Earth Gauge Tip of the Week: National Dog Day

Reader Contribution by Earth Gauge
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Get your leashes ready because August 26 is National Dog Day!  Dogs across the United States will be heading outside for walk, Frisbee catching and dirt digging. While outside, these dogs will also be contributing something to the natural environment: waste! There are over 78 million dog owners in the United States and 28 percent of those owners own two dogs. Waste from pets that is left outside can be washed down storm drains and into local waters when it rains. Bacteria and nutrients from pet waste can degrade water quality and make it unsafe for drinking. Excess nutrients from pet waste can also turn the water in lakes and rivers an unpleasant green from algae growth, which can close swimming, boating and fishing areas.

Viewer Tip:  Get outside and enjoy the day with your dog, but remember to clean up! Here are some tips on how to dispose of pet waste properly:

  • Put the waste in the trash. Pick up pet waste with a bag and make sure it is sealed tightly before throwing it in the trash (if allowed locally).
  • Flush the waste down the toilet. Pick up the pet waste with a bag and flush it down the toilet. Make sure you empty the waste out of the bag first —  don’t flush the bag!
  • Bury the waste in the yard. Dig a hole or a trench about five inches deep. Keep pet waste away from vegetable gardens, drinking water sources and wells.

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(Source: U.S. EPA, “Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution;” Think Blue Maine, “Pet Waste;” The Humane Society of the United States, “U.S. Pet Ownership Statistics.” Image courtesy of Clemson Cooperative Extension.)