend it’s the good old days again. We are kicking off this spring with a Green Tip that is near and dear to my heart and something that Kayne West is so passionate for he wrote a song about it; CLEANING. UP. YOUR. DOG’S. POOP. It’s freakin’ everywhere.
Now, before we start discussing why we need to clean up after our K-9 companions, we’re going to bust some myths about why it may seem ok to leave your dog’s poop behind. “Cow poop is used for manure and we grow food with that” and “but all animals poop, it’s natural,” are two of the biggest arguments against being a responsible dog owner that I hear, so I’ll address those quickly. Cows are herbivores, their poop is entirely broken down plant matter so it’s essentially compost (there’s more science involved but that’s the jist of it). Dogs have a much wider range of diet and leave behind rather acidic leftovers that will almost definitely kill whatever it plops on. And yes, poop is natural, but wild animals are leaving behind nutrients they take out of their immediate environment, while your dog is leaving contents that are high in phosphorous and nitrogen, and very possibly not natural to that environment.
Crazy enough, the EPA has actually denounced dog poop as an environmental pollutant and a human health hazard. In fact, dog poop can contain up to 23 million fecal coliform bacteria per gram and can contain all sorts of parasites, worms, and diseases, while cow manure only contains about ¼ million fecal coliform bacteria per gram (humans about 13 million per gram). Before we move on, by no means am I saying “go out and play with cow poop it’s all good,” that’s just the comparison here.
With that said, dog poop contains a comparatively large amount of bacteria and harmful components, all of which, if not handled properly, can work its way into our environment, immediate and distant. For instance, if you leave dog poop in your lawn or in public green spaces, organisms like tapeworms, ringworms etc… and diseases like Giardia and Salmonella can stay dormant in soils for years, endangering anyone who comes in contact with them, even the pooch. Likewise, these organisms, as well as excess nutrients, can seep into nearby waterways and large bodies of water, affecting the health of that environment and the humans, animals, and plants that use those ecosystems. The “EPA even estimates that two or three day’s worth of droppings from a population of about 100 dogs would contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it, to swimming and shellfishing.” Holy moly.
Aside from all the environmental benefits of cleaning up after your dog, it’s just plain annoying if you don’t. Seeing it and smelling it is one thing, STEPPING IN IT is an absolute mood kill and I can guarantee you will not be smiling after you do the semi-split slip strolling through the park with your friends. Also, small dog owners. I see you out there. Pick up your dog’s poop too, I don’t care how small it is. If you can’t clean up after your pet, then you can’t have one, plain and simple. Scoop the poop people. Scoop. The. Poop.
Anyway, that’s it for now! Thanks for reading in and joining us on another wonderous Green Tip Tuesday. Stay tuned for more tips in the near future as well as some Powe. Mountain Project mountain cleanups coming to a mountain near you!
**Full Disclosure: The song mentioned above, “Lift Yourself”, is not actually about cleaning up after your dog but if you listen carefully Kanye does throw a quick “scoop-di-poop” in there. It’s a subliminal message kind of thing. Also, I am almost positive Kanye doesn’t care about this topic at all so disregard the first paragraph all together I guess.
** Sorry this was a bit long. I vented for a bit there. I hate stepping in dog poop.