International Pooper Scooper Week was established by The Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists to help spread awareness of the importance of picking up after our dogs.1 April 1st through the 7th, the first week of the month, is dedicated to pooper scooper awareness, though the idea is to make scooping poop a priority year-round.
Pooper Scooper Week is designed to help educate the population about the importance of cleaning up after their pets and to reduce the amount of waste left out on the streets and in the parks throughout our communities. Here’s what you should know about International Pooper Scooper Week, why it is so important, and how you can help celebrate the occasion.
The Importance of Cleaning Up After Our Dogs
While picking up a dog’s waste is never a fun task, it should never be overlooked. One reason to make cleanup a priority is to ensure that your yard, other peoples’ yards, and public places don’t get smelly or become a danger to people. Many states have also enacted laws against leaving pet waste behind.2 Here are other important reasons to prioritize cleaning up after your dog.
It Can Get Into the Water
Dog feces does decompose but not quickly, making it a danger to the water sources in your community. Rain will wash over it and break it down just enough that it soaks into the ground and gets into the groundwater. That water can drain into water systems and then get pumped into peoples’ homes.
It Can Spread Bacteria and Disease
Bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella can be spread from dog feces to the ground, where other animals and humans can pick it up. Diseases like parvovirus can also be spread from a sick dog to healthy dogs through feces. Parasites can be spread to humans and other animals that get anywhere near unattended feces from an unknown dog. Picking up your dog’s poop will help ensure that every person and animal in your community stays safe and healthy when they spend time in places where your dog has relieved themselves.
It Can Attract Pests to Your Property
Leaving dog poop to fester on your property can attract pests like rats to your property. Rats, cockroaches, and other, similar animals have no problem scavenging for feces as part of their diet. Picking up the poop is a great way to help keep away the pests so they don’t end up encroaching on your home and threatening your sense of safety.
What to Do With Your Dog’s Waste After Cleaning Up
The best way to dispose of your dog’s waste once you clean it up is to throw it away in your outdoor garbage can. If you throw it away inside, it is likely to stink up your house. Make sure that the waste is sealed in a plastic bag and that the garbage can is sealed so stray animals won’t try to get into it. Biodegradable bags are always the best options for storing feces that must be thrown away.
On your own property, you can bury your dog’s poop so other animals and people cannot come into contact with it. Try to bury the waste at least 1 foot deep in the ground so bacteria and other contaminants cannot seep into the topsoil. To make this option convenient, you’ll need to keep a shovel handy and remember where you bury each waste deposits, so you don’t end up using the same burying spots.
Another option is to flush your dog’s waste down the toilet. This is not an option for everyone, as accidents can happen while trying to load waste into the toilet. However, when done with care and purpose, flushing dog waste down the toilet is a safe disposal option because it will be contained and broken down without causing danger to the groundwater.
3 Ways That You Can Observe International Pooper Scooper Week
1. Get the Word Out Through Your Social Media Accounts
You can offer a friendly reminder about International Pooper Scooper Week and post links to resources so everyone in your community can understand the importance of picking up after their pets. You can also share the steps that you take to clean up after your beloved dog throughout the week.
2. Host a Neighborhood Event
Bring all your dog-loving neighbors together by hosting a fun event complete with refreshments and games. Decorate with fliers about International Pooper Scooper Week, and give away waste cleanup bags as party favors. You don’t have to bore everyone with a spiel about the importance of poop scooping. The fliers and party favors should be enough to get people thinking about their responsibility when it comes to cleaning up after their dogs.
3. Volunteer at a Local Animal Shelter
Find an animal shelter that is observing International Pooper Scooper Week, and volunteer there during its community awareness efforts. The staff may need you to clean up after the dogs that live at the facility, demonstrate proper cleanup techniques at an event, or simply hand out poop bags to those who come in to request them.
A Quick Recap
International Pooper Scooper Week is important because it highlights the responsibilities that we all have as dog owners to keep our properties and communities clean. Now that you know the importance of cleaning up after your dog and you have an idea of how to observe this special week of awareness, all that is left is to decide how you want to take action!
Featured Image Credit: Francesco83, Shutterstock