I've had various types of dogs around me for most of my life. Growing up we had Labradors, cocker spaniels, German shepherds, and mini schnauzers to name a few. No matter what the size or breed of dog, there has always been one inevitable constant—poop. Oh yeah, lots of it, folks. Brown poop, green poop, runny poop, and even some very pretty poop thanks to those dogs who liked to chew things up and swallow the little bits. Because our family was never real big on walking the dogs, our front yard had a tendency to become a minefield of smelly brown bombs. And guess whose job it was to go around and clean it all up? I can't take all the credit as I had brothers who were thrown into the party, as well, but I think you get the picture. Of all the chores that we had, going on "poop patrol" was the one our dad derived the most pleasure out of making us do. The guy just loved to stand above us on the deck, laugh maniacally, and point out all the little piles that we had missed.
Our poop scoop technology wasn't very advanced. One of us (the lucky one) would carry a spade shovel around the yard while the other (not so lucky) followed with a five-gallon pail lined with a garbage bag. What we all carried was a big steaming pile of embarrassment about the chore at hand. A close eye was kept on the street for friends who might by passing by. If one was spotted, we immediately dropped what we were doing so we could pretend to be doing anything other than picking up dog crap. These are the memories that haunt me. Luckily, nowadays I'm not so embarrassed. Actually, I couldn't give a hoot about who sees me. What's more is that I've run across better ways to get the job done both in the yard and while walking down the street. Disposal methods have improved, too. If you're looking for some new or just previously unknown–to-you methods for getting rid of dog poop, then I say read on.
Dog Waste Removal
Get a good pooper scooper. I hate to point out the obvious, but really, just pick it up. Problem solved. Swing by your local hardware store or any pet store and pick up a poop scooper that works for you. There are several varieties with varying lengths and scoop apparatus. If you can find someone to help you, all the better. Get the lucky individual to follow you around with a bucket while you scoop and deposit dog poo into the bucket. It's advisable to try to avoid hitting your helper's fingers.
Dig a hole for depositing poop in. This is another simple and effective idea. If in your yard you have an area far away from most activity or just a good place to designate as a poop graveyard, grab a shovel and get to work. Only you know how much dog poop you have to dispose of, so use your judgment when deciding how big of a hole to dig. Just make sure to dig the hole at least a foot deep. If you have the energy, go for two feet. You will also need to be certain of where wires and cables have been buried. That would not be a very dignified death.
Invest in some dog poop bags. Whether you walk your dog for exercise or just plain don't have a good place for your dog to drop a dooker, keep a few poop bags in your pocket for quick dog poop cleanup. I know it's not the most appetizing prospect, but it's really not that bad. Using poop bags is easy and fairly sanitary. Put your hand in the dog poop bag, grab the dog poop with the bag, turn the bag inside out with your other hand, and tie it up.
Hire a pet waste removal service. If dog waste removal ain't your style or you simply can't find enough hours in the day to take care of the dog's business, there are people out there who'll be happy to take your dog poop as long as it's accompanied by a little cash. They're pretty easy to find, too. Grab a phonebook or hit the interwebs. Most folks who subscribe to this service set it up so someone comes out weekly or biweekly. If for some reason this service isn't available in your area, just hire a neighbor kid.
Dog training 101. Strategic poop locations are key. If you have the time and the inclination, start training your dog to choose the same region of the yard for pooping every time. While training books are readily available and supply much more detail, the Cliff's Notes version is simply persistence and positive reinforcement. Once the training is complete, you will never regret it. Having the poop in a concentrated area will significantly cut down the time it takes for poop patrol.
Why Get Rid of Dog Poop
Fecal coliforms. Fecal coliforms, such as E. coli, are abundantly present in dog poop. These microorganisms can make the water that we rely on for fishing, swimming, and drinking unsafe. Effects of E. coli can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and headaches.
Roundworms. Roundworm eggs can be found in dog feces and can be easily transferred to other hosts through ingestion. This is especially dangerous if you have a dog that eats poop. Unfortunately, this is a pretty common behavior. Humans are at risk, too; children in particular. Not because kids generally make a habit of eating poo, but they do frequently put their hands in their mouths regardless of what they've been doing.
Giardia. Another parasite sometimes found in dog feces that can be transferred to animals and humans through ingestion is giardia. Giardia is generally the culprit for Montezuma's revenge and causes diarrhea, cramping, and abdominal pain. Most commonly it is contracted through the drinking of water that has been tainted by feces.
Salmonella. Salmonella can also be found in and spread by dog feces. It can be transferred from dog to dog or even from dog to human. Avoid feeding your dog any uncooked meats or eggs.
Stinky and probably illegal. Picking up your dog's poop is plain and simple the right thing to do. Not only is it illegal in most states to leave it lie, it's also just plain rude. Other people shouldn't have to worry about stepping in it or smelling it. Leaving dog