What’s the big deal about scooping dog poop? It’s natural. It makes great fertilizer. Rain will wash it away. And wild dogs poop in the woods, right?
These are myths – except the one about wild dogs, of course. Let’s take a look at the others.
At least 142,000 dogs live in Montgomery County. The average dog makes about 3/4 of a pound of waste every day. If we do the math, that’s 106,500 pounds of dog poop – a kind of raw sewage – every day. A lot of dog owners scoop their dog’s poop. Even so, in Montgomery County, MD almost 43,000 pounds of poop is left on the ground every day. So, yes, dog poop is a very big deal.
Yes, digesting food naturally creates waste products like poop. But dog poop itself is not a “natural” product. A fox eats smaller animals, bugs, and worms along with berries and other fruits. All of these come from the ecosystem where the fox lives. Foxes and other wild animals recycle nutrients back into the ecosystem they came from.
Unlike fox poop, dog poop has excess nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen because they eat commercial dog food. An excess of those nutrients can lead to serious problems for streams and lakes. For example, excess nitrogen and phosphorus can lead to algae blooms which leads to less oxygen in the water and that can lead to fish kills.
Please, for the health of yourself and your family, do NOT use dog poop for fertilizer.
First, dog poop could contain parasites that can make people seriously ill!
|Examples of type of parasite/virus||Symptoms|
|Hookworms||Intestinal issues and anemia. You may see blood in the stool. Pale gums and weakness are common signs of the anemia. Weight loss, dry coat, and in severe cases coughing.|
|Roundworms||Roundworms are a big concern to puppies. The roundworms may affect their growth because they compete and rob them of nutrients. Signs of infection can include; diarrhea, potbelly, and stunted growth.|
|Giardia||Diarrhea, weight loss, mucus and fatty stool. Stool can be soft to watery and can have a greenish look to it, and sometimes blood can be seen in it.|
|Parvovirus||Vomiting and diarrhea. Mucus in stool and may contain blood.|
Second, dog poop contains more bacteria than human poop. Not all of those bacteria will make people sick, but some can. Saying that dog poop is great fertilizer is just wrong.
A stream or a lake is exactly where we don’t want raw sewage like dog poop to end up. Fecal coliform bacteria in lakes and streams are an indicator of contaminants that come from all kinds of animal and human poop. Nobody wants to wade or swim or fish in water contaminated with animal poop of any kind.
Scoop your dog’s poop whether it’s in your yard, on a sidewalk, in a park, or in the woods. Then put it in the trash. Mission accomplished!
Thank you very much!
Guest writer: Gail Melson
Please visit our website for more information: www.MontgomeryCountyMD.gov/PetWate