It’s great to let your canine companion enjoy the yard! It’s also more than convenient that they can “do their business” without you needing to take them for a walk. But you still have to clean it up – after all, it can be a health hazard to leave animal waste sitting around. It can damage your lawn, too!
Picking up dog doo is never fun, but it’s got to be done. So what should you do?
We’re not going to get into the details of the dirty work. If you don’t know how to use a pooper scooper or a plastic bag to pick up dog droppings, you can find other sources. But let’s concentrate on what to do with the waste itself!
We’ve got a few simple do’s and don’ts to guide you in keeping the yard clean, healthy – and stink-free!
Teach your dog to poop in a certain area
Training a dog isn’t easy, of course. But if you can teach your pet to use only a certain part of the yard for his or her business, it will save you tons of trouble!
If you can reserve a space, you’ll always know where to look. This will save you time. You’ll also avoid accidentally stepping where you don’t want to!
Clean Up Promptly
Don’t leave waste sitting for too long. It will stink, and the accumulation of dog poo will damage your grass.
Some pet owners clean up right away, which is fine. If that’s not practical, you can clean up a couple of times a day or even once a day. You may even get away with leaving it for a couple of days.
Create A Cleaning Schedule
Make a plan and stick to it. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with a mess that is – figuratively and literally – hard to dig out of.
Don’t go overboard – make the plan reasonable. If you know you can only clean up every other day, then so be it. But don’t promise to do it twice a day if you know you can’t. That only leads to discouragement and letting things get out of control.
Dispose Of Waste Properly
Of course, you need a place to put the waste once you’ve picked it up. If you’ll put it in your regular waste can, we recommend bagging it. That way there’s little risk of it falling onto the street when the trash truck picks it up. Some people even dedicate a separate, smaller trash can just for dog waste. Line it with a strong trash bag and tie it up when it’s full to transfer it to the main trash can.
Another option is a “septic system” for your dog’s droppings. You can install these yourself, although it does require a hole three to four feet deep. It uses enzymes or natural decomposition to break down the waste. The drawback is that they are not ideal for soil with a high clay content – it becomes too hard to dig, and the decomposition rate is too slow.
Let It Sit
It’s a big mistake to let dog poop sit on your lawn and not clean it up. It’s ugly, it stinks, and it’s bad for your pet’s health and your family’s. It will draw the wrath of neighbors, too.
And the longer you let it sit, the less you’re going to want to deal with it. It’s a chore you want to keep on top of.
We admit: it’s tempting to just flush the doggie doo! But be sure to check local regulations first. In many places, it’s not permitted because sewage treatment plants aren’t set up to handle it. Not all poop is created equal, and there are often bacteria and parasites in animal waste that are different from those in human waste. There’s a good reason not to use the toilet for animal waste disposal!
Except for the septic system-style hookups we mentioned above, you shouldn’t just bury dog excretions. As we mentioned, it can contain parasites and bacteria.
Dog waste isn’t a good fertilizer; really, no animal waste is unless it’s been treated. Burying it could allow harmful elements to spread into your soil and from there into your plants.
Mix It In Your Compost
Don’t mix dog waste in your compost pile, either. You’ve probably figured that out from what we’ve already mentioned. The undesirable parts far outweigh the minimal benefit you might get.
A yard is a great place for dogs to get exercise, enjoy the sun, and even heed the call of nature. But that last one is going to give you some extra work! Paying attention to a few simple rules, though, will help keep your grass green and smelling like grass should.