So much about dog care is fun–from dog walking to grooming to training your dog–but scooping poop is not one of those fun chores. Whether you just don’t have the time or just don’t want to mess with, well, the mess, you might consider hiring a pooper scooper service to clean your yard.
Why It’s Important to Get Poop Out of Your Yard
Besides an unsightly mess, did you know you and your children can get roundworms from infected dog droppings left in your yard?
The Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists (aPaws) notes that it’s especially important as we move into warm weather and enjoying our backyards:
“A number of common parasites, including roundworm, are transmitted via dog feces. When infected dog droppings are left on the ground, the eggs of the roundworms and other parasites can linger in the soil for years. As a result, anyone who comes in contact with the soil also comes in contact with the infected eggs.
“Children run the greatest risk of infection because they’re prone to play in the dirt at the park or playground and then put their hands in their mouths or rub their eyes with their hands. But even a group of teens or adults playing Frisbee or touch football in an open area could be in danger. Parasitic infections can make humans extremely sick, and for pregnant women can pose serious harm to their unborn child.”
Danger to the Environment
The danger of dog poop does end at your property line. Dog waste is classified as a “non-point source pollutant” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and notes, “These pollutants can harm fish and wildlife populations, kill native vegetation, foul drinking water, and make recreational areas unsafe and unpleasant.”
When it rains, waste is washed into storm drains and then on to rivers and lakes. There the nutrients from the decomposing poop feed algae. Not only can the algae be hazardous but it also prevents sunlight from entering the water can endanger the fish and other marine life.
According to Clean Water Campaign, “Pet waste contributes to bacterial contamination of our rivers, lakes and streams. Pet waste contains harmful bacteria such as E. Coli and fecal coliform. Waters that contain a high amount of bacteria such as E. Coli are unfit for human contact. A single gram of pet waste contains an average of 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, some of which can cause disease in humans.“
Searching for a pooper scooper near me?
For a pooper scooper service near you, the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists (aPaws) maintains an online list of member pooper scooper services arranged by state. (All the aPaws members are required to maintain insurance.)
You can also check with the national pooper scooper franchises:
- DoodyCalls: DoodyCalls was founded in 2000. Along with pooper scooper services, they also offer yard deodorizing and pet waste station installation and maintenance.
- Pet Butler: This company has been scooping the poop since 1988; along with traditional pooper scooper services, they also offer pet care and pet shuttle services (and commercial pooper scooper services for apartments and businesses).
- Poop911: Uniformed pet waster removers at this service can also clean and disinfect deodorize decks, patios, and dog runs.
- Scoop Soldiers: Found primarily in Southern and Southwest states, Scoop Soldiers offers a free first visit and emails you a photo of your secured gate after each visit.
There’s a pet holiday for that!
Yep, there’s even a pet holiday for pooper scoopers! Every year, April 1-7 is designated as International Pooper Scooper Week. The awareness week was founded by aPaws as a way to shine the spotlight on the importance of picking up after your dog.
International Pooper Scooper Week isn’t the only time of year you might hear about aPaws; this association also an annual national convention. The highlight and often-talked-about event is the Terd Herding Contest to determine the fastest pooper scooper. We kid you not!
Questions to Ask a Pooper Scooper Service
Consider asking these questions to the pet waste removal company you’re considering:
Do I have to sign a long-term contract?
Many pooper scooper companies will not make you sign a contract. They will start service and end service whenever you request. These are companies that rely on a good reputation to build their customer loyalty.
How much do you charge?
Check around, costs are different depending on where you live, how many times a week the waste company visits, how big your yard is, and how many dogs you have.
As a rough estimate, expect to pay about $50 per month for a once-weekly visit in a yard with one dog and about $55 a month for two dogs.
Bump your service up to twice-weekly and expect to pay about $90 a month for one dog or $95 for two dogs.
Do I have to pay in advance or will you bill after the job is completed each month?
You would probably prefer to billed after the work is completed, unless they’ve come highly recommended and you trust the company.
How do you clean the scooping equipment?
A reputable waste company will clean their equipment with anti-microbials after each use to prevent any possible cross-contamination. You don’t want uncleaned equipment used for someone else’s dog also used on your grass where your kids play.
How does the pooper scooper service dispose of the dog waste?
Do they simply toss it, unbagged, into your garbage can, or do they bag it up and take it with them to dispose?
What communication can customers expect?
The pooper scooper service you choose should contact you if they find something is wrong.
They should let you know if they find a foreign object in your dog’s poo so that you know your dog is chewing on something they shouldn’t. The company should also notify you if your dog isn’t looking well or seems unusually lethargic.
Using a pooper scooper service can be money well spent, especially if you have several big dogs. By asking these questions, you can find a good business that will take care of your dog’s business.