The scoop on poop: Facts and fiction about animal waste


Pet owners should give a crap about April...literally.

This month kicked off with ‘International Pooper Scooper Week on April 1 and will end with a similarly themed weekly ahem celebration: National Scoop the Poop Week.

To commemorate both - and that daily ritual for pet parents - we separate the fact from the fiction about disposing pet poop.


Flushing dog poop down the toilet - without a bag, only the waste - is perhaps the best disposal method, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Resources Defense Council. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into storm drains, and eventually into local waterbodies.

But cat feces should never be flushed, as it may contain Toxoplasma gondii, parasite that can infect people and animals. Municipal water treatment systems do not always kill this parasite.


Leaving dog poop behind is good for the soil. Reality: In order for feces from a carnivorous animal to be used as an effective fertilizer, it has to be fully composted with other materials such as egg shells and grass clippings and allowed to break down over time.


America's 78.2 million dogs collectively deposit 10 million tons of waste per year, according to waste clean-up service, a href="">Doody Calls. That’s enough to fill some 268,000 tractor trailers.


Dog waste cannot harm your health. Reality: Dog feces can carry a host of disease and worms -- including heartworms, whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, parvovirus, giardia, salmonella, and even E. coli. This is why it’s imperative to clean it up after Fido does his duty.


If not flushing (again only bagless dog poop, never cat waste), it’s best to use a biodegradable bag and place in the garbage.


Bagged poop can be flushed. Reality: It can clog home plumbing and stress sewer systems.

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