Dog Poop to Fertilizer?

Posted by on Apr 20, 2011 in Environment, Safety | 0 comments

In France, the country notorious for having streets littered with doggie droppings, a scientist is researching turning these dog deposits into environmentally friendly fertilizer.  Interested?  Read the story from Bloomberg News below: Dog-Poop Project in France Seeks to Turn Feces Into Fertilizer April 20 (Bloomberg) — Across the street from a bowling alley in Toulouse, a French scientist in a white smock unlocks the passageway to a hidden refrigerated laboratory where a centuries-old blight is about to be wiped up. “Show him Project Propec,” says Cedric Cabanes, president of Agronutrition SAS, a boutique fertilizer company with annual sales of 18 million euros ($26 million), which may be on the cusp of transforming a global industry that plowed 163.7 million metric tons of nutritional muck into the soil last year. The metal door swings open and the foul aroma of the excremental experiment inside the chamber overwhelms the possibility of accurate visual observation. “What we have here is endomycorrhiza, the molecular detoxifying mechanism for a diffusive airborne substance with a 100 meter radius that provokes an immediate intestinal ejection at a precise position,” microbiologist Hicham Ferhout says, thumping shut the steel door. “In layman terms, we’ve finally discovered how to make a dog sh*t in a specific spot, disinfect the deposit and convert it into environmentally friendly energy or fertilizer. I have to think like a dog.” The origin of feces is no laughing matter in France, where pedestrians can come upon little piles of dog poop on pavements in even the most fashionable of streets in cities from Paris to Bordeaux. France has 8.8 million dogs, according to the Societe de Protection des Animaux. At an average of 22 pounds a year each, they produce about 194 million pounds of stools, some in public spaces, costing the country millions to clean up, according to Toulouse Deputy Mayor Jean-Michel Fabre. Office of Tranquility For the 400,000 residents of Toulouse, says Fabre, who’s also a veterinarian, the postcard-perfect southwestern town is otherwise soiled by 50,000 dogs that step outside to leave tons of their excrement annually. In tow are 300 sanitation workers, 100 of them with scoopers-at-the-ready, spending as much as 33 percent of the city’s 153 million-euro sanitation budget on shoveling canine fecal matter. “Toulouse has industrial quantities to offer,” says the 50-year-old Fabre who, to illustrate his point, is standing in a sand-filled “boite de crotte,” or dog latrine, in the fragrant Jardin Pierre Goudouli behind the town hall. “Look,” the deputy mayor says with a sweep of the hand, “there’s merde everywhere but in here.” As Fabre tells it, Toulouse’s scatological action plan to clean up the mess and turn squalor into dollars began when he in 2009 created France’s first “Office of Tranquility.” The city’s official grievance bureau in its first two years received more than 600,000 calls. Monetizing Dog Poop “The majority of the people complained about dog merde,” Fabre says. “We have seven dog parks, but the dogs refused to use them.” Historical research showed that it wouldn’t be easy or pleasant to monetize dog droppings. The only successful venture in this field took place in Victorian England, when the homeless wandered city streets to collect what was then called “pure” or “scitan” (a noun in which the “sc” is pronounced “sh”) for use in tanning leather. Fabre says solving the problem required a fresh strategy. He called Cabanes and their government-private sector partnership was born. The duo immediately decided to attack the dilemma from the rear. “Everyone was looking in the wrong direction for an answer,” says Fabre, who began his veterinary career working with...

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The 411 on Pet Halloween Safety

Posted by on Sep 14, 2010 in Environment, Paws for Thought, Safety | 0 comments

Have you started to stockpile your Halloween stash? Searching the aisles for that particular candy that your kid’s desire? My husband and I always try to have the best candy (or so we hope) behind our door. And, as hard as we try, we never quite have enough….so by the end of the night, the kids are receiving Nutri-Grain bars, raisin packets and the like. Not so much fun for them I am sure! We do have a four legged kid named Abe and we always make sure that he is happy and safe during Halloween including making a batch of his oh so favorite treats…the recipe is below! To keep your pet as safe as Abe, please keep the following pet safety tips in mind: Keep Pets Indoors- Please, I repeat, please keep your pets indoors the night of Halloween. There will be many pranksters out, who just might find it funny to let your pet out of the gate, antagonize your pet or even worse. Chocolate, Candy and other Yummies- By all means, all candy, especially chocolate is a big NO NO for Fifi and Fido. Chocolate is toxic to a pet’s system and can have fatal results. Not to mention, the wrappers, foil, twist ties, etc. surrounding the candy can cause choking or may lodge in the pet’s intestines. Candles- We all know that Fido’s tail can whip around as fast as a category two and will take out anything in it’s path. Please keep all lit candles far out of your dogs range. And definitely remember to extinguish candles prior to leaving your home. Trick or Treaters- If your dog is like Abe, he likes nothing better than to run to the door and sniff each and every trick or treater who eagerly holds out their bag for candy. A warning for this behavior: dogs may get spooked by costumes and excited kids…causing them to bolt out of your open door or perhaps become scared/nervous. The best precaution is to not let Fido greet the trick or treaters without being on the other end of his leash. If your dog is nervous- It is better to leave him in a room with all of his favorite things while you are greeting trick or treaters or hosting a Halloween party. He will feel much better and you will not take the chance of your otherwise friendly FiFi becoming snappish. Costumes- If you choose to dress your pet this season, please make sure that their costume is not constricting in any way. If the costume includes a mask, please ensure that the eyeholes are wide enough not to impede Fido’s peripheral vision. Limited vision could cause your dog to become nervous and potentially act out of the norm. Give your pet extra water when dressed as he may become warm and try not to leave his costume on for extended periods of...

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Bite Me Once Shame on You, Bite Me Twice Shame on Me

Posted by on Jul 25, 2010 in Health & Wellness, Paws for Thought, Safety | 0 comments

Each May, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) sponsors National Dog Bite Prevention Week.  This year, May 16-22, marks the date.  According to the Center for Disease control, over 4.5 million people a year fall victim to dog bites.  Approximately 800,000 of them are severe enough to require medical attention but the rest go unreported.  Who is typically bitten?   Considering the numbers above, nearly 2% of the US population. You won’t be surprised to learn that the vast majority are children.  Other front runners are the elderly and service providers such as postal employees. On a weekly basis, I hear stories of dogs biting adults, children and other dogs.  The biting typically occurs in the home or yard by a dog that the person/child/dog knows…i.e.  a family or neighborhood pet.  People are upset, angry and questioning what to do with the aggressor.   If the bite was imposed on a child and not severe, the dog is typically re-homed.  In more serious cases, like the stories we hear about on the news, the dog is euthanized. The reality?  In most cases, the bite was 100% preventable.  How can you protect your family…including your dog?  Let’s start with the first step, Reduce the Risk of Your Dog Biting.   I know that for many of you, I am preaching to the choir.  But for those who are unaware of how to prevent your dog from biting…this is worth the read.  Be a responsible pet owner– as the saying goes:  love, license and LEASH your dog.  I know many people who don’t believe in the last part of that phrase.  They let their dog roam off leash as much as possible and enjoy giving him that freedom.  Even if your dog is the most non aggressive dog on the planet, he could try to interact with a dog aggressive dog being walked on leash… an altercation ensues and someone gets bit.  OR, your unleashed dog, roaming around your front yard, becomes protective of his territory, and decides to chase and/or bite two and four legged passersby.  These situations are completely avoidable simply by leashing your dog while walking and letting your dog have free range of their fenced and gated backyard. Spay or neuter your dog– Having your dog altered will reduce their desire to roam and act aggressively.   Altered dogs are three times less likely to bite than non altered dogs.  Spaying/neutering also promotes a healthier lifestyle for your pet. Socialize your dog– Introduce your puppy to many types of people, animals and situations so they are at ease when a new or strange situation occurs.  If you have an older dog that needs to beef up his social skills try a training class or work one on one with a training professional. Train your dog– Enrolling your dog into a training class at an early age is the best choice, but older dogs can do well to take a refresher course. Pet selection and timing– Dogs should never be obtained on impulse.  Research the type of dog that will blend well with your family and lifestyle.  Since so many bites happen to children, make sure it is the right time for you and your kids.  It is recommended to wait until children are over four years of age. Most importantly, ALWAYS monitor your dog while with children.  Never let children and dogs have alone time.  As we all know, children love to play, tug at and chase dogs oftentimes.  They also don’t know better than to interrupt a dog while he is eating, snacking on a treat or sleeping.  These are...

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Get Ready for Hurricane Season!

Posted by on Jun 16, 2009 in Environment, Paws for Thought, Safety | 0 comments

Hurricane Season is officially upon us and many are preparing their homes and their families for a potential storm. What about your pet? Do you have a plan for your four legged family members? To safely flee the scene with Fido in tow: • Know where you will go. You can’t leave your pet behind, because even if they do survive the storm they could escape through a broken window, door, etc. They could get lost or harmed by predators and unsanitary conditions. A few helpful pet travel sites I found are:, and • Get your pet an i.d. tag or better yet micro-chipped. Micro-chipping can be done at your veterinarian’s office or you can oftentimes find low cost micro-chip clinics around your area.  I personally love TAGG, a pet GPS tracking device, that lets you know where your pet is at all times. • Have a pet carrier handy to transport your pet easily. For this situation, a simple plastic or rubber pet carrier will be ideal. Bring a crate along that offers your pet ample room to stand up, turn around and lay down. • Take up-to-date photos of your pet from all sides. Take these with you along with pet meds, i.d. and ownership papers. • Create Pet Disaster Kit: this should include: meds, medical records, collar, leash, food/water dishes, 14 day supply of food and H2O, manual can opener, blanket, toy, cleanser and disinfectant to handle wastes. Make sure to bring your waste pick up bags. Canned and freeze dried pet foods are good to always have on hand this season. • Create Pet Medical Emergency Kit include tweezers; scissors; tape, gauze pads and a roll of gauze to clean and cover injuries; an antiseptic solution for cleansing wounds; alcohol pads to clean scissors, tweezers and hands; antibiotic ointment; buffered aspirin for pain and inflammation and Benedryl to reduce allergic reactions to insect bites; and a thermometer (the normal temperature in dogs and cats is between 101 to 102 degrees). Early preparation is key! Be safe this...

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