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Protect Our Water by Picking Up After Pooches

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Despite the fact that water covers 71% of the earth, we are finding ourselves with rapidly dwindling water supplies. Those of us in North America are very fortunate because we have large aquifers and a good amount of rain (if you’re not in the Southwest).

But every year, our large population consumes far more water than we should and most of our states are in drought conditions. This makes it a precious resource we should never take for granted. Instead, it’s a resource we should be fiercely protecting.

Contamination is one of the biggest problems and while most of the water contamination comes from humans, dog waste is the third leading cause of water pollution.

Every single gram of dog waste hosts over 23 million fecal bacteria. This bacteria seeps into the soil, is absorbed by groundwater, washed into storm drains into our aquifer, and then filtered and recycled through waste water treatment plants. Eventually, it ends up right back into our water supply with a final arrival out of our taps.

And who wants to drink that?!

Seattle Public Services estimates, “…there are bacteria and micro-organisms in pet waste such as Roundworms, E. coli, and Giardia that can make people sick if they’re ingested. Some can last in your yard for as long as four years if not cleaned up.”

To make things worse, our water treatment plants really aren’t designed for the filtration of the many bacteria that can be left behind (such as Coccidia, Salmonella, E.coli and many, many other bad things).

[bt_quote style=”box” width=”0″]Every single gram of dog waste hosts over 23 million fecal bacteria. [/bt_quote]

This is just one reason why it’s important to clean up after your pets on walks, in dog parks, while hiking, and especially in your own backyard. It also helps eliminate the chance of your dog developing coprophagia (which is when your dog from eats poop)

Cleaning up also ensures you won’t track it indoors, which is no fun for you, your family or your pets.

“When pet waste is washed into lakes or streams the waste decays, using up oxygen and sometimes releasing ammonia. Low oxygen levels and ammonia combined with warm temperatures can kill fish,” said the Pet Waste and Water Quality Partnership at the Wisconsin Dept of Natural Resources. “Pet waste also contains nutrients that encourage weed and algae growth. Overly fertile water becomes cloudy and green – unattractive for swimming, boating and fishing. Perhaps most importantly, pet waste carries diseases which make water unsafe for swimming or drinking.”

The best ways to dispose of dog waste includes:

Bag in doggy bag (preferably biodegradable) and dispose of in trash bin.

  1. Trash It: Using a biodegradable bag will help contain the waste as it decomposes on its own, keeps your home and yard much more sanitary, and let’s face it – you’ll be a better neighbor. Be sure you check local regulations as some communities do not allow you to dispose of waste in the trash. Some of our favorite biodegradable dog bags include:
  2. Flush it: There are plenty of ways you could flush this down your toilet (we don’t recommend you dispose of waste in this way as it can impact your plumbing and cause hygiene issues by bringing waste indoors)
  3. Bury it: If you choose to dispose of waste this way, be sure you check local regulations and use a contained “septic” system for pets. Here is an example of one:

Do your part to keep our ground water safe and make sure you clean up after your pets. It could be your own life you save!

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