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What exactly should you do about the dog poop in your yard?

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

You're not cleaning up your dog's waste often enough and it's hazardous

Backyard dog poop is more than just an unfortunate misstep waiting to happen.

According to a report published by the Los Angeles County Department of Health, dog feces are hazardous to the health of both humans and pets. Dog defecation can be dangerous from the moment it drops to many weeks thereafter. The hazards, in fact, can range from bacterial infestations, which become transmittable the moment your dog poops, to parasite eggs that can live in the soil for months or even years.

In other words, your backyard is a petri dish of communicable disease. I'm not here to judge. When my daughter was just starting to toddle, I was horrified when she stumble-ran across the yard to me with a dried out dog turd in her hands. Clearly, I was not on top of the backyard cleaning routine.

And really, who is? The Huffington Post reports that owners should pick up their dog's poop every damn day. If I remember correctly, the only reason I bought a house with a yard was so I could pretend my dog's poop didn't exist, except on lawn-mowing day when the dried out stool could be pulverized back into the soil from whence it came. Susie Homemaker I am not. But neither did I think I was putting my family's health at risk with my negligence.

Once you understand the importance of regular cleanup, there are reasonably simple solutions to the dog poop problem. As discussed, you must first commit to cleaning up your dog's poop every single day in order to prevent disease and soil contamination. The Housebreaking Bible suggests that owners use either a poop scoop shovel or a plastic poop bag to contain the mess. It further recommends that owners have a separate, lined trash can in the backyard to store the poop once it is picked up. Doing so will help eliminate odors in the regular trash can and make it easier to assimilate the daily cleanup into a routine. If you use a shovel rather than bags, it is recommended that you rinse it off and disinfect it once daily in order to prevent flies and odors.

These recommendations are well and good, but many dog owners may still struggle with daily doody duty. Thankfully, entrepreneurs are plenty aware of humans' very natural avoidance of dog stools. You can hire a pet waste removal company to come to your house on a regular schedule to clean your backyard for you. Services and prices vary depending on location, but it is typical to hire a company to come out one to three times per week to the tune of between $7-$10 per cleanup. Money well-spent? Only you can make that call.

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