My family and I recently took ownership of a home and you know what that means. It’s my job to take care of the yard work. Two of my least favorite things to do is washing dishes and cutting the grass. If I could, I’d pay someone to do both of these jobs to take them off my To Do List.
The only yard work I especially enjoy is scooping up dog poop. I know, for most people, it is the most disgusting job you could do. To tell you the truth, I’d rather scoop dog poop than change a baby’s diaper any day.
I’m a professional pooper-scooper by trade but today I want to share with you 5 simple ways of making cleaning up after your pet easier. After this, maybe someone can give me a few pointers on how to make cutting the grass and doing the dishes more enjoyable J
1. Feed Your Dogs a Wholesome Diet
I know what you’re thinking. What does feeding my dog have to do with scooping dog poop? The answer is a lot. I love reading Dr. Karen Becker’s blog on healthypets.mercola.com. She always offers up sound advice when it comes to feeding your pets. In fact, one of her principle concepts is feeding your pets a “species appropriate diet.” A species appropriate diet delivers your dog or cat the appropriate nutrition he or she needs. When this happens, there are numerous health benefits.
First, their bodies process the nutrients more efficiently. This usually improves their immune systems so they have fewer health problems. It helps them to lose weight and have more energy. Most notably, they will produce smaller, firmer stools compared with bargain brand foods that usually result in wet, bulky, smelly stools or even diarrhea. I stumbled upon this effect by accident.
A couple years ago, I got this crazy idea to start making my own dog food. I asked a friend with a culinary arts degree to help develop the recipes. After she cooked a batch, I handed out samples to another friend of mine at church. The next week, not only did he tell me that his dogs loved the food, he also told me the poop was smaller than before. I was amazed! It was only after I did more research that I found out that appropriately feeding your dogs results in smaller waste.
When it comes to selecting an appropriate food, there are a number of factors to consider. For example, you will want to select foods that are free from artificial ingredients. This would include chemical preservatives like BHA, BHT, or propylene glycol. Some of the best foods use vitamins E and C as preservatives. BHA and BHT are possible carcinogens and propylene glycol can be lethal in dogs at a dose of 9 mL/kg.
Artificial coloring is another ingredient to avoid. Artificial coloring does little to entice dogs to eat. In fact, manufacturers often use artificial coloring to make dog food appear more appetizing to dog owners. Unfortunately, artificial coloring could cause a number of unwanted side effects. Studies have shown that yellow no. 6, blue no. 1, and blue no. 2 possess carcinogenic qualities. Malignant tumors can appear throughout the body and affect adrenal glands and kidneys. Artificial colors may also cause allergic reactions or hyperactivity.
Other ingredients to watch out for include wheat and corn. Avoid feeding your dog that lists either of these within the first five ingredients on the label. Both wheat and corn are top allergens for dogs and can cause itchy, dry skin. Feed your dogs a wholesome diet.
The most important point to consider when choosing a dog food is selecting one that your dog likes and one that you can reasonably afford.
2. Take your dogs for walks
I have found that when my customers are in the habit of walking their dogs, there are fewer piles of waste to clean up from their yard. That’s because dogs generally poop when they go for walks. The downside is you have to pick up after your pets when you walk them. The upside is when you go to do your yard work, there is fewer waste to interfere with your work.
3. Keep your grass cut
Yes, I know, we’re back to that dreaded chore that I hate to do but this is not only necessary to make cleaning up dog waste easier, but it helps to promote a healthy lawn. Tall and thick grass makes it difficult to clean up and remove dog waste. Lawn care experts recommend keeping your grass trimmed to 3 inches. At this length, cleaning up dog waste will be much easier.
4. Use the right tools
Aluminum Litter Pan and Rake/Spade Combo
There are plenty of tools available to clean up dog waste but using the right kind makes the process much easier. When I first started my business, I used an aluminum litter pan and rake/spade combo. I found these tools to be cheaply made of flimsy material. The handles on both the litter pan and the rake/spade combo were not long enough and required a lot of bending, which later took a toll on my back. The pan is so small that it does not collect a lot of waste.
In Korea, I used a one-handed hinged jaws pooper-scooper to clean up waste in the outdoor kennel. To its credit, it is more durable than aluminum pan and rake/spade combo but it is still not long enough for most people. It requires the user to bend and stoop to collect the waste. There is also not a lot of room for collecting waste when the jaws close.
Shovel and Bucket
I watched one of my customer’s neighbors clean up the waste in his yard. He used a bucket and a shovel. Now, a long handled shovel does not require bending. It can scoop large piles of waste with ease. Plus, the bucket allows you to collect more waste than a litter pan or the jaws of the one-handed scooper.
Jumbo Debris Pan and Extendable Cultivator
The tools that I prefer to use are the jumbo debris pan and extendable cultivator. The extendable cultivator glides swiftly through the grass picking up dog waste with ease. The debris pan offers mobility and collects up to 4 gallons of waste at a time. The cultivator is limited in that it cannot pick up small pieces of waste or runny waste, however, this combination of tools is much easier to use than the alternatives. One major benefit to the user is that it requires less time.
5. Hire a professional pooper scooper
Of course, if you hate scooping dog poop as much as I hate changing a baby’s diaper, doing the dishes, or cutting the grass, then you’ll probably want to hire a professional to do the dirty work for you. This is the best option if you don’t have a lot of time to devote to cleaning up dog waste. It’s even more reliable than assigning it to your kids. While we take care of scooping the poop, you have more time to focus on things that are important to you. Another benefit is improved relationships with your spouse. If you’ve ever been in an argument about whose job it is to scoop the poop, you know what I’m talking about.