Years ago, I felt like a responsible dog owner because I trained my dogs to poop off the trail. Now I know better – even off the trail, dog poop takes up to a year to decompose. It also leaves behind bacteria and parasites that can pollute the water and soil for many years. Dog poop is very different from poop produced by wild animals, because of dogs’ diet, digestive system and proximity to humans.
Now that trail users have been educated about the health hazards of dog poop, our trails are lined with plastic poop bag flowers in bright green, blue, yellow and black.
Is this really an improvement?
Please, out of respect for our fellow hikers and the environment, let’s carry out those bags. With a carabiner attached to the leash, a dog can carry his own poop. If you want to block the smell, try stashing the poop bag in an old water bottle, or reusable zipped bag. If you dislike the idea of using plastic bags, splurge on the biodegradable version or use paper bags.
Together, we can create a healthier, more enjoyable trail experience for everyone!