Your dog’s waste is already classified as an environmental pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency, giving it the non-point source pollutant label in 1991. Because of this reclassification of canine fecal matter, dog owners are exercising more responsibility in the management of their pet’s wastes while contributing to the overall cleanliness of the environment. As such, to say that a pooper scooper is important is an understatement. Unless you don’t mind picking up your dog’s mess with your bare hands, you’re definitely better off with a dog poop disposal unit. And this is what we are here for. We’re bringing you a collection of the best dog poop scooper products in the market so that you’ll be more empowered to manage your pooch’s fecal wastes.
Pooper Scooper Buying Guide
More and more cities and communities today have laws regarding pet poop. If your community doesn’t have such legislation yet, then it should not prevent you from getting an appropriate pooper scooper. As a matter of courtesy and showing respect for the other members in your community, you need to show your responsibility as a pet parent and as a member of society by cleaning up your dog’s mess right after. This is why a pet pooper scooper is important. Don’t worry if you don’t have any inkling on how to pick one for your household.
What is a Pooper Scooper?
As the name suggests a pooper scooper is a device or gadget that you use to pick up fecal waste material eliminated by animals. The very first design of a canine poop scoop involved a metal bin that comes with a rake-like edge. One can look at it more like a dust pan with a wooden handle and a rake-like edge. The original poop scoop features a scooper which also happens to be designed like a rake. The system also featured a hatch upon which a garbage bag can be fitted to accommodate the animal’s waste material. It was only in the early 1970s when the term pooper scooper found its way into the modern dictionary.
Why Should You Buy a Dog Pooper Scooper?
There are many reasons why you should buy a dog pooper scooper. While we will be discussing more of these reasons in greater detail in the succeeding sections, suffice it to say you will need a canine poop scoop precisely for the following reasons.
- Controls the transmission of diseases
Every gram of our dog’s waste can contain as many as 23 million coliforms, most Escherichia coli bacteria. Unfortunately, it can also contain Neospora caninum and Toxocara canis as well as many other parasites including roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms. In some cases it can also contain the viruses from the Parvoviridae and Coronaviridae families. Aside from the bacteria E. coli, our pooches’ poop can also be contaminated with Campylobacter, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia species. The list is quite long. Suffice it to say, there is a reason why it is called a waste.
- Makes our yards more usable
You may have the loveliest garden in the neighborhood or even a backyard where kids love to play, but if it is littered with canine droppings, all of these will be for naught. Kids love to play in the backyard. However, how can they enjoy their playtime if there are plenty of poop lying around?
- Controls flies and other pests
Even if canine droppings are not going to seep through the topsoil, the mere fact that these are simply lying on the ground means they will attract flies and other pests. And we all know how pesky flies can be. They can land on these droppings, fly off, and land on our food. This is one of the most efficient ways in which disease can be transmitted.
- Shows the community that we are responsible pet parents
Not everyone in the community is a dog lover. There have been many incidents of neighbors quarreling simply because one’s dog pooped on another’s backyard or even curb. The thing is that, you need to be responsible enough for your dog’s actions. Unless you can train your pooch to clean up every time it passes stool, then you’d really have to clean up the mess as a matter of courtesy and respect for the others in the neighborhood.
- Prevents our dogs from eating stools
You may think this does not apply to you, but dogs will be dogs. At some point in their lives, they will try to scavenge. Hopefully the first thing they will try to ‘sample’ will not be another dog’s poop.
- Required by law
Ever since the EPA reclassified dog poop as an environmental pollutant, local governments have initiated steps to make pet owners accept responsibility for their pets. For example, the city of New York has an existing Pooper Scooper Law that requires pet owners to prevent their pets from committing any nuisance on any public area. It also includes private areas with premises that may be used by the public.
Things to Consider When Buying a Pooper Scooper
Picking the right pooper scooper is not inherently difficult. You only need to keep these things in mind and you can easily narrow down your choices to at least three. From there, picking the best one should already be a breeze.
The way the dog poop clean up device has been constructed matters. It is important that it be sturdy and highly durable. And for that, you’d have to examine the materials upon which these products are made of. Essentially, you would want a gadget that will last you many years and not one that is good for one or two uses.
You also do not want to get something that is as heavy as a barbell. Remember that you will be carrying this gadget to areas where your pooch pooped. Unfortunately, lightweight often means a substantial reduction in the strength and durability of the material. That is why you have to make sure that you get a pet pooper scooper that is both lightweight and durable. If not, then you should consider striking a balance between the two.
- Ease of use and maintenance
Remember that you’ll be picking up poop. As such, you would want the gadget to offer you a certain level of convenience while removing your pet’s poop off the ground. This is where adjustable handles come in. If the handle is ergonomic, then that is a fine quality as well. You’d have to look at just how the device will be able to scoop the poop. If it can do so without so much as breaking a sweat, then get it. If it is fully manual, then the number of steps you need to perform to scoop the poop should be considered. Make sure it’s easy to clean, too.
Why it is Important to Get Rid of Dog Poop
As we have already mentioned above, our dog’s fecal waste isn’t exactly gold that you would want to collect and preserve. It is not the kind of animal waste either that you can turn into manure as natural fertilizer. No matter how we look at it, our dog’s fecal matter will always be considered as an environmental pollutant.
In 1991 the Environmental Protection Agency reclassified dog poop as a non-point source pollutant, making it technically the same, as far as legal labeling goes, with other NPS pollutants like grease and toxic chemicals, herbicides and insecticides, and a lot more. The EPA estimates that a gram of our canine pet’s fecal matter can harbor as much as 23 million coliform bacteria.
The agency was even kind enough to illustrate the potential environmental disaster dogs’ poops bring. In the estimate, if you were to collect the fecal matter of 100 dogs over a period of 3 days, the resulting level of coliform bacteria is enough to close an entire bay, albeit temporarily. What’s more, the same scenario can also close watershed within 20 miles of the fecal matter concentration. This means no shell fishing and swimming within this exclusive 20 mile zone.
A commonly-cited example of the effects of coliform bacteria on the ecosystem is that of the Four Mile Run watershed located in Northern Virginia. With a dog population numbering more than 11,400 contributing to about 5,000 pounds of fecal waste matter on a daily basis, the entire watershed has indeed been considered as heavily-polluted.
Since the 1990s, the EPA has been collecting samples from the watershed and its tributaries, collecting more than 500 samples of fecal coliform bacteria. More than half of the samples collected have clearly exceeded the water quality standards established for fecal coliform bacteria by the state of Virginia.
The culprit is not necessarily your dog’s feces. Unfortunately, because it decomposes in waterways and other bodies of water, the resulting mix of organic materials and moisture creates a nutrient mix that is beneficial for algae and other microorganisms such as bacteria.
The more ‘nutrients’ dog droppings create the more microorganisms thrive on it. Over time, this significantly reduces the amount of light penetrating through the surface of the water. This ultimately decreases the level of oxygen in the water, starving fish and aquatic life forms of this invaluable mineral – oxygen.
But then, you don’t really have to look on the whole ecosystem of a region to appreciate the risks posed by canine droppings. Let’s try to take a look at the journey of our dog’s poop from the moment it leaves their anus up to the time these droppings will begin wreaking havoc into our lives and the larger community.
- Microorganisms seep into the soil
Bacteria and other microorganisms seep into the soil and begin their journey. These microorganisms are pushed further down into the watershed where they pollute the land. In instances where the poop happens to be directed to the neighborhood sewage system, it ends up at the wastewater treatment facility. Unfortunately, wastewater treatment facilities are not really designed to filter the waste coming from our dogs.
- Microorganisms contaminate bodies of water
Because wastewater treatment facilities are not especially designed to take care of dog poop, bacteria and other pathogenic microorganisms eventually find their way into open bodies of water and other similar geologic features. These end up in beaches, streams, lakes, rivers, and even in local water utility systems.
- Humans and other living things interact with these bodies of water
Who doesn’t love swimming in the beach or even in other bodies of water? Unfortunately, like the Four Mile Run watershed incident, it really isn’t safe to be swimming in these bodies of water. An even sadder fact is that there really is no way of telling whether the coliform bacterial count present in the bodies of water is still within acceptable limits as defined by state environmental protection experts. There are also no frequent checks of the coliform content of these bodies of water so we are simply taking the risk.
Even fishing in these waters can have its negative effects. While mollusks and other shellfishes are more susceptible to the negative effects of coliforms, it is not unusual for other aquatic life forms to be affected. While cooking these fishes and shellfishes will somehow provide some form of safety assurance, some of us clearly would like to have our fish served sashimi-style.
But here’s the thing. A dog’s poop doesn’t need to seep through the soil for it to spread its pathogenicity. Even while the fecal matter is still on dry land, insects and even humans can actually interact with it. Flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and ants can all land or crawl over it. When they do, they carry some of the germs on the poop onto their tiny legs. When they land or crawl onto our skin or even onto our food, they transmit the pathogenic microorganisms.
Children playing in the yard are also not immune to these canine droppings. This is especially true for toddlers and preschoolers whose penchant for backyard exploration remains unmatched. They can stomp on these droppings or, worse, can actually play with them like play-dough.
Other pets can be affected as well. Some dogs are known to eat poop. Other pets can likewise eat poop. While we are not really sure how such will affect their overall health or what will happen to the microorganisms that they inadvertently ingested, we can only assume that these will again find their way into bodies of both land and water.
It’s a cycle that clearly has no end; unless the whole community – both dog owners and non-dog owners alike – will do their part.
But why is a dog’s poop dangerous, you ask? Well, take a look at the different microorganisms these canine droppings carry.
- Giardia species
Being the parents of our pets, especially our dogs, it is our responsibility to look after their welfare. While we give them nutritious and high quality dog food, it is also our responsibility to cleanup their mess afterwards. A pooper scooper can help us manage these fecal wastes more efficiently and do our communities a great service by minimizing the spread of disease-causing microorganisms that may be present in our dog’s poop.