6 Reasons to Always Pick up Your Dog’s Poop

When I walk my dogs around housing developments in our village, I make sure that my colorful poop bags are easily visible. I see homeowners watching as I pass by, and I totally understand why they are on high alert. So many dog owners are not responsible, and there’s lots of poop laying around to prove it.

A study that published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology observed people who pick up or leave behind dog poop. The results showed that irresponsible dog owners were significantly more tolerant of leaving poop behind, because they believed it was natural waste and biodegradable.

These offenders were also more likely to agree that laws requiring residents to pick up dog poop were illegitimate and restrictive.

Other popular excuses people give for not picking up after their dogs include:

  • forgetting to bring along a bag
  • not being able to see the poop at night
  • being too grossed out at the thought of carrying poop bags on a walk

The bottom line is that part of being a responsible dog owner and a good citizen is picking up after your dog.

Why You Should Always Pick up Your Dog’s Poop

1. It’s the law!

Most communities require dog owners to pick up after their pets. In these neighborhoods, there are signs clearly stating the rules. Some even provide courtesy poop bags and disposable bins, especially for pet waste.

Despite this convenience, there are still dog owners who refuse to scoop the poop.

In Jersey City residents who see dog poop laying around are encouraged to call The Poop Patrol. This group of volunteers is committed to keeping their neighborhoods clean. They seek out the identities of poop offenders so that they can be ticketed by the city’s Animal Response Team.

Don’t force your neighbors to become poop police, pick up after your dog.

Dog park

2. It’s a matter of respect for people and the community.

Even when “Pick up the Poop” signs aren’t posted, cleaning up after your dog is always the right thing to do. It’s unfair to other residents to leave your dog’s poop laying around.

No one likes to step in poop and take it into homes, cars and businesses. If you’ve ever tried to get dog poop out of the treads of your shoes, you know how infuriating it can be.

3. It’s bad for the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies pet waste as a toxic pollutant and places it in the same category as chemical and oil spills. The EPA estimates that just two days worth of dog waste from about 100 dogs would contribute enough pollution to close a beach and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it.

Stormwater carries dog poop directly into waterways. Dog waste contains nutrients and pathogens that harm local waters by depleting the oxygen in water necessary for beneficial underwater grasses, wildlife and fish. In addition, dog waste decomposes in waterways releasing nutrients that cause excessive growth of algae and weeds. The water becomes murky, green, smelly and unusable for swimming, boating or fishing.

4. Dog poop poses a health threat to people and pets.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dog poop can contain parasites and germs that can be harmful to humans. In particular, roundworms and hookworms deposited by infected animals can live in the soil for long periods of time and be transmitted to other humans and animals.

In addition, veterinary experts at Drs. Foster and Smith say that giardia and E-coli can be transmitted from feces to people and dogs. Dogs can also spread or contract parvovirus or coronavirus through infected feces.

5. Dog poop is not a natural fertilizer.

One of the top reasons people give for not cleaning up after their dogs is a belief that dog waste is natural and good for the Earth, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

However—unlike cow or horse manure—dog waste is not good for the soil. That’s because cows and horses are herbivores, whereas dogs are omnivores, and their diet is high in protein, say experts at Practica, a pet waste management company.

In fact, dog waste is so high in nitrogen and phosphorus it can burn grass if not picked up.

6. It takes dog waste a long time to decompose.

Many people who don’t pick up after their dogs believe that it’s no big deal, because the poop will quickly decompose.

This is not true. According to Clear Choices Clean Water, dog poop can take up to a year to break down depending on the climate and the dog’s diet. And even after the poop breaks down the bacteria and parasites remain in the soil.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

75 comments

Carole R
Carole R3 days ago

Thanks for the reminders.

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Glennis W
Glennis W4 days ago

Informative Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W4 days ago

Great information Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W4 days ago

Interesting Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W4 days ago

Thank you for caring and sharing

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Ruth S
Ruth S5 days ago

Thanks.

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Ruth S
Ruth S5 days ago

Thanks.

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Sophia S
Sophia Smith4 months ago

You can always dispose the poop of your dog in plastic bags but that will surely harm our planet to the highest. Poop bag for dog most popular item from the house of Nandog.

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Pietro Maiorana
Pietro Maiorana4 months ago

I proprietari di cani, almeno nella mia città stanno iniziando a comprendere e ad adeguarsi...

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Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx4 months ago

I have always picked up the poop of my dogs. Even my German and Belgian shepherd dogs. And you need a big plastic bag to do it.. Also in our city we are OBLIGED to clean up, and when the special police officers call upon you, you MUST be able to SHOW 2 bags to collect poop. I can of course happen that you already used one, and then they ask when / where you deposited the bag. If you have NO BAGS at all, be sure you will get a nice ticket in your mailbox within a week. The fine is about $ 25 for the first time, and it goes up and up each time you can not show them a bag. It should be so everywhere. There is nothing so disgusting than your shoes full with dog poop.

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