3.2 million households have bought a pet since the start of the pandemic.*
As social isolation took hold in 2020, many of us turned to our pets for companionship. Restricted to necessary travel only and reverting to social interaction via digital screens, we sought out our dogs to provide exercise, fresh air and a much-needed friendly face. But, with an estimated 9.6 million dogs now in UK homes, the dramatic increase in pets has a potential issue: dog fouling.*
Regarded as a sign of responsible dog ownership, collecting and correctly disposing of dog foul is not merely a kind community gesture but a legal requirement, punishable by on-the-spot fines of up to £100 if the owner fails to do so.* Yet, the unsightly issue remains one of the most reported problems to local councils. With areas logging an increase in dog fouling in recent years, we explore the steps councils, communities and organisations are taking to tackle it and how, together, we can better equip ourselves moving forward.*
It is unsightly, and it smells, but is that the only causality of dog foul? In short, no. Dog waste can have adverse effects on our health and the health of other animals. Carrying E-coli and parasites, dog foul has the capability of causing sickness, toxocariasis and even blindness and, for babies and toddlers exploring their newly found terrain blissfully unaware of danger and hazards, this possibility increases.
A report by Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) declared that 60% of dog owners believe that clear articulation of the health dangers of dog waste would encourage them to clean up after their dogs.*
So, how do we raise awareness as to the potential for harmful health issues?
Inclusion in Advertising Material and Campaigns
Including the harmful effects of dog foul in campaigns is a helpful way to begin. Many organisations, including Keep Britain Tidy (KBT), regularly run campaigns and advertisements to highlight the harmful health effects of dog waste along with its environmental impacts. Through such, they educate dog owners on the reasons why they should and how to clean up after their dogs, offering a list of solutions and campaign resources for local authorities to aid the process.
Inclusion in Manufacturer Designs
As a manufacturer, Glasdon builds opportunities to support campaign messages into a variety of products.
Featuring personalised graphics or campaign posters, litter bins, and dog bins can promote the harmful effects of dog fouling. By adopting personalised poster frames, the bins can showcase content about the hazardous potential of dog waste. A principle already used to promote campaign slogans, such as KBT's 'We're Watching You', these personalised graphics can be adapted to reinforce the public health message attached to dog foul.
Dog Owner's Responsibilities
Walkies, food and love; the only essential responsibilities of dog ownership, right? Wrong. Frequently under-advertised, the responsibilities of dog ownership extend far beyond our average understanding of such and, when not known, can have harmful consequences for our dogs, the environment and ourselves. But, organisations and councils are attempting to correct the knowledge gap.
Penning a responsible dog ownership guide, Dog's Trust strives to educate dog owners on their roles and responsibilities and how best to fulfil them. The largest dog welfare charity in the UK, their guide details everything from dog fouling to vet care and details the needs of our pets and methods to achieve them.*
Several councils, such as East Staffordshire Borough Council, also have similar documents listing the legal duties of dog owners.
Visibility and Accessibility of Dog Waste Facilities
Education and understanding are vital components to become responsible dog owners but, without visible and accessible litter and dog waste bins, it will only solve part of the issue. The type of bin, its placement, and clear signage are vital in helping responsible dog owners solve this issue.
Type of Waste Bin
Due to the harmful effects of dog excrement, a litter or dog waste bin must have the capability to hold waste efficiently and hygienically.
For dog waste bins, metal chute systems and detachable bodies are the easiest methods to achieve this. Easily maintainable and cleaned, these ensure efficient upkeep while also trapping unwanted odours inside.
An adapted litter bin can also function as a dog waste bin. Highlighting its dual purpose by adding clear signage and exploring the optional alternative of a closed aperture flap, litter bins can also fulfil the requirements of dog waste disposal.
Due to their usual location in parks, coastal footpaths, bridleways and other outdoor areas with high footfalls and hardened weather, fitting a durable and vandal-resistant bin is an ideal solution. Available in various capacities and with or without post-mounting, the product you choose may feature a self-returning lid, protecting the community by ensuring all contents remain inside. Our guide on How to Choose a Dog Waste Bin is available to aid in selecting a bin.
Placement and Signage
Being able to actively find a dog bin is perhaps the most vital element of effectively disposing of dog waste. Mounting the waste bins and adding easily identifiable graphics and colour schemes to display their function will enhance visibility, and positioning them on busy pathways frequented by dog walkers will increase accessibility.
Alternative solutions for areas with less space to house multiple assortments of bins would be to explore the options of standard graphics available for litter bins. With options for split dog waste and general litter graphics, these images create a dual functioning litter bin without demanding extra room. If required, these graphics can be personalised to highlight their function and make disposing of dog waste and litter clearer.
Assisted by local communities and councils and in partnership with KBT, Dogs Trust's 'Walk This Way' campaign uses signs, stickers and route markers to highlight bin positions and ensure their accessibility. By involving its participants, the campaign enhances bin visibility and encourages responsible dog ownership. When ran in conjunction with 15 local authorities, the programme saw a 40% decrease in dog fouling across the sites.*
From Zoom adeptness and mental health prioritisation to the reaffirmation that dogs are a man’s best friend, the lockdown has taught us a lot. But perhaps no lesson has been more important than the realisation that teamwork and collective thinking are the way forward and applicable to every situation, even dog foul.
With dog ownership in the UK at an unprecedented high and the issue of dog foul persisting, this communal approach is as important as ever.* Moving forward, and in conjunction with organisations and councils, we can work together to educate dog owners about the possible harm irresponsible ownership can cause while providing visible and accessible dog waste facilities.
Dog Waste Bin Help -
How to Choose a Dog Waste Bin Guide
Enforcement Training -
Legal and Enforcement Training
Responsibilities of a Dog Owner -
Your Legal Responsibilities as a Dog Owner