As responsible pet owners, we may be well prepared
Of course we all know the true answer to be 'every single time'. But honestly, do we always believe this? For instance, we may be off the beaten path, where no one else walks. Like at a remote park or maybe in the street or the gutter. So we figure that since no one else will step in the feces that it's OK to just leave them. But the choice not to use our dog poop bags in this case is faulty thinking. The feces will surely do damage in other ways.
Dog waste left in streets or gutters will be washed into our waters. It is washed into our streams, rivers, lakes and our beaches. Recent studies have proven that dog poop is third on the list of contributors of bacteria in our contaminated waters. One recent study which uses a variant of DNA fingerprinting has now proven that dog feces contribute 30% of the pollution in a stream. As one of the microbiologists commented, 'That can be the difference between a beach closing and a beach not closing'.
If we enjoy our outings in parks that are removed from nearby waters, we still must be aware of the damage caused by the high nitrogen content in dog poop. The native grasses in the mountain parks inBoulder,Coloradowere being replaced by weeds because of this problem. Officials inBoulderhad to educate their residents that 'dog waste is not fertilizer' said Mike Patton, co-director of open space and mountain parks. 'Some people really did believe it was', he claimed. This was a huge undertaking for them and it also involved dispensing $100 fines to encourage people to use dog poop bags.
Another answer to the question, 'when', is 'immediately'. We may wrongly think, 'I'll pick it up on the way back'. However, it is much easier to scoop up the feces before they have a chance to settle into the ground. In addition it reduces the chance of being stepped in by others or eaten by other animals. Coprophagia is the scientific name for eating of feces and this is quite common in the animal world. However, pets that eat the feces of other dogs are now exposed to a variety of diseases and they can then transmit these same diseases, parasites and worms to humans. So picking up the poop immediately is important, as well as immediately sanitizing our own hands after doing so.
So we must obviously be prepared when out with our pets, carrying our dog waste bags and hand sanitizer at all times. And we must be prepared to always use them for picking up dog waste and to do so immediately. Having a handy dog poop bags holder to carry our empty and full poop bags as well as our hand sanitizer will certainly help us to be prepared and ready at all times.