Archive for February 2005

Is Petwaste Really A Big Deal?

Dog Waste is not the predominant or most toxic pollutant in suburban and rural streams, but cumulatively have a big impact if left unmanaged. Dog Waste contains bacteria and parasites, as well as organic matter and nutrients, notably nitrogen and phosphorous.

The organic matter and nutrients contained in Dog Waste can degrade water and soil quality. When Dog Waste is washed into a surface water body, the waste decays. This process of breaking down the organic matter in the waste uses up dissolved oxygen and releases ammonia. Low oxygen levels, increased ammonia and warm summer water temperatures can kill fish.

Excess phosphorous and nitrogen added to surface waters can lead to cloudy, green water from accelerated algae and weed growth. Decay of this extra organic matter can depress oxygen levels, killing organisms. Objectionable odors can also occur. Not to mention flies and maggots can also increase becoming a nuisance and adding another vector for disease transmission.

Many dog owners are in denial about their pooches’ leavings but researchers have found that areas used by dogs pump more bacteria into waterways and have named this process the “Fido” hypothesis. Don’t be fooled though, you do not have to be at the beach for this to happen. If it goes into the soil it’ll eventually make it to our water as well. Untreated.

Public education is critical when addressing the Dog Waste problem. Interestingly many people think the only problems associated with Dog Waste are odors and esthetics. Dog Waste is a health hazard. Left alone the bacteria can make people, other pets and wildlife sick-sometimes very sick. For example, E. Coli bacterial often causes gastrointestinal infections, as well as infections to the ear, eye and throat. Campylobacter can cause diarrhea in humans. Still salmonella, can cause infections that trigger fever, muscle aches, headache, vomiting and diarrhea.

The problem with pet waste management is reflected in the Pooper Scooper Laws, which impose considerable fines to dog owner who do not pick up after their dogs. The problem of Dog Waste disposal in suburban and rural areas is a real one. For some of us picking up after our dogs is a necessary chore we simply do not have time for. Others have multiply dogs, therefore lots of waste and for others the task is simply too yucky.

There are Dog Waste services available year-round to help with this unpleasant chore. Dog owners can now hire Pawsitive Approach Pet Services Inc. to do the dirty deed. This is not a job for the neighborhood kids due to the potentially zoonotic nature. Do your part to help the environment and pick up after your dog.