I have long wondered what to do about the environmental impact of dog shit. Yes, it’s an honest byproduct of being but, no, pets aren’t quite necessary to living. So what are we to make of their waste?
Clearly, shit is shit and poses very little – if any value – and is causing some harm by being a toxic pollutant kicking around land, water, and other areas that creatures have access to. It’s a silent but not scentless problem that rages well beyond housebreaking.
Outside magazine has a terrific examination of this subject, pointing out just how bad this stuff can be. The issue is twofold – too much poop and, accordingly, too many associated parasites – but the problem is much more interesting since animals have long shat in the wild: the problem is actually related to dog food. The story explains why this is bad.
All the healthy nutrients in dog food result in poop that’s very rich in substances like nitrogen and phosphorous — the same ingredients you’ll find in fertilizer. The addition of that nutrient-rich poop to an ecosystem leads to an imbalance that, when it’s washed into water sources, can lead to algae blooms and promote the growth of invasive plant species on land.
Yeeps: that ain’t no good.
How can you help? Pick up your shit and put it in a proper trashcan. If not trashcans, bury it six to eight inches in the ground, at least 200 feet from a water source. Moreover, strategically placed cans and bags can help mitigate the problem since much of this can be attributed to civic design not meeting the shitty demand dogs give communities. Where this is most important is out in the wild, where shit left on hiking trails and in forests can wreak havoc on native ecosystems.
The answer is simple: always, always, always pick up your dog’s shit. Got a problem with that? Don’t get a dog because that literally is one of the biggest parts of your job as a dog owner.