We all have a special place in our hearts for our pooches. However, most dog owners would tell you their daily droppings aren’t the most fun thing to deal with. In fact, picking up Fido’s mess is a top annoyance for many Americans. But picking up dog poop is an essential part of keeping both your lawn and yourself healthy. Learn more of the truth about your dog’s droppings and the effect on your lawn with these common myths:
Myth #1: It’s Just Poop, It Can’t Make Me Sick
Truth: Dog waste contains millions of bacteria that could lead to some severe health problems. Allowing dog poop to stay on your lawn creates a higher risk of getting sick. Dogs and other animals (including yourself!) could step in the poop and transit tiny particles to other areas of the home. Carpets, furniture, and other spots where your dog walks can contain harmful bacteria. Common problems associated with dog feces include intestinal issues, diarrhea, and kidney disorders.
Dog poop can also pose problems for your dog and other pets. Roundworms and tapeworms are often found in dog poop which can spread to other animals. This intestinal issue can make your pets and you sick.
Myth #2: Dog Waste Fertilizes My Lawn
Truth: While you may see more growth in certain areas of the lawn where your dog likes to relieve himself, dog poop does more damage than good. Dog urine is high in nitrogen and can cause dead patches of grass. Dog poop also creates an unsightly “landmine” situation where you and your family can’t enjoy the lawn that you’ve worked so hard to maintain.
Dog waste isn’t a good fertilizer like cow manure. Spreading dog waste onto a garden can contaminate the produce.
Myth #3: Heartworm Spreads Through Dog Poop
Truth: Heartworm is a horrible disease that has become a significant problem for many pet owners. Although it would be easy to blame dog poop for spreading the parasite, heartworm actually spreads through mosquito bites.
Myth #4: My Neighbors Don’t Really Care
Truth: Your neighbors do care! Many homeowners associations will fine an owner who doesn’t pick up after Fido since the poop creates an eyesore for the neighborhood. Dog poop also produces an unpleasant smell which can cause a big stink with your neighbors. About 10 million tons of dog poop is not picked up each year creating a germy, unsightly damper on the environment. It’s one of the biggest contributors to urban watershed pollution in the country. The feces gets swept away by stormwater and contaminates creeks, rivers, and ponds. This issue has created division among many neighbors who find dog poop in their yard… especially if they don’t own a dog.
Myth #5: It’s Not A Big Deal
Truth: The fact is that dog poop left on the lawn can become an eyesore for your home. Those who pass by may think that the inside of your home is also not cared for. If you’re trying to sell your home, allowing dog poop to pile up in the backyard is a major turn off and can significantly reduce the value of your home.
Now that we have debunked the common myths about dog poop and your lawn, what can you do to keep your lawn healthy?
Pick It Up On A Regular Basis
We’re all busy so you may not have time to pick up dog poop every day. So set a goal of picking up poop every three days to keep the lawn clean. This will help keep the smell down in the yard as well as allow the grass to have a chance to bounce back. This is an excellent job for older kids, like teenagers, who understand good hygiene after coming in contact with fecal matter.
Take Bags Along
Walking your dog is a significant part of owning a pet. Daily walks help the dog get exercise and can cut down on hyperactivity while inside the home. Make sure you always have a bag with you on walks in case your pup relieves himself on someone else’s lawn. If you forgot your bag, make a note of the mess and make sure to come back after the walk to clean up after your pet.
Where to Discard Poop
Many homeowners end up gathering the poop and throwing it in the trash. This can lead to a stinky home if forgotten or left in a trash can indoors. Of course, you could always flush the poop when you get home. Some pet care companies have introduced new biodegradable pet waste bags that will slowly decompose.
Create A Designated Spot
When bringing home a new dog or puppy, consider training them to only poop in one area of the yard. This can cut down on your need to hunt for poop all over the yard and make it easier to care for your lawn and your pet. Pet proofing your yard and garden is also a good way to keep your dog safe when left outdoors unsupervised.
Properly Care for Your Lawn
For those areas of the lawn that your dog visits often, diluting the spots with water. This will help break up the concentration of nitrogen and allow your grass a chance to recover. Other options include spreading lime over the lawn to help neutralize the acidic parts. Reseed bare spots where the grass has died and consider adding fertilizer to help lawn growth.