5 Reasons You Should Pick Up After Your Dog

Pet owner cleaning up dog's poop

5 Reasons You Should Pick Up After Your Dog

Picking Up Your Dog’s Waste

This week from April 1st-7th  is International Pooper Scooper Week, a week to educate pet owners on the importance of cleaning up your dog’s waste. Dog waste is mainly seen as a litter or environmental issue, but it can also present health and safety risks, which is why it is imperative to make sure it is cleaned up. Below are just some of the reasons why you should be picking up after your dog.

1. Dog Poop Cannot Break Down On Its Own

Did you know dog waste can take up to 12 months to fully break down? When rainwater washes over dog poop, it can flow into the drainage systems. This contaminated water is transported into lakes, streams, and rivers. Thinking of going swimming this weekend? You could be swimming in faecal water!

Dog poop that is carried into waterways could contain pathogens that affect living things in the water, and anyone that comes into contact with it could become very ill. As well, it can release harmful nutrients that will cause excessive growth of algae and weeds in the water, making it unsuitable for people to swim, fish, or even boat in. You may think your dog can’t do much damage alone, keep in mind that your dog is likely one of hundreds in your local area.

Responsible dog owner leaning down to pick up her dog's poop in the park using a poop bag

2. Dog Poop Carries Disease

Their waste could carry bacteria and parasites that are harmful to other pets and humans. Diseases in poop can be transmitted by flies or other pets that come into contact with it. E. coli and salmonella are some of the bacteria which are carried in dog waste.

Parasites and bacteria can stay in the soil for years, and when you fail to pick up after your dog, other people’s pets are put at risk for exposure to dangerous bacteria. Children who play outside or even gardeners who come into contact with this could become very sick.

Close up green grass field with blur park background

3. Dog Poop Is Not a Fertiliser 

Since most dogs’ diets are high in protein, it has the reverse effect of fertilizer. Unlike cow manure, which is essentially composted grass, dog’s poop is acidic, and this can destroy the grass underneath it.

It is exceptionally high in nitrogen and phosphorus, so by not picking up your dogs’ waste and letting it lay in your garden, it will kill your grass if it isn’t picked up due to the acidity.

4. Common Courtesy

If you’ve ever stepped in dog poop and found yourself trying to scrape it off the heels of your shoe, you know how annoying and nasty it can be. Don’t let your dog’s poop end up on someone else’s shoe and ruin their day.

Picking up after your dog is not only common courtesy but your responsibility as a pet parent. When faeces is left lying in gardens, grassy areas, parks, and even on the path, the smell can quickly become overwhelming. You own your dog, so what waste he makes is your duty to clean up.

5. It Is The Law

Section 22 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997 makes it an offence for the person in charge of a dog not to clean up when their dog fouls in a public place. Failure to clean up your dog’s waste can lead to a €150 on-the-spot fine or on summary conviction to a fine of up to €4,000. For more information, click here.


As annoying and unpleasant as picking up your dog’s waste can be, it is a very minor inconvenience when compared to the consequences of overlooking this responsibility. By taking an extra minute or two to clean up after your pup, you’re not only being a responsible pet owner and good citizen to the local community, but you’re also helping the world, one piece of poop at a time.


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