Don’t wait for spring cleaning to scoop poop

Snow covered yard in Louisville

By Jason Smith

When it comes to taking care of business, dogs don’t mind the weather. You shouldn’t either.

This morning, I had the pleasure of cleaning my customers’ yards in 9° weather with between 1 to 2 inches of snow on the ground. When it comes to keeping their yards poop free, my customers know it’s a year-round job. Somebody has to do it, but it doesn’t have to be you!

The average dog produces ¾ pound of waste per day. That’s about 5¼ pounds of waste per week. Small pickings if you only have one dog; however, it is reported that the average household in the United States owns four dogs. That means most yards have about 21 pounds of waste piling up each week. Over a 13-week period, this equates to 273 pounds of waste! Yikes!

Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away. In fact, leaving waste to accumulate does more harm than good.

Dog waste may contain pathogens that can cause disease in both dogs and humans. The nitrogen in dog poop can cause “lawn burn” – yellow spots – or even kill grass. Furthermore, rain and snow can carry contaminants from dog waste into source water where it enters streams and can kill fish.

Before I started my route, I had to drop off my son at day care. While I was there, I talked with another parent briefly, about how I was heading out to go scoop dog poop. He commented, “It should be easy to see.” This is not necessarily so.

For example, imagine with me a pristine yard with no precipitation. Throughout the week, dogs poop in the yard. Suddenly, it snows covering up the layer of poop. Now, despite the weather, dogs still need to relieve their bladder and bowels, so they poop in the yard some more. Now, you have a fresh layer of poop on top of a layer of snow covering up a layer of poop on top of the grass. So to the parent’s point, yes, visibility of dog poop is better in snow but only if it’s fresh poop after the snowfall. Old poop is hidden underneath and is harder to spot.

snow covered poo

Sometimes, bottom layer poop sticks up through the layer of snow. This is helpful in locating buried poop; however, most of the time, it will go unseen until you step in it. The beautiful thing about cold weather is that it freezes the poop. This hardens it so if you do step in it, you won’t have a mess on your shoes.

It’s no secret that our accuracy is reduced in snowy conditions. We find some buried poop and collect all of the surface poop. But what about the stuff we couldn’t find? It’ll lie there until the next cleaning. By then, the snow should have melted.

And that’s why dog poop needs weekly maintenance even in the winter. Could you imagine what your yard might look like if no one scooped the poop in the snow? Clearly, you will not want to neglect this duty.

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