By Sari Reis | Pets
For those of you who have been reading my column over the years, you know that I have addressed this issue before. Unfortunately, I have not seen any improvement in the bad habits of many dog owners of neglecting to pick up the feces that their dogs leave in the wake of their daily walks.
As a professional dog walker, I do a lot of walking through parks, apartment complexes and neighborhoods all over my service area. I don’t think one day goes by that I don’t come across at least a couple of dog droppings. Sometimes they are on the grass right next to a doggie poop stand where poop bags exist for this very purpose. Even worse, I have seen excrement in the middle of the sidewalk and evidence that some poor soul who was probably looking at his cell phone, stepped right in it leaving a trail of poopy footprints. Not to mention the smell on his shoes and the fact that he has to wear these same shoes to work, home, etc.
Guardianship of a dog implies protection, custody, supervision and most importantly, responsibility. As your dog’s guardian, you are responsible for managing his behavior and one of those behaviors involves going to the “bathroom” on his walks. You know when your dog normally “poops” and even if you don’t, you should never leave the house for a walk without a bag or two to pick up his eliminations. Use a plastic bag, the plastic sleeve of a newspaper, a paper bag or purchase actual poop bags designed for this purpose. I believe Amazon sells them online where you can buy 1,000 bags for $15 and they even come with a dispenser. There is no excuse not to carry them with you on every walk.
I understand that many of you walk dogs after dark and you don’t want to grope around in the grass trying to pick up the feces. Stress-free solution? Carry a flashlight that will allow you to see not only where your dog has eliminated so you can pick it up easily, but will also keep you from accidentally stepping into someone else’s neglected mess.
Besides the obvious unsightliness of piles of excrement loitering on our park lawns and streets, and the smell, dog feces carry a lot of bacteria which is released into the environment. It can be dangerous to other dogs if they get their noses too close (as they are known to do), due to exposure to worms, Giardia and even worse, Parvovirus.
If you see someone’s dog eliminate and the person fails to pick it up, speak up. Tell them to do their civic duty and clean up after their dog. We all share the streets and parks and have the right to walk them without seeing or stepping into someone else’s lack of responsibility.
Be a responsible dog owner. Feed your dog. Give him shelter, fresh water, playtime, exercise and lots of love and, please, pick up his poop.
—Sari Reis is a Certified Humane Education Specialist and the owner of Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services. For more information, you can reach her at 760-644-0289 or missionvalleypetsitting.com.