Being a dog owner and being a responsible dog owner are two completely different things. While most of us revel in all aspects of dog care, others struggle with the fundamentals – including picking up after their dog. Owners do it for a number of reasons; it’s a on a secluded and quiet country road where it “won’t matter”, they haven’t had the foresight to bring a poop bag with them, or they simply cannot be bothered.
Unfortunately it’s bad ownership like this that gives responsible dog owners a bad name. You’ll even find sidewalk signs dedicated to giving owners a helpful reminder to pick up their dog poop or face a hefty fine. So if you’re wondering why picking up after your pooch is important, read on for some valuable information.
It’s not good for the environment
A common misconception is that it’s OK not to pick up after your dog whilst you’re walking in the countryside because it’s actually beneficial for the soil and plants. However, this is incorrect. Dog poop is far too acidic to have any beneficial factors for plants and soil and it does not work as a fertilizer like the waste of other animals – it also damages grass!
Dog poop can contain dangerous forms of bacteria, disease and parasites which can be incredibly harmful to other dogs and to humans. Salmonella, E. coli, Tapeworms, Roundworms, Parvo just to name a few. In some cases, these parasites and bacteria strains can be fatal.
I think we’ve all experienced the disgust and embarrassment of stepping in something we shouldn’t. It’s enough to ruin a perfectly good pair of shoes, or a nice clean car. If you have small children the possibility of cleaning up after its trodden all the way through the house is enough to give you nightmares, after all, dog’s cost us enough without having to fork out for carpet cleaning!
It looks terrible
Imagine if everyone didn’t pick up after their dogs? Can you imagine what the sidewalk would look like? We all need to be responsible otherwise our neighbourhoods and areas of natural beauty would look terrible. The Environmental Protection Agency, actually classes dog mess in the same category as an oil spills, so it’s a legal requirement to pick up after your pet.
It’ll wash away soon anyway
Wrong! You might think that the next spell of rain will wash all that nastiness away, but it’s just not true. Did you know that dog poop can actually take almost a year to break down fully? And those parasites and bacteria we mentioned earlier – they don’t break down either, they simply linger there for years.
It’s easy and your neighbours will thank you
There really is no excuse. Doing the job doesn’t require any specialist equipment, just a poop bag and some common courtesy does the job. You remember to feed your dog, so you should be able to remember a poop bag on your next walk. Being a responsible dog owner makes the lives of those who live around you much more pleasant and your community a much happier place.
If you are about to buy, rescue or adopt a pet, you need to understand that being a responsible pet parent isn’t just about picking up after your dog. There are other ways you can keep your dog happy and healthy and therefore get the most out of this rewarding experience.
Get your pet microchipped/tagged
Dogs are inquisitive creatures and love nothing more than to explore the world around them and follow an interesting scent or two! However, that sometimes means that despite our best efforts, our dogs can get away from us… Getting your dog a collar with an ID tag on it is a simple and effective way of resolving this issue. Not only will it give you peace of mind that if someone finds your dog they’ll be able to return them, but it means that your pet is less likely to end up at the pound. Having your pet microchipped is always a good idea too; in case they slip their collar, or the tag becomes damaged.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that’s just not true! Dogs are incredibly intelligent and love to learn new things for a treat or two. Basic obedience training is essential for any dog of any age. Not only will it prevent unwanted behaviours like jumping, chasing bicycles or even snapping at food from escalating into something more serious, but it also makes your pet much more pleasant to be around. If your dog is properly trained, it means you’ll have more freedom to take them places, you won’t have to keep them out of the way when you have visitors and you can eat a meal in peace!
Making your home pet proof
In the home, having a dog can be a little bit like having a toddler around. If the house is too quiet then they just might be up to mischief! Being a responsible dog owner means “dog proofing” your home to stop them hurting themselves or getting into trouble – much like baby proofing. In fact, many of the items you might use to baby proof a home can be used in this scenario too. It also requires the same level of common sense. Leaving medicines and chemicals out of reach, or locked in cupboards, using baby gates to stop entry into certain rooms or to make the stairs safer. Your baby might not eat your new shoes but just try to keep everything that could be a hazard locked away or out of reach!
Dogs are social creatures, and they actually react better to new scenarios like the dog grooming salon, the vets or stopping for a drink at a café together, if they have regular contact with other canines. The more you socialise them and expose them to the world, the less likely they are to develop behavioural problems. Organize some puppy playdates or try to go on dog walks with friends who have their own dog. It’s a great opportunity for you to socialise too!