Every dog owner knows that there are highs and lows of having a furry companion in your life—and picking up their poop is one of the lows.
But most dog owners aren’t aware of these 14 US dog waste facts and statistics.
Written by Becca Choi, a passionate dog person and proud plant mom living in sunny Los Angeles.
Her first ever pet was a lovable Husky-Shepard mix named Marley, but her favorite breed will always be dachshunds!
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72 million dogs in the US produce over 8 billion pounds of waste each year.
And that’s a conservative estimate, according to Washington State University.
The United States has a population of 329 million, which means that we can count one dog for every five Americans.
Pets in the US produce as much waste as 90 million Americans.
According to UCLA, the amount of pet waste produced in the US is on par with how much trash the entire population of Massachusetts produces.
There’s been more dog poop than ever, thanks to COVID-19.
And that estimate could be even higher! The COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of change with it—and an increase in pet ownership was just one of those changes.
Due to the pandemic shutdowns, more people in the US adopted dogs—and more people are walking their dogs than ever before.
And the domino effect is more dog waste.
It takes 9 weeks for dog feces to decompose.
When a dog does his business, and a pet owner leaves it behind, it takes about 9 weeks to decompose naturally (assuming a friendly neighborhood do-gooder doesn’t pick it up).
But 9 weeks is just an average.
It could take up to a year for dog poop to decompose, depending on your dog’s diet and the climate you live in.
Dog waste can leave behind hazardous microorganisms that live for up to 4 years.
If you don’t scoop your dog’s poop, hazardous microorganisms can live for up to 4 years in your backyard.
Children who play outdoors and adults who garden are at an even higher risk of infection.
Pet waste was listed as a nonpoint source pollutant by the EPA in 1991.
Did you know that the EPA classifies dog waste alongside toxic chemicals like herbicides, insecticides, motor vehicle waste, and acid drainage from abandoned mines?
These pollutants are noted to have “habitat-destroying impacts” that “harm fish and wildlife populations, kill native vegetation, foul drinking water, and make recreational areas unsafe and unpleasant.”
60% of dog owners consistently dispose of their dogs’ waste.
And that means 40% of them don’t.
Despite all the disgusting consequences of leaving dog waste lying around, many dog owners are content letting the poo pile high in their yards—and even more are happy to leave a trace on public property.
Dog poo is a real issue!
Dog poop is a bigger problem than you might think.
Pet waste is a major issue that highlights even bigger systemic issues surrounding waste in some places.
Although you have plenty of options as a pet owner, most dog poo heads to the landfill.
And although dog poop can be recycled or composted, many facilities just don’t want pet waste.
Dog waste is compostable—but that doesn’t mean you can or should compost pet waste.
Dog waste can be composted, but it is only safe to do when the compost is properly maintained at high enough temperatures for a long enough time—and at-home composts usually don’t get hot enough.
Remember that you should never lay dog waste directly in your garden beds.
It will not work as fertilizer and can actually harm your plants—or you, indirectly.
Allowing dog waste near your edible plants can get you sick.
Remember those hazardous microorganisms? Well, if you let dog poop near any edible plants in your garden, you’re asking to get sick!
Parasites, bacteria, and viruses can easily move from your dog’s waste to your favorite plants, so it’s best not to mix business and pleasure.
It is—and isn’t—safe to flush dog poop down your toilet.
If you want to keep dog poop out of your garden and find a solution that doesn’t stink, you might be wondering if you can just flush it down the toilet.
Well, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to flushing pet waste.
Whether or not it’s ok to flush dog poop down the toilet depends on:
- how often you flush it down
- how much you flush/how many dogs you have
- the sewage treatment processes of your home and municipality
However, it seems that most municipalities actually encourage the practice, as long as that’s all that goes down the drain.
Never flush paper bags, plastic bags, or paper towels down your toilet.
And to be safe, search for your local recommendations before you try it.
Your dog can be identified by his poo.
In some apartment complexes in North America, dog owners are required to register their pet’s DNA.
So that the apartment can send out fines to anyone who leaves their pet waste in public spaces.
Over 6,000 properties utilize PooPrints, the only company that uses DNA for dog waste management.