Myths about Dog Poop!

March 24, 2021

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.

Here’s the big deal

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.

Natural? Yes and no

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.


Dog poop is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad fertilizer.

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.

Yes, rain can wash it away… and into a creek or lake.

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.

The solution is not a myth.

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


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6 comments on "Myths about Dog Poop!"

  1. ACaramello says:

    It would be great if Montgomery County sent this video/email to everyone who has a dog OR cat registered in the county.

  2. jeremy gruenberg says:

    So Talking about turds? What a great job! What about other people always stepping in it? The video did not say a single word about that. Stepping in it and cleaning it out of the soles of your sneakers?…Why No mention? Tell it like it is. Yechhh!

  3. Ruth Melson says:

    This is a very informative article. Thank you! We have the same last name. Where are you from?

  4. Noname says:

    Wondering what happens to the poop and it’s plastic bag after MoCo picks up the trash? No longer an issue for our water system or landfills?

    1. J says:

      we have an issue in some of our parks, where yeah they are bagging it then flipping the dang bag into tree limbs like some twisted Christmas decorations.

  5. Ash Williams says:

    I would just like to know when we are actually going to come up with a better “solution” than scoop and put in a plastic bag to throw in the trash. The trash just goes to a landfill where the cycle still repeats itself unless incinerated which is another pollution problem! I’m all about finding the best solution to the problem but going into all the detail to tell people why to pick their poop up when in fact you’re just moving the pollution out of your backyard into a location where maybe we just don’t have to see it or smell it or step in it. I think this would be most effective if there was a solid, pragmatic alternative system to process the poop.

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