Pet ownership is up 10% since the start of the pandemic.*
As social isolation took hold in 2020, many of us turned to our pets for companionship. Restricted to necessary travel only and reverting to social interaction via digital screens, we sought our dogs to provide exercise, fresh air, and a much-needed friendly face. But, with an estimated 63.4 million US households owning a dog, despite the benefits of pet ownership, the dramatic increase in dog ownership has an issue: pet waste.*
Regarded as a sign of responsible dog ownership, collecting and correctly disposing of pet poop is not merely a kind community gesture but a legal requirement, punishable by fines of up to $2000 in some states if the owner fails to do so.* With areas logging an increase in pet waste, we explore the steps communities and organizations are taking to tackle it and how, together, we can better equip ourselves moving forward.*
It is unsightly, and it smells, but is that the only causality of dog poop? In short, no. Dog poop can have adverse effects on our health and the health of other animals. Carrying E-coli and parasites, pet waste has the capability of causing sickness, toxocariasis, and even blindness and, for babies and toddlers exploring their newly found terrain blissfully unaware of danger and hazards, this possibility increases. Pet feces is also hazardous to waterways. Washed into rivers, beaches, and bays by the rain and storm drains, the untreated fecal matter can potentially make water unsafe for swimming.*
So, how do we raise awareness as to the potential for harmful health issues?
Inclusion in Advertising Material and Campaigns
Including the harmful effects of dog poop in campaigns is a helpful way to begin. Many organizations, including the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services regularly provides resources and media toolkits to assist campaigns in highlighting the harmful effects of pet waste. Through such, they educate owners on why they should and how to clean up after their pooches.
A similar campaign, highlighting the harmful effects of pet feces, is also run by The City of Jacksonville. Scoop the Poop contains 6 unsettling facts about dog waste and how dog owners can help.
Inclusion in Manufacturer Designs
As a manufacturer, Glasdon builds opportunities to support campaign messages into a variety of products.
Featuring personalized decals or campaign posters, trash cans and pet waste stations can promote the harmful effects of pet waste. By adopting personalized poster frames or a sign kit, the waste stations can showcase content about the hazardous potential of pet waste. A principle suitable to promote campaign slogans, such as DC’s Department of Energy and Environment's 'Do your Doo-ty', these personalized decals can reinforce the public health message attached to pet waste.
Dog Owner's Responsibilities
Walkies, food, and love; the only essential responsibilities of dog ownership, right? Wrong. Frequently under-advertised, the responsibilities of dog ownership extend far beyond our average understanding of such and, when not known, can have harmful consequences for our dogs, the environment, and ourselves. But organizations are attempting to correct the knowledge gap.
Penning a Guide to Responsible Dog Ownership, The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation strives to educate dog owners on their roles and responsibilities and how best to fulfill them. Dedicated to advancing the health of dogs and their owners, their guide details everything from acknowledging the commitment involved to teaching commands and cleaning up after your dog.*
Several organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also have similar guides listing our duties as dog owners and how we can keep our dogs and ourselves healthy.
Visibility and Accessibility of Dog Waste Facilities
Education and understanding are vital components to becoming responsible dog owners but, without visible and accessible trash cans and pet waste stations, it will only solve part of the issue. The type of waste station, its placement, and clear signage are vital in helping responsible dog owners solve this issue.
Type of Waste Station
Due to the harmful effects of dog excrement, a trash can or pet waste station should have the capability to hold waste efficiently and hygienically.
For pet waste stations, metal chute systems and detachable bodies are the easiest methods to achieve this. Easily maintainable and cleaned, these ensure efficient upkeep while also trapping unwanted odors inside.
An adapted trash can, can also function as a pet waste station. Highlighting its dual purpose by adding clear signage and exploring the option of a push door, trash cans can also fulfill the requirements of pet waste disposal.
Due to their usual location in parks, recreational areas, and other outdoor areas with high footfalls and all types of weather, fitting a durable and tamper-resistant pet waste station is an ideal solution. Available in various capacities and with or without post-mounting, the product you choose may feature a self-returning lid, protecting the community by ensuring all contents remain inside. Our guide on How to Choose a Pet Waste Station is available to aid in selecting a waste station.
Placement and Signage
Being able to actively find a pet waste station is perhaps the most vital element of effectively disposing of dog poop. Mounting the waste stations and adding easily identifiable decals and color schemes to display their function will enhance visibility, and positioning them on busy footpaths or sidewalks frequented by dog walkers will increase accessibility.
Another consideration is the availability of dog poop pick-up bags. A handy dispenser located on the side can really help owners.
Alternative solutions for areas with less space to house multiple assortments of pet waste stations would be to explore the options of standard decals available for trash cans. With options for split decals for pet waste and trash, these images create a dual-functioning trash can without demanding extra room. Personalized images can highlight the function of the trash cans and make disposing of pet waste and trash clearer.
From Zoom adeptness and mental health prioritization to the reaffirmation that dogs are a man’s best friend, the lockdown has taught us a lot. But perhaps no lesson has been more important than the realization that teamwork and collective thinking are the way forward and applicable to every situation, even pet waste.
With the issue of pet waste persisting, this communal approach is as important as ever. Moving forward, and in conjunction with organizations and communities, we can work together to educate dog owners about the possible harm irresponsible ownership can cause while providing visible and accessible pet waste facilities.
Pet Waste Station Help -
Campaign Resources -
Responsibilities of a Dog Owner -