Nobody likes picking up dog poop, but it's part of being a responsible dog parent. Scooping up after your dog is important no matter where you live, especially if your dog poops in public. Irresponsible dog parents who don't pick up after their dogs can contribute to an overall negative feeling about dogs in a community. Keeping your neighborhood parks and public areas welcoming to dogs means being a responsible dog parent and encouraging other dog parents to also be responsible. Cleaning up after your dog's poop can encourage positive feelings about dogs amongst your neighbors.
Be prepared on walks
Whenever you take your dog out, (even if it's just for a quick walk) don't forget to have poop bags with you. You never know when your dog is going to need to poop and it's important to be prepared. To make it easy to clean up after your dog, you can attach poop bag holders to your dog's leash, your treat pouch, or even your keys. You can even stash an extra "emergency" poop bag into coat pockets to make sure you never run out of poop bags while out with your dog. If you find yourself on a walk and realize you have forgotten poop bags, try to be proactive and ask the next dog parent you see if they have a bag you can have.
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Considerations for a sanitary neighborhood
Beyond being unsightly, it's important to pick up after your dog to keep your neighborhood healthy. Dog poop left on the ground can spread worms and diseases to other dogs and even people. It can even impact your local water quality if not disposed of correctly. When dog poop finds its way into local creeks, rivers, and streams it can lead to the growth of harmful algae and remove oxygen that fish need to live.
Composting dog poop
There are a variety of ways to dispose of poop in your own yard. If you're feeling overwhelmed with the amount of dog poop — composting is an increasingly popular option. Dog poop shouldn't be added to a regular compost pile, but you can make or purchase dog composting bins that go into the ground and help the waste to break down naturally. Poop composting is a great alternative to using traditional poop bags that go into landfills. Some parks and communities across the country have started in-ground dog poop disposal systems at parks. These function like a septic tank that uses enzymes to break down dog poop without it just going into the landfills. Contact your local city park officials to see if this is an option that might work in your local area.
Pick up extra poop on walks
An easy way to help keep your community clean and create good relationships between neighbors is to challenge yourself to bring extra poop bags and pick up poop whenever you see it. Even if your dog didn't make it, any poop around the neighborhood is not only unsanitary, but it can lead to neighbors having negative feelings about all dogs. Picking up. any poop, while you're out walking your dog, can go a long way towards improving and beautifying your neighborhood. You can even share what you're doing with your dog-owning friends in the neighborhood — you might inspire others to do the same!
Encourage others to do the right thing
If you see a dog parent not scooping up after their dog poops, try to assume the best intentions. It may be that they didn't notice, or perhaps they have run out of bags. Try to be friendly and smile, ask if the dog walker needs to borrow a poop bag. Oftentimes, someone has run out of poop bags by accident (everyone has had that day) and will gladly accept the offer of a bag from someone. If it turns out they were planning on leaving the poop behind, you being polite might encourage them to do the right thing and scoop up after their dog.
Provide community bag dispensers
Although dog parents should always leave the house with poop bags, it's nice for neighbors and community groups to put out poop bag dispensers to make sure dog parents always have access to poop bags. If you or your neighbors have little free libraries, consider putting poop bag dispensers inside them or hang bags from them. You can also ask your local parks department to put poop bag dispensers up in parks where people frequently walk their dogs — to encourage cleaning up.
Scooping up poop keeps your neighborhood looking and smelling clean. It can also improve people's feelings about their canine neighbors. Picking up poop also helps prevent the spread of diseases and reduces the amount of pollution in local waterways. Encourage other dog parents to be responsible with their dogs by cleaning up after your own dog and picking up any other poop you find on your walks. You can also carry extra poop bags with you and offer them to neighbors who may have forgotten or run out of their poop bags. By making poop bags easy to access in your neighborhood, you can help other dog parents to remember to clean up after their dogs — and help be a part of keeping your community clean.