If you’re a dog parent, then you know by now that your dog is capable of generating a surprising quantity of waste. Here are some environmentally friendly ways to manage the waste they generate.
Let’s start with #1
Dogs pee a lot. It’s how they tag their territories and let other dogs know they’re around. Unfortunately, great amounts of dog urine end up killing plants and grass but don’t worry, there are a few green strategies that you can deal with it.
Plant hardier grass
Try and opt for grass (and plant, shrub, and tree) varieties that can withstand the constant downpour of urine. These often take longer to root, but think of it as a long-term investment.
Pick a pee spot
Train your dog to do its business in one place. Then, you can focus your environmentally responsible efforts on that one spot by decking it out with hardy plants or special urine-filtering gravel.
“Dilution is the solution to pollution”
When it comes to urine, this rhyme rings true. Put your greywater to use by pouring it over wherever your dog pees (which is even easier if you have a designated pee spot).
Eco-friendly solutions for #2
Everybody poops, but not everybody poops outside like our dogs do (if they’re trained and not medically restricted). If they go outside and we leave it behind, the dog poop ends up contaminating groundwater. However, if we pick it up in a plastic bag, then the dog poop sits in plastic, unable to degrade, forever.
The main three eco-friendly methods of managing dog poop are: composting it, throwing it away, or flushing it. Here are the pros and cons of each.
Is dog poop compostable?
Yes, dog poop is compostable—but only if it’s treated properly! Dog poop has pathogens that can contaminate regular compost, making it not ideal for use in your garden.
Instead, invest in a specific pet waste composter system that can be buried (or “planted”). The only thing is that it has to be situated away from any edible gardens and far from natural water sources. If space isn’t an issue for you, then this is a quick, easy, and effective solution once you’ve installed it.
Another option is DIY composting. Here is a PDF from the USDA that has everything you need to know to start composting dog waste. That said, remember that this compost shouldn’t be used for anything you’d like to consume, but it’s good for decorative flower beds.
Can you flush dog poop?
According to the EPA, flushing dog poop might be the most environmentally friendly way to deal with it, but there are still concerns about wastewater treatment plants not being able to process the pathogens found in dog poop.
If you want to try flushing your dog’s poop down the toilet, then double-check what your district’s policies are.
What about biodegradable poop bags?
Biodegradable bags are certainly better than regular plastic bags—however, there is always the chance that your bags are mislabeled as biodegradable when they aren’t.
That said, biodegradable bags are sometimes needed when you’re out for a walk, visiting friends, or on the road. When you need a biodegradable bag, try to ensure that they are made of corn, which is considered the best solution.