Whether it’s from your dog, cat, hamster, rabbit or guinea pig, it happens. So what should you do with it?
Now that you’ve finally figured out what to feed your pet (after pet food scares and debate over homemade diets), it’s time to address the other end of the story, so to speak. Whether your pet is nibbling millet or dining on organic kibble, eventually most of that food is converted to waste — and what do you do with all of that poop?
Some litters companies advertise that their products are “flushable.” However, sending pet feces into a sewer system is discouraged in some parts of the United States, and the excess solid material can stress your home plumbing. Also, some cat feces can contain the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can infect humans and other animals and isn’t always killed by municipal water treatment systems.
Perhaps, instead of a gerbil, you have a great Dane — in which case your pet’s poop probably isn’t all conveniently deposited in the one box. For those donations Rufus makes at the dog park, try using one of the many available biodegradable doggy bags or boxes rather than plastic bags.
Like other animal manures, pet poop contains nutrients that can be beneficial to soil microbes. You can return those nutrients to the soil (and reduce your contribution to your local landfill) by burying your pet waste. Most experts recommend against composting pet poop to avoid the (admittedly small) health risks to humans from potential parasites in the waste. Be sure to choose a site at least 100 feet from any water sources, as well as away from any nearby garden.
If you opt to toss pet poop in the trash, whether it’s from the back yard or out of the litter box, the biodegradable doggy bags are a good alternative to plastic sacks here, too — for hamster, rabbit or any other pet poo — and allow the good nutrients to make their way back to the earth.