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Why Scoop Dog Poop

November 07, 2014

Why spend an entire blog post discussing ‘why scoop dog poop?’

While there are many kinds of animal poop that may augmentΒ  your garden, dog poop isn’t even close to being one of them. In fact, dog waste houses some nasty, toxic, sickening stuff. Even if it doesn’t manage you make you sick, it can leach into storm collection systems and streams, leading to their contamination. So, if you’re planning to add a pooch to your garden, be prepared to be a vigilant pooper scooper, please!

Scoop Dog Poop for Playful Pups

Giving dogs a sanitary yard to play in is one reason to scoop your poop!

Recently, I was quizzed by a new homeowner about ground covers. Turns out, he was asking because he wanted to install said ground cover in a small, tucked away area of his yard where he would train his dogs to do their business.

Okay, that’s a great idea. Ground cover instead of lawn for dogs. Installed in a tucked away area. Investing time in training the dogs to use the area.

Except his plan didn’t end there. The next part of his reasoning made me little ill. Besides tucking his doggie toilet away so he wouldn’t step in the dog’s nasty business, his ultimate goal was to “let the rain and elements wash away the waste.”

Not a good idea.

In fact, here in Seattle, his plan is actually illegal. Even on your own property. At a minimum, you could be looking a fine of around $100 for not picking up your dog’s waste every 24 hours. And, in some situations, you might be in for bigger issues and fines (see section 9.25.081) if it is determined that your poop accumulation poses an unsanitary living condition for your dog.

Chocolate lab & golden lab

Giving your dogs a healthy outdoor space will help them live happily into old age.

So, how would the city find out and give you said ticket?

Despite the amount of rain Seattle’s famous for, it isn’t likely all that poop would just wash away (into storm systems, which it would likely contaminate). Rather, much would languish in place — especially during winter when the poop would freeze and rats would eat it. Yes, rats will happily munch on dog waste, which might reduce the size of your canine poop pile. But, it would also mean helping increase the population of disease-spreading rodents, too. And, then in summer, when our natural drought period hits, and it’s hot, and your neighbors are outside trying to enjoy their garden – what then? Why that mountain of crap would stink to high heaven, which might just get you reported by the disgusted people living near your craptacular garden of doody.

Small old guard dog

Even little dogs and puppies produce problematic waste.
Tiny turds aren’t an excuse to leave it in place!

So, scoop your poop. Bag it. Trash it. Be a good neighbor and a good pet parent. And don’t grow a garden of poo.

Never put it in your yard waste pick up. Don’t try to recycle it in your worm bin or compost heap. And, never, ever put it in your food garden.

Learn more about pest waste disease issues, management and regulations here.


  1. Cynthia Slate says:

    We always scoop our dog poop right away. I am worried about cat poop in my yard. Can you please address that issue as well.

  2. Thanks for the note Cynthia. Good for you. Not sure what you mean about addressing cat poop. The stuff is toxic & nasty. Sadly, its near impossible to make homeowners clean up after their outdoor cats.

  3. […] projects to remove lawn passively. Chips can be cut into passive compost heaps. And, they make a great dog toilet material – it’s so easy to clean up poop on a chip! And, arborist chips can work for kid play […]

  4. Lawrence says:

    Cool stuff to check out – Thanks!

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