Pooches for the Planet
Make your furry pal a friend of the environment by picking after your pet.
Proper disposal of pet waste prevents harmful fecal coliform bacteria and excess nutrients from washing into Tampa Bay.
Sure, the waste produced by one dog may not seem like a big deal, but multiply that by the estimated 500,000 dogs that live in the Tampa Bay watershed and it can really add up to a pile of problems for our rivers, streams and bays.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Waste
Why should I be concerned about dog poop?
Dog feces left on the ground wash into the nearest pond, lake, stream or bay when it rains. Just one ounce of dog feces contains 23 million microorganisms of bacteria – nearly twice that of human waste.
Dog waste also adds nutrients to our waterways, and most of Tampa Bay – and the rivers and streams that flow into it – already have too much nitrogen. Excess nutrients promote the growth of algae that clouds the water and prevents vital seagrasses from receiving the sunlight they need to grow. Severe algae blooms can consume dissolved oxygen in the water, killing fish and other aquatic creatures.
How big is the problem?
Surveys indicate that nearly 40 percent of people don’t pick up after their pets. In our area, that means an average of 50 tons of dog poop is left on the ground each day. That can lead to a pile of problems!
How does dog poop affect human health?
Why is dog poop more of a pollution problem than cat feces, or that of other animals, or even wildlife?
Feral cats and pet cats that live outdoors add to the poop problem, but many pet cats live pampered lives indoors, where they use the litter box, and that waste is either thrown in the trash or flushed down the toilet.
Can't I just put the dog doo down the storm drain?
What is the best way to dispose of dog doo?
If I dispose of my dog's waste in the trash can, won't it just go to a landfill? Isn't that just transferring pollution from one place to another?
In Manatee, Pasco and Polk counties, landfills are the primary disposal options. However, modern landfills are designed with special liners and other safeguards required by environmental laws to ensure that chemicals and bacteria in the trash don’t leak and contaminate water supplies. So bagging your dog’s poop and putting it in a trash can is ALWAYS a better choice than leaving it on the ground.
Should I buy biodegradable bags for my dog, too?
The pet supply industry is jumping on the “green pet ownership” bandwagon in a big way, with a variety of new poop bags and attractive bag dispensers on the market. But all you really need to do is wrap a newspaper bag around your dog’s leash, or stuff one in your pocket, before taking Fido for a walk.