Scooping poop will never be a fun job, but these 10 tips should help make cleaning the yard a little bit easier:
The right tools for the job
The world’s best pooper scoopers have at least three tools in hand for every job: A rake, a lobby dust pan and a trash bag.
Trash bags can purchased at your local grocery store and many hardware retailers carry small rakes and dustpans with adjustable handles that are perfect for scooping poop. Rubber, water-proof gloves and boots also come in handy, especially during the wet seasons.
Scoop into a bag, not into a pile
Contrary to popular belief, dog poop is not fertilizer. In 1991, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labeled dog waste a nonpoint source pollutant, placing it in the same category as herbicides and insecticides; oil, grease and toxic chemicals; and acid drainage from abandoned mines.
Scoop the waste directly into a trash bag and toss it out with the garbage. Double bagging is frequently required when placing pet waste in the trash – this is to protect trash collectors from germs.
Follow a grid pattern
Following a simple grid pattern makes it easier to find all of the pet waste in a yard and speeds up the overall scooping process. This is especially true in the springtime and autumn when accumulated leaves and other debris are covering the ground.
The “360 degree scan”
When you find a pile, scoop it, then before stepping away, do a quick 360-degree scan. Dogs are creatures of habit; chances are, there is more hiding out right in that immediate area.
Watch where you step
Keeping the mess off your shoes is priority number one. Not only is cleaning the bottom of a shoe difficult but it also makes the waste ten times harder to scoop into your bag.
In addition, avoid wearing sunglasses when scooping. Believe it or not, some lenses actually make it harder to see waste lying in the grass.
Attack from the least likely side
When it comes to scooping, the side that appears most stuck to the ground is always the one that picks up easiest.
When in doubt, scoop it up
Dog waste is a major source of potentially deadly E. coli and can contain up to 23 million fecal coliform bacteria per gram. If you are unsure about the mass on the ground in front of you, scoop it up. Clumps of mud and pine cones can be deceiving, but it is always best to play it safe.
Keep on scoopin’
Pet owners should try to clear their lawns of pet waste on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, depending on the size of their yard and the number of dogs using the area.
The longer pet waste stays on the ground, the greater a health risk it becomes. The EPA estimates that two or three days worth of droppings from a population of about 100 dogs can contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay and all watershed areas within 20 miles to swimming and shell fishing.
A little training goes a long way
Setting apart an area for your dog to do his or her business in will make scooping a faster and more manageable chore in the long run.
Hire a professional
Scooping poop is the single most unpleasant and time consuming aspect of pet ownership, but it is also the most responsible action people can take for their family and community. If you don’t have the time or simply prefer to wash your hands clean of the whole clean up business, consider hiring a local pet waste removal service.
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