Is your street and backyard shellacked with dog waste? Does having “poop detail” during the winter make you growl. Short of calling in a “front loader” what are you to do. Are these scenarios familiar?
Temperatures are icy cold for days in a row; there are layers on layers of dog poop waiting in line for pick-up in your backyard. If that is not enough the wind chill is nasty, it is colder than blazin’. Of course, dog poop freezes to the ground or worse is set in ice and snow. It only gets worse when temperatures rise and fall and it refreezes repeatedly.
Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, it snows; have you noticed that dog waste hides well under the snow, you just cannot find it. Furthermore, if it is dark when you get home from work, locating dog poop in the backyard is the last thing you want to do. If there is any good news here, it is that the dog waste does not smell during the cold months. However, if you leave it go until the spring thaw, you will have a gross mess when the mud in your back yard turns to poop soup.
People with smaller or older dogs in apartments or homes with patios and decks may have an advantage. One option is to use a block of artificial turf, place it next to the back door or on the deck, and train your dog to do “her biz” there. This calls for a little schooling but well worth it! Another option, use a lightweight snow blower; it is a way to keep the area cleared to encourage attentiveness to one’s duty. Pick-up patrol is three easy steps outside the house and in a collection bucket or better yet, flush it. Not to worry the EPA says “flush” is the best option for dog waste.
For Cedar Dog the home turf alternative, while workable for some dogs, is comical as she has a younger, mischievous brother who is likely to create havoc. Like taking off with the turf and placing it where he wants it or worse lovin’ that shredding sound.
A few other details you need to pay attention to; the container for use in the winter needs to be a little different than the one you use in warmer months. A bucket lined with earth-friendly bags is best in the summer along with a lid to abate odor. In the colder months, use a container with some holes to allow for run-off for those scoops of waste covered in snow and ice. Then dump it in a biodegradable bag, right, not a plastic one? Dog and cat waste usually ends up in a landfill where it mummifies for years in plastic bags. Ugh!
Other yard solutions: use a shovel or blower to keep a larger area of the yard cleared for canine-poop business. Early in the winter, add a bale of straw spread on the ground before the first snow. If the poop freezes to the straw, you can pick up the entire clump. The nice thing is that straw will not freeze to the ground.
If things are cold and iced over for days use a hatchet to break the poop free. Another great alternative if clean up matters and because you care about your pet’s impact on the environment, go for a walk. All of a sudden, clean up on a walk seems so much easier; just pick it when it happens with a biodegradable bag.
Why does all of this matter? Albeit you read in Cedar Dog’s books that experts all agree poop pollutes. It is not just from poo nuggets on the beaches, but runoff washes over poop wherever it is. Storm water sewers take runoff directly into streams, rivers, and lakes. Some of the bacteria harbored in dog poop include E. coli, fecal coliform bacteria, salmonella, and giardia. Do not assume freezing temperatures kill the nasty, gooky microbes.
Two final points, dog poop is not fertilizer. Second, what you feed your pet matters. Quality food means better absorption hence less waste.