Addressing backyard pet waste
Pets benefit households in myriad ways. The Animal Health Foundation notes that being around pets can decrease cortisol levels — a hormone activated by stress. Pets also may inspire their owners to engage in physical activity, such as walks around the neighborhood or play sessions in the backyard, and a physically active lifestyle can reduce a person’s risk for various diseases.
To reap the rewards of a pet, owners must be willing to put in the effort to care for companion animals. This includes those tasks that can be unsavory, such as cleaning up pet waste. Not only is pet waste messy, if left out and about it can be an eyesore, a health risk and affect the quality of the soil in one’s yard.
Regular removal of pet waste benefits the environment as well as pets and their owners. There are a variety of solutions that can help people rid their lawns of pet waste.
• Put it in the trash. If allowed, placing waste in a trash receptacle is an option. However, certain areas of the country do not allow feces disposal in landfills. Bacteria found in animal excrement also can leach into the environment if not handled properly.
• Flush it. Another solution is to flush waste down the toilet. But that is not always convenient and it requires owners to bring waste indoors. Do not flush cat waste that is covered in litter
• Utilize a sewer line attachment. This disposal system is connected directly to a septic tank or sewer line. It will require washing out debris and waste that gets stuck in the plumbing.
• Use an enzymatic dog waste dissolver. Soaking waste and using an enzymatic product can dissolve it more safely than using lime or another chemical. It can be used out in the open, or applied to waste stored in a receptacle.
• Create a septic-style composter. Some people create a mini septic station in their yards in which the waste can break down and then dissolve into a predetermined corner of the property, away from where it can affect the landscape.
• Use a hose and water. Solid waste is not the only concern in the yard. Concentrated urine may contain high levels of nitrogen as well as salts and other compounds, according to The Spruce: Pets. These components alter the pH of the soil and cause patches of grass to die and turn yellow or brown. Females cause more damage because they squat and make a puddle of urine, while males tend to lift their legs and disperse the spray. Washing down areas where pets urinate can help dilute the urine and prevent damage.
Various products and strategies can help pet owners neatly and safely remove pet waste from their yards.