Your Dog’s Ecological Paw Print: What to Do with Your Dog’s Poop
Your Dog’s Ecological Paw Print:What to Do with Your Dog’s Poop
Before we started Pure Earth Pets, we did not really think about how much of a difference just one person can make when it comes to the health of our planet. Of course, now we know that small changes can add up quickly, especially when many of us are making those changes. All of us can reduce what is known as our environmental footprint. This environmental footprint is defined by the Global Footprint Network as a measure of “how fast we consume resources and generate waste compared to how fast nature can absorb our waste and generate new resources.”
Of course, the goal in leading an environmentally sustainable lifestyle is for all of us to take nice, gentle steps across the earth instead of big, destructive, heavy stomps. As dog owners, we usually have company on our walks, and so we can also strive to reduce what could be considered our dogs’ environmental paw prints.
Our domestic dogs are our best friends and partners in life. As wild dogs they would have had a minimal impact on the earth, like our own ancient ancestors. When dogs and humans first befriended each other, they would have shared what they hunted, and produced very little waste. In our current world, though, both dogs and humans produce a lot of waste. While we try to reduce, reuse, and recycle, when it comes to our dog’s poop, we have very few options.
The Confusing Decision of How to Dispose of Your Dog’s Poop
Figuring out the best way to dispose of dog poop in an eco-friendly way is perhaps the most confusing part of being an environmentally conscious dog owner. You can find thousands of articles on the topic. Trust me on this, I’ve searched through them.
It can be downright stressful trying figure out the best way to dispose of your dog’s poop. Adding to the stress is that unfortunately, the most ecologically friendly way to dispose of dog waste is far from the most convenient way for the average dog owner, especially those in urban or suburban areas. Hopefully we can take away some of the confusion in this post.
Composting Your Dogs’ Poop
If you can compost your dog’s poop, do it. Experts maintain that composting is the best way to dispose of dog poop. It is important to note that because of the ingredients found in dog food that result in excrement that is high in nitrogen, and the risk of parasites in the poop, there are very specific ways to compost dog poop if you do it yourself. Composted dog poop should never be used to grow food of any kind, and there is a lot to learn before you attempt to compost it yourself.
Many communities have introduced composting drop off sites where you can bring organic solid waste like food scraps and yard trimmings. Some of these sites accept dog waste in compostable bags like our Houndscoop Plant Based Waste Bag. We suggest contacting your local composting facility (if you have one) to inquire if they accept dog poop. If you do not have an option like this near you, you can work with your local waste disposal company and municipal government officials to try to develop an environmentally friendly option for disposing of dog waste in your community.
Flushing Your Dog’s Poop
In some parts of the country, waste management officials ask that you flush your dog’s poop down the toilet when possible. This is easier when your dog poops in your own yard and depends on the size of your dog and other factors like whether you can pick it up and get it to your toilet. There is a lot of the ick factor in this process, and you will definitely be motivated to find nutritional options that give your dog the much coveted small, firm poop that comes from feeding a highly digestible diet. If you live in an area in which you are able to flush your dog’s poop, remember that you cannot flush any type of bag, even a compostable one. Paper towels are also hard on plumbing.
Throwing Your Dog’s Poop in the Garbage
Tossing your poop bags into the garbage is not ideal. Landfills are not really created for waste to decompose, and dog poop puts off methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas that has negative impacts on the earth. However, if the garbage is your only dog poop disposal option, it is important to purchase bags that meet the ASTM International D6400 guidelines for compostable plastics like the option in our retail store. Some dog owners make a habit of grabbing the nearest grocery store bag before going on a walk or purchasing poop scooping bags that are made of plastic. These bags never disintegrate, or even worse, they break down into micro-plastics which get into our food and water. A plant-based bag will remove the threat of adding micro-plastics into the environment.
Improving the Quality of Your Dog’s Poop
Of course, you cannot eliminate poop from our lives. After all, there is a kid’s book that explains that everyone does this bodily function. However, you can improve the quality of your dog’s poop. The healthier your pet, the less chance of your dog’s poop containing parasites and worms. Additionally, you can work with your local healthy pet food store to find a dog food that is easily digestible. The more your dog digests, the less they will poop, and some ingredients are easier to digest than others. A good quality dog food should also make your dog’s poop firmer and easier to pick up, which is advantageous no matter which disposal method you use.
Making Light of a Crappy Situation
A few different engineers and scientists have come up with a use for dog poop and the methane it produces: powering streetlights. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, a man named Matthew Mazzota created Park Spark, which is a way for dog owners to deposit their dogs’ poop in a container that powers the lights at the dog park. This would be a great way to provide lighting at parks all over the country. In Europe, energy companies are experimenting with horse manure and dog poop to turn methane into power.
We love innovative ideas like this and hope to see more of this in the future across the world. Imagine if you could save on your own energy bills simply by cleaning up after your dog! Until then, though, we hope that this blog helps you understand the various options for cleaning up after your pet.