A Guide to Pets and Septic Systems

Pets getting bathed in house with a septic system.

Owning a septic tank requires regular monitoring and maintenance. If you’re a pet owner, you may need to take a few extra steps to protect your septic tank from damage. Here’s what to keep in mind in order to properly maintain your septic system with pets.

Pet Bathing

It’s common for homeowners to bathe their pets in the bathtub or shower. While we all want our pets squeaky clean, you should take caution if you have a septic tank. Fur can go down drains and reach a septic tank. Hair does not break down easily and will build up over time. You should always use a drain cover with small openings so you can capture hairs within the drain. This will help to prevent it from reaching your septic tank. Other than pet fur, you should also pay close attention to the bath products you’re using.

Pet shampoos may contain harsh chemicals, especially tick and flea shampoos. These chemicals can cause an adverse reaction in your septic tank as suds and dirty water go through the drain. Make sure you read the labels of your pet’s shampoo, and if the weather is nice enough, try bathing your pet outside.

Pet Waste

You may be tempted to throw cat litter or dog waste down the toilet, but it’s important to remember that septic tanks are designed only for human waste. After sitting in litter boxes, cat waste solidifies. This can cause it to get caught up in the pipes and jam up the septic tank entry port. Dog waste may also contain solids like grass, rawhide and hair that can backup the tank. Even if the droppings do flush, you will be introducing all different forms of bacteria into the septic tank system. This new bacteria will disrupt the delicate balance of the required bacteria in your septic tank. Your best bet is to bag up the waste and toss it in the trash.

Flushing Small Pets

When a small pet like a goldfish dies, it may seem like the easiest option is to flush it down the toilet. This may not be the best choice for your septic tank or the surrounding area. A fish may carry bacteria that changes the dynamics of a septic tank. Larger fish could also cause clogs, especially if the fish doesn’t decompose quickly. If your fish carried disease or parasites, it could get into the local water system and potentially travel to other fish or wild animals who consume water. When a small pet like this dies, place it inside a sealed plastic bag to properly dispose of the animal in your regular trash.

Digging Outside

Dogs love to get into your gardens and grass beds to dig up the dirt and bury their treats. While this seems like just an inconvenient mess, it can also be dangerous for your pet and the septic system. If they begin digging too deep, they can access the drainfield. Disrupting the soil can hinder the system’s ability to process waste successfully. Your dog can also get sick if they are exposed to waste that has not been fully treated. To avoid these issues, consider putting up a fence around your septic system and drainfield. You can also try placing mesh over the area to prevent your dog from digging.

Contact Supeck Septic Services

As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to keep a close eye on your septic tank, especially if you live with pets. If you are experiencing plumbing issues from your pet, contact Supeck Septic Services to inspect your septic tank. As Northeast Ohio’s largest septic provider, we offer exceptional routine and emergency care. For assistance, give us a call at (888) 725-0209.