The Stinking Truth – Why Picking Up After Your Dog Matters


(Hopefully you don’t require a shovel to pick up your dog’s business.)

Dogs go to the bathroom outside in the great outdoors, or the great suburbs with their many sidewalks and side streets. This is not the only reason dogs need to go outside, but it is a very important one. Having a dog is a big responsibility and they rely on us to know the rules of how to behave in their community, after all, you are the one who attends the town halls and reads the community newsletter. They don’t know that community members won’t appreciate their #2 calling card in the middle of sidewalk or right by the entrance to the kids’ playground. It’s up to you, the dog owner, to know better.

With so many planned communities and gated communities, I think we’ve all seen the type of sigs that prohibit dogs from being walked in that specific area or that remind us that picking up after your dog is the law. Yes, it’s true – when you don’t pick up after your dog has gone #2, you are breaking the law. It’s there for a good reason and honestly I wish we didn’t even have to have this discussion because I see it as common sense or common courtesy, however not everyone agrees, to the frustration of many neighbors.

Also with so many planned communities around, my own neighborhood being one of them, there are more dog waste stations popping specifically to make it more convenient for someone walking their dog to pick up after them and dispose of it. A dog station has a doggie bag dispenser and a trash can with a lid attached to it. Having just a doggie bag dispenser is helpful, but where is the dog owner meant to dispose of the waste if there is not a trash can close by?

With planned communities like apartment complexes or townhome communities, there is often shared community grounds – the landscaped areas by the front of the building, along the sidewalks and streets, or the children’s playground. While a townhouse may have a small front yard of its own, most likely that space is still supervised closely by the Home Owners Association, and I’d be willing to bet they don’t like to see #2 on their grounds.

Now, I do not have children nor do I babysit for children, however I can imagine the worry, frustration and level of disgust a parent would feel if their child was playing where there was dog poo. Also, no one wants to step in it on their way to work or at any time of the day!

Beyond being an eyesore and a wrench in your day when you step in it, dog feces is smelly, attracts flies, can transmit disease, and it’s also a temptation for some puppies and for some adult dogs. No one knows for sure why a dog will eat their own or another dog’s feces, but in my experience it tends to be a dog that is need of more mental and physical stimulation.

Not picking up after one’s dog can be such a common habit in some places that people may think it is cultural; like when I traveled to Buenos Aires years ago and quickly noticed walking down the street could be like a terrible game of dodging the dog droppings. I wanted to be the tourist and look up and around to see all the sights, but the terrible sights and smells below my feet were a higher priority. There was talk of the mayor introducing tougher rules to make citizens do the responsible thing, however if this article in the Atlantic is any clue, it is still a problem.

But there are easy ways of improving this and making dog owners more conscientious ourselves by always picking up after our dogs right after they go.  There are also some ways we can enact change at higher levels, as well, such as encouraging legislation, pushing for higher fines, and talking to our community representatives.

The truth is, all dogs will defecate outside, and it’s up to us, not law enforcement (they typically busy with bigger fish), to do be courteous and responsible pet owners. I think we all need to remind ourselves about what is shared community space and what is private property and to do the right thing.

Links for more information:

Centers for Disease Control – Diseases from Dogs – 5 Important Reasons to Clean Up Pet Waste – Diseases from Dogs

Take care & always carry extra bags!

Carolina Rodriguez

River Walks Pet Care is a bonded and insured midday dog walking and pet sitting service, a member of Pet Sitters International (PSI), and Carolina Rodriguez, the dog walker, pet sitter, and owner, is working on becoming a Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS).

This blog and this information is free to all pet lovers, not just River Walks Pet Care clients. If you like the content of this blog and would like to help support it and the one-woman-show that is River Walks Pet Care, please consider donating. Thank you!

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