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Leashing dogs, picking up their poop a win for nature: conservancy

'By picking up after their pets, nature lovers can ensure they’re giving the species here the best chance to thrive and grow,' says official


As winter snow continues to disappear and we approach the Easter long weekend, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is providing humans and canines alike with simple tips on how to be responsible nature lovers — among them, leashing dogs and picking up dog waste.

“Our staff consists of many dog owners and lovers. This is a reminder, however, that when left unchecked, dogs and dog waste threaten ecosystems,” says Andrew Holland, national media relations director with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

“By picking up after their pets, nature lovers can ensure they’re giving the species here the best chance to thrive and grow. And in doing this, pet owners will leave the space clean and ready to welcome them again on their next visit. Picking up after your dog is also an act of respect to the many people, of all ages, visiting these trails and natural areas," says Holland.

When dogs rove off-leash, they can harm species, crush eggs and nestlings, or even find themselves nose to nose with wild coyotes. Come spring and summer, opportunistic ticks can latch onto roaming pets for a meal and then transfer them to humans. This risk can be reduced by keeping dogs leashed, where they can be kept away from tall grasses and other tick habitat.

Leashing your dog makes it even easier to pick up after them, too. This is important, because dog waste can contaminate nature with foreign bacteria, diseases and unnatural nutrients that can severely impact local plants. It can also be an awful surprise when it turns up on the bottom of a visitor’s walking shoes.

To protect nature, our dogs, ourselves and our enjoyment of nature, it’s vital that all four-legged visitors stay on-trail and on-leash. This is posted on many trailhead signs when you go into shared green spaces. By reducing our impact on natural spaces, we give plants and animals their best chance at success.

“We know that exploring nature helps us connect with nature and understand nature’s benefits to us,” says Holland. “Nature needs allies, and getting out there helps build these forces for good, but we have to respect its needs as well.”