Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Clean Up After Your Pet

Cleaning up after your dog is not only a healthy practice, but it is responsible pet ownership. Dog waste is extremely disagreeable stuff to step on and, because it's slippery, it can be dangerous. Unfortunately, dog and cat waste, unlike cow or horse manure, has no commercial value. It doesn't compost well, so it's of no interest to gardeners. It's unsightly and offensive, and it often carries disease. Pets and children can pick up worms and other infections from canine or feline matter, and when it dries and becomes airborne, which happens whenever the wind blows, small particles can cause respiratory problems in people.

The easiest way to clean up after your dog is to pick up the droppings with a paper towel or plastic bag. Place your hand inside the plastic bag and after collecting the waste, invert the bag so the droppings are inside it. Pet supply stores sell all kinds of pet waste collection bags (in assorted colors!) and related equipment.

While collecting your dog's feces, cleaning the cat box or changing the paper in your bird's cage, notice what's there. Are the stools firm and well-shaped, loose or runny, covered with mucus or an old color? Is there blood? Stool watching is an important way to keep track of your pet's health.

If your dog or cat has an accident in the house, don't use household cleaning products or anything containing ammonia. Lift what you can with paper towels and apply an 'enzyme stain and odor remover' sold in pet supply stores for this purpose. Enzymes literally digest the proteins in the stain, removing the scent completely.

Cats are tidy by nature and rarely urinate or defecate outside a clean, convenient well-maintained litter box, assuming one is available.