According to a 2012 study, dogs produce more than 10 million tons of feces in the United States alone. Your own dog's production will be significantly less than 10 million tons, but without proper disposal, even one dog's waste left exposed can cause a significant health and environmental problem. Your choices for disposal have expanded beyond the trash can and the toilet. Today's environmentally friendly dog owners are finding a use for doggie-doo-disposal septic systems buried in the backyard.
Dangers of Dog Dung
Dog feces left on the ground can cause a health hazard -- it can contain harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, giardia, and E. coli. Contact with these bacteria can cause sickness in other pets and children, as well as other wildlife and adults. Accumulated feces can kill grass, create a strong odor and attract insects. Even owners who do pick up and throw away their dog's mess may contribute to other potential environmental problems. Dog feces decaying in landfills releases methane gas, which is a dangerous greenhouse gas; and feces wrapped in plastic cannot begin decomposing until the plastic does. You can't add pet waste to your compost heap since the pathogens it contains are difficult to kill.
Dog-Friendly Septic Systems
Septic systems for dogs are relatively easy to install. They usually consist of a cylindrical container, with a lidded top and seep holes in the base, buried in your yard. Specific directions vary depending on the brand of canine septic system you choose. However, most systems require you to drop your dog's waste into the container and add a scoop of the digesting powder and water. Depending on the amount of waste your dog produces, you may not need to add powder. The powder contains enzymes that break down dog feces in a natural way and reduce it to a safe liquid that seeps into the ground without causing dangers to the environment or to human health.
Enzyme packets contain bacteria that respond to the waste in the container and determine the types of enzymes needed to start breaking down the feces. Multiple types of enzymes serve together to break down the feces during this microbial process. The bacteria interact with the feces, sort out the leftover food from the waste and create a plethora of different enzymes specifically designed for each task. In fact, using a number of different bacteria helps break down the waste more effectively. Some septic systems use packets of concentrated enzymes, such as lipase, but these are usually not as efficient because they cannot reproduce themselves and may not be able to complete the job on their own.
Leaving Enzyme Types Up to Bacteria
The specific types of enzymes used in commercially available packets matter less than the presence of bacteria in those packets. When the packets contain bacteria and concentrated enzymes, the enzymes can begin doing their share of the work while the bacteria continue creating more enzymes to finish the job. Because bacteria can determine which enzymes are needed for the waste on their own, simply leaving the selection up to them is the most efficient way of breaking down doggie waste in these septic systems.
- NY Daily News: America's Dogs Poop 10 Million Tons a Year
- EcoLife: An Introduction to Pet Waste Disposal
- Pet Place: Ways to Clean Up Your Dog's Waste
- Thrifty Fun: Disposing of Dog Waste
- ATX Technologies: The Role of Bio-Enzymes in Our Environment
- YouTube.com: In-Ground Doggie Septic System From K9 Kennels
Amy Jorgensen has ghostwritten more than 100 articles and books on raising and training animals. She is also an amateur dog trainer. She has also written more than 200 blog posts, articles, and ebooks on wedding and party planning on behalf of professionals in the field.