We often view someone who doesn’t pick up after their dog to be a rude, inconsiderate, and perhaps lazy person who can’t be bothered. Surprisingly, it is estimated that a mind-blowing 40% of American dog walkers don’t pick up after their dog. Since the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has deemed dog poop to be a dangerous pollutant, in the same category as toxic chemicals and oil, it is so important that we, as responsible dog owners, pick up after our pups to keep our community healthy, happy and safe. So why are there still so many that refuse to do the dirty deed? Let’s take a look at the “Top ten reasons why people don’t pick up dog poop”.
1. Forgot bags at home
Problem: How many times have you been out walking your dog on a nice day and all of sudden your dog squats to do his business, and that’s when you realize, “I forgot the bags!” This, of course, is not the first time this has happened, so how can you get in the habit of bringing poop bags with you?
A good trick to remember your bags on every walk is have them situated right next to your where you hang your dog’s leash. Better yet, you can purchase a poop bag holder with a clip that you can attach directly to the leash and just leave there. These poop bag holders typically carry up to 20 bags and can be easily refilled with most standard size dog poop rolls. You could also clip it to your handbag, a belt loop, or a necklace if you prefer. Here are two highly recommended bag dispensers:
Bark Plus Bags (has nice tear off feature)
2. Can’t see at night
Problem: You try to be that responsible pet owner, you have a bag ready in hand for when your dog decides to make a drop, but when he finally does, you can’t find his dung! The darkness of the night has blended the poopies into the shadows and made them near impossible to see. Are you doomed to turn into a poop-leaving criminal every day when the sun goes down?
Can’t see at night? Flashlight to the rescue! These days, flashlights don’t have to be big and bulky, but can be small enough to fit in your pocket. You can also get miniature flashlights that can go on your keychain and still be bright enough to help spot any manure. Have a smartphone? See if your phone has a flashlight mode that you can easily switch on and off. Not only will the light assist you in your search for stool, it can also increase your safety while on your walk in the dark. You’ll be more visible to cars passing by, and you will also be able to see more of what’s on the path in front of you, avoiding any possible objects that you could trip over.
3. Don’t want to carry a gross poopie bag
Problem: This is probably the most common reason why people don’t pick up after their dogs. To be honest, I don’t fully blame them, I get it. It’s smelly, it’s gross, not to mention full of bacteria. In fact, just one gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal bacteria. What’s that saying? “It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it”. As long as you have a poop bag that blocks any interaction between the poop and your skin, you should be fine. But still there’s the problem of having to carry the icky bag around until you reach the nearest waste bin that is minutes away, and for many, this can feel like an eternity of poop handling.
There are actually many products that have recently come out that address this very issue. These solutions allow the dog owner to clip the filled poopie bag to the leash, thus removing the need for the owner to carry it for the remaining duration of the walk.
*Looking for a cheaper option? Something as simple as a binder clip can be a quick solution to attach the bag to the leash
4. Don’t want to pick up while in the middle of a run
Problem: Jogging with your dog can be a great exercise for you and your furry companion. There’s nothing like a good run in the sunshine to relieve some stress, although that stress can suddenly come rushing back when your dog decides to take a short break to “spray some mud”. You can’t see yourself running with a flopping bag of poo in your hand… so do you just leave it there? Some joggers may choose to bag it and leave it on the ground, planning to pick it up on the way back. Unfortunately, more often than not, they forget to come back to reclaim it, and the unwanted bag is left out on some poor homeowner’s front lawn.
Besides the items mentioned above that allow you to attach a poopie bag to your leash, there are also some other products to consider that are geared more towards jogging and hiking. .
Turdle Bag is similar to a small miniature knapsack that clips onto your leash to store both new and use poopie bags, allowing you to remain hands-free.
PoopPac is quickly becoming a very popular item. It is a standalone bag rather than an attachment, comes with a strap, and contains two sections – one to hold your dirty poopie bag, and the other to hold your personal belongings.
5. Thinking that dog poop will naturally (and quickly) break down into ground
Problem: The common misconception is that poop is natural, and therefore should be given back to nature and allowed to simply seep into the ground.
Sadly, this is very far from the truth. Dog waste can take months, or even years to decompose, and can be very toxic to the soil. They can contains loads of parasites such as ringworm, roundworm, salmonella and giardia, which is contagious to both humans and other animals alike. Even more disturbing, just one dog produces about 275 lbs of waste per year. So if no one picked up after their dog, we would all be most likely swimming in it.To have the waste be safely composted, it would need to be placed in a container and routinely monitored to ensure a temperature of at least 165°F for at least 5 days to securely in order to kill off any pathogens it may contain. The solution here is to not do that and to please pick up your dog’s excretions.
6. Forget to buy bags
Problem: Maybe you don’t fall into the other categories, and are in fact so good at picking up after your dog that you have quickly exhausted your poopie bag supply. But then the problem is, you forget to replenish your stock in time for your dog’s next nature call. Is there a convenient way to keep your inventory plentiful to avoid being stuck in a stinky situation?
The Amazon Subscribe & Save service is a great way to reorder basically anything you need to resupply on a monthly basis. From toilet paper, to napkins, to certain foods, and of course dog poop bags, you can schedule automatic delivery to your house so you don’t have to worry about it again. Simply calculate how many bags you typically would use in a month and set up a monthly subscription for that very amount. You could also buy a higher quantity at once and spread the deliveries out every 3 months or so.Prefer to purchase your bags at a local store? Mark it down in your calendar, or set up an alert on your phone to remind you to purchase bags on the first of each month.In the meantime, try to look for an old grocery bag or dare I say it, a ziploc bag to use for the upcoming walk. Not ideal, but will get the job done for now.
7. Too cheap to buy bags
Problem: Many people don’t like the idea of using so many poop bags as it’s the equivalent of just throwing away money. They’ve already spent so much on vet bills, medications, and food, so they see the doggie bags as another expense that they’d rather avoid.
People need to realize that poop bags are just another hygienic tool such as q-tips, cotton balls, band-aids, and latex gloves – all disposable, but necessary. And if you really think about it, say your dog poops three times a day, multiply that by the 365 days in a year and that comes out to 1,095 bags. Although a big number, you’ll find that 1000 doggie bags are only about $20-$40 total online, far less amount than your average vet bill and certainly worth it to avoid having neighbors giving you ugly stares.
8. No nearby waste bin
Problem: Imagine you go out to an open field, planning to spend a few fun-filled hours playing fetch with your dog. Everything is going well until BOOM – dog poop alert. You then come to realize there is no dog waste bin available. Do you even bother picking it up? And then what? Hold onto the bag the rest of the time, and then drive home with the rancid thing in your car?
Well frankly, if there is no waste bin, then yes, plan on driving home with some poo in your car. However, if you feel that is quite a frequented spot for dogs and believe a pet waste station is in dire need here, you can contact your county’s waste departemt to request one to be installed.Alternatively, you can contact your local pet waste removal company to install one and service it and on a frequent basis. Although a pet waste removal company would charge for this service, you and all the dog-lovers in your community can chip in to make this happen.
9. Physically unable to bend down
Problem: We can definitely be a little more sympathetic with this one. A common issue with the elderly and those who are disabled, is that it is very hard for them to physically bend down far enough to reach the stool with their bag. But as we all know, ignoring it or nudging it under a bush will still pose a health threat to those around. Luckily there are several solutions.
There are a few devices found online that can help pick up and store the poop while on the go.
The Gogostik is a simple, yet ingenious invention that let’s you easily attach a plastic bag to the end of the stick and scoop up the doodies – you then lift up the stick, pull off the bag and tie it closed. Voila! You now have a beautiful poop-filled bag.
The Auggie Dog is an impressive design using more advanced technologies. Although a bit bulky to carry, this amazing device can simply be placed over the dog poop, and then somehow ‘suck’ the poopie up, where you can later press a button to release all of it into a trashcan.
10. No one will see it
Problem: So many times (more than one would like to admit), one will walk their dog on a nature hike, either in the middle of the woods, or on some disclosed pathway you found near your house, and not even think to pick up after your dog. Why? One just assumes that since no one else is going to see it and since no one lives near it, it’s not going to bother anybody.
This is an obvious case of lacking knowledge of the dangers lurking inside dog waste. When a dog’s waste is excreted, out with it will be both parasites and parasitic eggs. Some of these eggs are highly resistant to hot and cold temperatures, and can multiply up to 2,000 eggs per day. But these eggs won’t stay in one place. A combination of both wind and rain can transport these pathogens far away from their original position. The eggs can congregate into a small puddle, which another dog or animal may drink out of and potentially contract an infection. The bigger problem being if it ends up in a bigger source of water such as a nearby pond or lake, where it can consume the oxygen and release ammonia, polluting our resources and afflictingthe fish that reside there. Solution = pick up no matter wherever you are.
When it comes down to it, picking up your dog’s poop can be just as important as chucking a plastic water bottle in the recycling bin. People tend to want to do the right thing, but in our busy lifestyles nowadays, if it is not convenient, we typically won’t do it. The trick is to understand why such a high percentage of people are not picking up after there dogs, and find simple, convenient method that will resolve the issue. There will always be those one or two people in your neighborhood that still refuse to pick it up, but our goal is to make the act of pet waste removal more of a social norm.