Snow Policy Explanation ... Let It Snow!

Happy 2019 to you all!  Here's to another year of poop-free yards!  We'd like to kick off the new year by reviewing our snow policy. 


If there has been only a very light dusting of snow, we and our team of Scoopers can find what we are looking for and go about business as usual. But even when the grass is still visible in heavier dustings it becomes difficult to find deposits since they are lower than grass height. So if it snows much more than a very light dusting, we may need to skip that week's scheduled scooping as we cannot, alas, pick up what we cannot see.

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When snow is already on the ground, though, we absolutely forge ahead as usual to get your yard all cleaned up.  The only exception to this is when freezing rain has created slick and dangerous conditions.  But most often, the issue usually ends up being the timing of the snowfall and how close it happens before your scheduled service.

If you decide to clean up during a week that is missed due to snow, please let us know and we will credit your account for that week.  Otherwise, we do charge your usual amount as there is a double job to do when your Scooper returns and it's usually under "frightful" conditions.

We hope this helps clear things up before the dead of winter hits!
Cheers,
Tina and Emily LaBeaume

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POOlution: The Environmental Problem of Dog Waste

A single dog poop can contain millions of germs, parasites and bacteria that are harmful to human and dog health alike.  The Environmental Protection Agency places dog waste in the same category as herbicides, insecticides, oil, grease and other toxic chemicals.  And with the number of dogs living in America on the rise, with 89.7 million recorded in 2017, the amount of this toxic waste in our environment is also on the rise.  Dog poop that is left on the ground can be carried up in stormwater and make its way into our untreated waterways.  This poses a great risk to organisms that depend on those ecosystems as well as people who use them for recreational purposes.  In order to protect New Jersey's five water regions and has twenty watershed management areas (WMAs), and our environment as a whole, we must be more conscious about how we handle and dispose of our dogs' waste.

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The first thing you can do to help minimize the negative impacts of dog waste on our environment is simply to make sure that it is picked up on a regular basis.  Ideally, dog waste should be picked up as soon as it hits the ground and this is especially true when you are walking your dog in your community.  But every practical dog owner knows that this just isn't feasible when it comes to dogs using a private outdoor space like a yard or dog run on a regular basis.  In this situation the best frequency of pickup really depends on the size of the space, number of dogs and humans using it and its proximity to waterways.  But the safest bet, as a general rule, is to pick up collected dog waste once every week.  This is what we recommend for most of our clients.

When we go to a yard for a cleaning we use 13 gallon trash bags to line a bin into which we deposit each pile of poop that we find using a hoe-like periscopic tool.  At an average stop we collect one bag and then place that bag into a second bag before placing it into the trash or hauling it away (either way, its destination is the landfill.)  During first time cleanups, like the one pictured below, and at yards that are used by three or more dogs it is more common to use 2 or more bags.  With an average of 25-30 stops per route, collecting at least 2 bags per stop, Big Business Scoopers alone uses 50-60 plastic trash bags per route.  Our Scoopers manage 17 routes per week over several New Jersey counties, bringing this total to at least 850 plastic bags used per week.  Of course, plastic is currently the optimal way to contain this toxic waste quickly and effectively, in order to prevent the spread of illness, but we do understand the implications of our business using so much of it.  Sometimes, it feels like we are canceling out the good we do of removing dog waste by also depositing so much plastic into our environment.  Talk about a conundrum!

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We pride ourselves on helping create a world in which dogs (and their humans) can live together even more harmoniously by enjoying safer and healthier outdoor spaces.  Thinking responsibly about how we are impacting our communities and environments by how we handle dog poop pick up and removal is an integral part of constantly striving toward that goal.  And to that end, we are, in this 15th year of business, beginning to look into options for disposing of dog waste in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way.  It will likely be a many years journey of discovery along which we are sure to make mistakes and learn some stinky lessons.  But we feel that it is imperative that we always attempt to do our small part.

The options are many and varied for offering our customers greener options.  We can swap 13 gallon plastic bags for ASTM 6400 certified large compostable bags like those offered by EcoSafe or BioBag, which will break down after reaching the landfill thus reducing plastics waste.  There is a product called Doggie Drain that seamlessly hooks up to a building's outdoor sewer line, allowing our Scoopers to flush (with a hose) dog waste directly into the sewer system.  Some trail blazers in the pet waste removal industry, like Green Scoop in Ohio,  are partnering with local water treatment plants or companies that have the capability to convert dog poop into natural gas and electricity.  Then there are DIY dog poop composter products like the Doggie Doolie which could be good options for dog owners with a lot of property and an open mind about composting right at home!  And there are certainly others that we have not yet come across.  We hope to share what we learn here on the blog as well as on social media so please feel free to follow along on this journey and share your thoughts and comments. 

Here's to greener dog poop!

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What Causes White Dog Poop?

Your dog's poop can tell you a lot about his or her health.  That's why there are 5 qualities of dog poop that we regularly check when we are poop scooping in our clients' yards.  Color is one of them and white dog poop is something we come across with relative frequency these days.  We're moving along, picking up brown dog poop as usual ... when suddenly: a white, chalky deposit!  Where has it come from?  And what does it mean??

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No, it isn't an old poop.  No, it hasn't simply dried up or been bleached by the sun.  So what is the deal here?

The good news is that white dog poop may be a natural and healthy poop.  If you are feeding your dog a high mineral raw food diet then he or she may very likely be producing these chalky, white deposits.  This is because the raw dog food diet contains a greater amount of calcium, meat and bones.  You will still want to keep an eye out, though, as "too much calcium in the diet can also lead to chronic constipation" (LoveToKnow.com.)  

If you suspect that obstipation (serious and obstinate constipation) is becoming the issue then you should talk to your vet.  For daily preventative measures to insure against constipation we suggest taking a look at this article from Healthy Pets.  Exercise, plenty of water, species-appropriate dietary fiber, probiotics and more will help your dog have regular and healthy poops.

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(Licking white dog poop, as Will Farrell is seen about to do here in the movie Step Brothers, will solve absolutely nothing.  We do not recommend it.)

There is a chance that your dog is pooping white because of something unusual that he or she is eating.  If your dog likes to pick in the garbage or get into paper products like paper towels, toilet paper and tissues then this might be the reason for the color change.  Try limiting your dog's access to such items and see if the problem persists.

White specks in your dog's poop are another story entirely.  If you are seeing what looks like white polka dots or rice grains in your dog's poop then those are worms!  These are easily treatable so it's just time to call your vet.

We will cover other colors of dog poop (green, gray, black, etc.) in future blog posts so be sure to stay tuned.

Is Your Backyard Safe For Your Dog?

Having a pet dog is awesome. There’s nothing like the love and fun you get from your furry friend.  And the unconditional love and excitement they show when you come home is worth any hassle. That’s why you take good care of your dog.

But is your backyard safe? Too many times, you hear stories about dogs who escape under a fence or get sick from a toxic plant. That’s why you need to inspect your backyard (or any part of your yard that’s fenced in). Before you can make sure things are safe, though, it pays to know what kind of problems to look for.

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Common Backyard Problems

By far, the biggest problem here is your fence. As Fence Authority explains, there are several ways your fence might not be good for your dog. Open-style fences can let dogs climb over it, while damage such as a missing board can give just enough space for your pet to squeeze through. The same is true for gaps under the fence. (Note that many dogs can get through gaps you might think too small for them.)

Although not common, there can be plants in your backyard toxic to your dog. Flowers like foxglove and crocus can make your dog very sick. You should also look around for any nests of bees or wasps, as dogs can easily be allergic to their stings.

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You also have to be careful with how long you let your dog play in the yard. Dogs need some time to run around outside, but leaving them out for too long means you can miss your dog’s needs. Remember that dogs run in packs. Since you’re the owner, you and your family are the pet’s pack. They need to spend time with you, so don’t think spending hours and hours in the yard is a good thing.

Protecting Your Dog

You’ve looked around your backyard and noticed a few problems. What should you do about them?

Notes From A Dog Walker explains that you can make a fence more secure by adding some landscaping. If your dog is a jumper or climber, put down some shrubs and bushes along the inside of the fence. This blocks your dog from escaping this way. If you have a chain-link fence, buy some bamboo rolls or slats to cover up the chains. Not only will this help stop your dog from getting through the fence, it looks great and gives some more privacy to your yard.

When it comes to plants, you can always pull toxic flowers. But as you try to keep your yard bright and green, skip the pesticides and weed killers. Both contain poison that can sit on the surface of grass and plants for days. If your dog licks either, they could get sick. And if you grow a garden, put a barrier around it. Onions, tomatoes, and chives can hurt your pet.

When To Hire A Contractor

At some point, you may have to give up trying to patch that old fence and get a new one installed. That’s especially true if you have an aggressive dog that likes to dig or charge. As strangers and animals move around just beyond the fence, your dog can turn a small gap into an escape route.

To take down and install a new chain-link fence in Newark, NJ, HomeAdvisor estimates the costs to be between $1,115 - $2,892 and will take around two days. A contractor can also repair or reinforce your fence as needed.

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Protect Your Dog

Letting your dog use the backyard is more than just convenient. It’s a great way to give your dog some exercise and fun. But you still need to keep your backyard safe. Make sure your fence is secure and replace it if not. Then remove any toxic plants and skip the chemicals for your lawn. This will help your pet dog stay healthy and happy.

Cindy Aldridge is passionate about dogs and pets and loves sharing her thoughts and insights on being a responsible dog owner. 

It helps to have support in the effort to keep your yard safe!  The Pooper Scooper that regularly visits your yard from Big Business Scoopers will also keep an eye out for any potential problems in your yard that could pose a threat to the health and safety of your dog.  Every Scooper is trained to report anything potentially hazardous back to our office so that we can contact you immediately.

Why Hire Us?: Dog Poop Destroys Your Lawn

Your lawn needs nitrogen to be healthy.  Dog waste is rich in nitrogen.  Yes, both your dog's pee and poop is very rich in something ... nitrogen.  Which your lawn needs.  Well done, pooches!  And thank you for the generous gifts of nitrogen-filled poop that you daily bestow upon the lawn!  Because it must be good for the lawn, then, right?  Right??  Not so fast!

Sir Jowlfrey Farquad has bestowed a gift upon your lawn.

The observant dog owner may notice that dog waste actually produces dead or burn spots all over the lawn.  That is because dog waste is just a little TOO rich in nitrogen.  All plants need this building block in order to thrive but according to GreenerGreenGrass Organic Lawn Care Blog "too much nitrogen can cause a 'burning' effect, killing the grass."  So no, Sir Jowlfrey Farquat, you are doing no one any great favor.  Sorry.

Dog urine does the most damage to lawns because it is often "bestowed" in a very concentrated area (especially by dogs who squat.)  And because of it's liquid form, it dissolves and does its damage very quickly.  Luckily, dog poop is a little less harmful because it takes longer to break down and deposit its nitrogen into your lawn.  But on the other hand, it starves the grass below it of both air and sunlight until it is removed.

Oops!  Dog poop can destroy lawns as it breaks down very slowly over time.  Hiring a pet waste removal company can help your lawn stay healthy.

Dr. Steve Thompson, DVM, wrote an in depth article about dog-caused lawn burn for Canine Practice.  His focus, though, is on urine as he notes: "Since stools are usually solid, owners have the option of frequent manual removal. With more time for the nitrogen waste to dissolve into the lawn, stools that are frequently removed damage lawns less than urine."  We have witnessed this throughout our years as Professional Pooper Scoopers.  Spots that are browned and dried underneath a pile of poop one week look significantly healthier and recovered the next.  They just needed a breather!

So all you need to do to increase lawn protection against dog-caused nitrogen burns is to go pick up your dog's poop on a regular basis.  In addition to answering emails, cooking dinners, managing family schedules, taking the car for an oil change, planning that wedding, tending the garden ... etc...

Or you contact us to do it for you.  Your lawn will breathe easier and thank you for it!

Interview: Kevin of Big Business Scoopers

"Oh, and by the way, Kevin is awesome!"  That's how many of our conversations with customers tend to end.  This exclamation is often followed with an anecdote about how much the dog looks forward to Kevin's weekly visits or a time when Kevin went out of his way to make the dog feel loved.  Scooping five days a week, Kevin visits more homes and knows more dogs than other Big Business Scoopers (including owners Tina and Emily!)  So we thought it would be fun to interview him so everyone can get to know him a little bit better :-)

BBS: How did you get started working as a Pooper Scooper with Big Business Scoopers?

KB: I was recently laid off from my job in the pharmaceutical industry. As the primary caregiver for my sick father, I was looking for something  with flexibility. I was introduced to Tom Watson (then owner of Big Business Scoopers) at the time through mutual friends and the rest is history. 

BBS: What do you like most about the job?

KB: I love dogs so getting to see them every week is always a pleasure. I also love being outdoors plus it's pretty good exercise. I also take great pride in the work I do.  

BBS: What are some challenges that you encounter?  Other than the poop, of course!  

KB: With Big Business Scoopers working all year round I'd say working in the elements poses the biggest challenge. Maintaining a high level of service while being exposed to rain, sleet, snow, heat, and cold really make the job challenging at times. 

BBS: You have a dog of your own!  Tell us a little bit about her?  

KB: I have an 8 year old beagle/American foxhound mix named Daisy.  Daisy is a rescue who I got when she was 3 months old. She is a very active dog that I love spending time with. I consider her my child and my world. 

BBS: Aside from picking up poop, what do you consider to be the most important aspect of the job?

KB:  I would say safety of the property whether it be an open gate, damaged fence, and anything that we notice that homeowners may not notice. I like to believe servicing our customers runs deeper than just picking up poop. 

BBS: When you’re not scooping, what can you be found doing?  What are some of your hobbies/activities, etc.?  

KB:  Besides spending time with Daisy I try and keep myself busy. During the spring/summer I play in a baseball league and I compete in various obstacle races including Rugged Maniac, Terrain Race, and Warrior Dash to name a few. I am competitive by nature and I love a challenge. I play fall baseball before switching over to snowboarding and I also play in an ice hockey league during the winter. 

Kevin, Big Business Scooper, in his various activities and hobbies.

BBS: And now for some laughs!  Tell us your favorite funny scooping moment or your favorite scooping pun (there are so many!)

KB: There have definitely been some funny moments along the way. The funniest I would have to say took place in Essex County 2 summers ago. I always allow extra time to play with dogs I encounter. I was just about finished when I noticed the chocolate lab (don't want to give the dogs name) approaching me with what I thought was a toy because that's what generally happens there. Much to my surprise the dog was bringing me a garter snake as a present to me which isn't a good thing considering I am petrified of snakes. I definitely panicked and made a mad dash for the family jungle gym with the chocolate lab (snake still in mouth) in hot pursuit. I was up there for quite some time until the housekeeper looked out the window and noticed me. She called the dog inside and I explained what had happened. We both had a good long laugh about that one.

BBS: That is hysterical.  We wish we had a picture of that!!  Thanks for taking the time for this, Kevin!  Happy scooping :-P

And anyone reading ... we hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about Kevin as much as we did!  Feel free to leave comments!

Pooper App is BullS**t but Pooper Scooper Companies Do Exist

Last week we started to see media coverage pour in for a new app called Pooper.  It's tagline was "Your dog's poop in someone else's hands."  The idea was that when your dog pooped in a public place you could log its location and call for a pooper scooper to come and pick it up for you.  Many started dubbing it the Uber for dog poop.  Newsweek, The Washington Post, Fast CompanyMother Nature Network and many more have covered the phenomena of this app (and/or how it turned out to be fake.)

We were skeptical that such a business could ultimately work.  (How could you keep the price low enough to attract users but high enough to attract would-be pooper scoopers?)  But unlike many, we were not very skeptical that such a business existed.  In fact, we were keeping an eye on it and requesting information about their progress.  After all, who knows better than we Professional Pooper Scoopers about how high the demand is for dog waste removal in a country where there are an estimated 70-80 million dogs in residence?

The Pooper app turned out to be an art project aimed at satirizing our app-obsessed culture.  Does your dog poop?  There's an app for that.

But, of course, Pooper turned out to be an art project aimed at satirizing our app-obsessed culture.  Does your dog poop?  There's an app for that!  Well, it turns out that there isn't.  But the good news is there is a company for it!  As long as your dog is doing his or her business on your property we will happily come and scoop it up for you.  No app needed.

Why Pick Up Dog Poop? It is a Toxic Pollutant

There is no such thing as green dog poop (unless it is literally green in which case your dog is experiencing a health issue which we will address in future blogs.)  In 1991 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified dog waste as a  "non-point source of pollution."  Your dog's poop is in the same category as herbicides, insecticides, oil, grease and other toxic chemicals.  So if you've ever said to yourself, "my dog's poop is fertilizing my lawn" ... you might want to think again!  

Infographic via Doody Calls outlining the dangers and health risks of dog poop which is a toxic pollutant.

Picking up your dog's poop isn't only the polite thing to do when he does his business in public.  Dog poop left on your lawn is just as sure to pollute the ground and find its way to your community's water sources.  According to Zero Waste USA, "a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness and serious kidney disorders in humans."  Do you want that kind of bacteria lying around and being tracked into your home?

The good news is that hiring a Pooper Scooper company like yours truly is very affordable.  We have the tools, equipment and experience to locate and safely remove all dog poop from your property.  We bag and double bag dog poop before disposing of it.  And we sanitize our tools in between each stop in order to prevent any spreading of harmful bacteria, parasites and disease.  Contact us if you have any questions about the toxicity of your dog's poop!  We love to talk poop ;)

Interview: Chad Logan of Pick Up That Poop!

This past week we had the great honor of interviewing Chad Logan, founder of PickUpThatPoop.com.  We had previously connected via social media and as soon as we discovered how very passionate he is about dog poop we had to meet him!  After all, it isn’t every day that we connect with someone other than fellow pooper scoopers who is passionate about picking up after dogs!  So we had to get to know more about what he’s all about …

BBS: Okay, so you’re a man dedicated to educating people about dog poop.  There has to be a story behind that.  Tell us about it!

CL: I spent seven years in finance before I became a professional dog walker and now, ten years later, I'm focused on the other end of dog walking: poop.  Before Poop Bag Music, I started PickUpThatPoop.com which was a campaign to get dog owners to pick up after their dog(s) in June, 2012.  The idea for “do the right thing, pick up that poop” all started when I took our dog, Gus (a black lab mix that we adopted 13 years ago), out for his morning walk on June 10th (my birthday).  See, we have grass and trees between the sidewalk and the street outside of our town-home, and I counted not one, not three, but six piles of dog poop left behind.  Five on the grass and one right in the middle of the sidewalk.  I remember thinking, “That's my birthday wish.  I wish that every dog owner would do the right thing andpick up that poop!"  PickUpThatPoop.com became Home of the Walking Yard Sign.  We have over 30 designs to shop from: T-shirts, stickers, tote bags, mugs and more. In February 2015 I wanted a song to raise awareness on poo-pick-up.  Over one year later we now have seven "poo" songs and three songs about dog rescue. 

Chad Logan of Poop Bag Music playing his guitar and singing about dog poop.

Yes, I started Poop Bag Music as a way to educate people about dog poop but also as a way to give back by donating 50-100% of the profit from all sales to dog rescue groups.  I strongly believe in and support pet adoption.  It started with Gus, and now Jasper, a German Shepherd mix who we adopted 4 years ago.  We need more people to adopt, and stop buying!  It makes me sad when I hear,  “But we want a puppy.”  Guess what!  There are a lot of puppies that need to be adopted too.  But please consider an older dog.  All dogs matter! 

BBS: You leave for the No Poo Left Behind Tour in early July.  Where can people find you and what can they expect from the Tour?

CL: We will be hitting the open road on July 6th for our No Poo Left Behind Tour.  As we started planning this tour I said, "No matter if we raise $500 or $50,000 the No Poo Left Behind Tour is going to happen.”  But the amount of money raised will allow us to make more stops at local parks, poo-hot-spots, dog parks and dog rescues.  It will also allow us to make one or more donations to dog rescue groups we meet on the road that need help to stay open and/or expand to help more dogs in need. I'll be posting updates and locations as we go to our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.

BBS: There are some great sponsors backing you up for this tour.  How did you connect with these folks?

CL: With help from our wonderful sponsors, we were able to build our "poo" teardrop trailer.  It took about a year connecting on social media (Twitter) posting/tweeting about our No Poo Left Behind Tour and looking for sponsors. With them and people supporting us with downloads on iTunes and walking yard sign sales we can hit the road and spread the word not the poo and help dog rescue groups at the same time. Please check out and support our sponsors.  Their logos and links can be found on our website.

Chad Logan's No Poop Left Behind Tour Trailer which was purchased with help from sponsors such as Help Bags, Dawg Tree, Healthy Paws and more.

BBS: So what’s the big deal, anyway?  Why is it so important that people pick up after their dogs??

CL: Picking up after your dog(s) is a big deal.  First of all, in most states it's already law and if you get caught you can face a fine of $50 - $250 and up.  Not to mention it's the neighborly thing to do.  Nobody wants poo on their shoes.  I've read that nearly two decades ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified pet waste as a dangerous pollutant in the same category as toxic chemicals and oil.  You may not live near water, but un-scooped poop from your yard is carried by overland water flow or is washed into storm drains, ending up in far away streams, rivers and ground water.

BBS: Why do people have such a hard time with dog poop and how do you think we can we reduce this aversion to picking it up!?  (Besides, of course, awesome poop songs and swag.)

CL: Most people do pick up after their dog(s.)  It's just a few that don't.  Most likely if you are out walking and you see more than one pile left behind it's from the same non-picker-upper (same person, different day/poop.)  One sure way to make people pick up after their dog(s) would be DNA testing.  It's getting bigger every year.  HOA's and apartments/property management companies are signing up for this service to catch non-picker-uppers.  On the market today we have so many tools to help us pick up that poop.  There should not be excuses.  I even talked with a lady that could not understand why people can't pick up.  She said, "If I can do it blind, everyone should be able to do it one way or another!"  Now I know my "poo" songs won't change the world overnight or be as popular as Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift.  Just remember it's to help raise funds for dog rescue groups, and might get a few more people to pick up that poop. 

BBS: Well we are definitely cheering you on!!  How about we say goodbye by exchanging our strangest poop story!  We had a dog client who was regularly eating (and eliminating …) his owner’s cash money - sometimes big bills!  Your turn.

CL: Story time.  I was walking Gus with my mother.  I usually keep the leash short when we walk by this hill full of ivy, but this time we were talking and I forgot.  Well Gus just had to do his business.  He went up the hill as far as the leash would let him.  Mom looked at me and said, “Just leave it.  Everyone else does.  If you go up there you will end up stepping in dog poop.”  Well I had to pick it up.  Not only do I own PickUpThatPoop.com but I was wearing one of my walking yard sign t-shirts.  As I was heading up the hill, mom said something to me and as I turned around, my shoes got tangled up in the ivy and down I went, still looking for the pile of dog poop.  I could not find it … oh, I found it alright … on the backside of my shorts.  Lets just say after that we don't walk pass the hill with ivy anymore!

This is one of Chad Logan's many designs that can be printed onto shirts, mugs, stickers and more.  It is a picture of a doggie yoda saying "Going to pick up that poo, you are!  Hmmm ..."

Thanks again for this opportunity, and helping us spread word, not the poo.

Thank YOU.  Good luck on the tour!

Learn more about Chad at PickUpThatPoop.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Check out his awesome swag in his store.   And download his poop songs here.  And remember to PICK UP THAT POOP.  (A pooper scooper can help.)