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3 Ways Animals Can Impact Your Septic Tank

Dog Taking Bubble Bath — Groveland, FL — Rob's Septic Tanks, Inc.

Buried deep underground, a septic tank shouldn’t really be damaged by animals, but animals can cause problems with your septic system in multiple ways. Awareness is one of the most important ways to deal with septic system issues and will help ensure that no major problems occur. Learn about some of the main ways animals can impact a septic tank.

1. Small Pets & Meat Flushed Down the Toilet

When a small pet dies, many people have a natural instinct to flush it down a toilet. Instead of floating freely into a larger body of water, the dead animal goes straight into the septic tank where it will remain for a long time.

The animal itself doesn’t just break down like regular waste. This means the creature could get caught up in filters that lead into the septic tank. Internal parts like bones could take a long time to decompose and cause clogging issues. The pet bodies take up space in the septic tank and may introduce different forms of bacteria.

Similar to flushing pets down the toilet, there have been old wives’ tales spread through the years about flushing old meat. Rumors have spread that flushing excess chicken meat or even full carcasses of animals like raccoons, birds, or mice will help your septic tank break down solids and perform better.

Despite the persistence of these rumors, septic tank experts have disproven this theory many times. The introduction of foreign substances into a septic tank will not do anything to help the breakdown process. Septic tanks are made for human waste and already contain the specific bacteria that will break down that waste.

The chemistry of a septic tank is important for breaking down solids and distributing waste. The introduction of new bacteria can result in poor performance and cause issues. Eventually, you may need to test your septic tank to discover the source of the issue and to see what treatment options are needed.

For both small pets and meat waste, issues could include solidified top layers, clogged pipes, and inhibited water drainage. Try to keep all animal bodies and parts out of the toilet. Bury them in the dirt to let the bodies naturally decompose without affecting your septic system.

2. Cat Litter & Waste

Along with animal parts, you should avoid flushing any animal waste byproducts down the toilet. It may seem like cat or dog waste can simply flush down the toilet like human waste, but there are many differences, especially in cat waste.

Cat waste hardens after a short time. The hard pieces of cat waste are almost like rocks and do not break down easily. If you flushed a pile of rocks down your toilet, you could imagine what it would be like to flush cat waste down the same drain. The waste may not push through pipes to reach the septic tank easily and would take a long time to break down.

Litter is also something that shouldn’t go near the toilet. Litter will often mix with cat waste to create bigger clumps and major issues for your septic system. Stick to traditional garbage bins for litter waste. There are also several recycling options to consider for the litter.

Some cat litter packaging claims the litter is flushable, and while it may decompose faster, there are still concerns with the rate of decomposition and the cat waste that goes along with the litter. Do not just blindly follow the flushable labels, because you may create problems for the future.

3. Pet Hygiene Products & Baths

When you look for ways to keep your animal clean, the bathtub typically comes to mind. Unfortunately, a lot of specialty pet shampoos and cleaners may have chemicals that are harmful to your septic tank. The chemicals may be present in some of the more powerful shampoos like flea prevention shampoos.

Any additive that changes the chemistry inside a septic tank can cause potential issues. If bacteria does not break elements down fast enough, then the septic tank will overfill and cause problems in your yard.

When you wash your pet, fur may also go down the drains and lead to eventual clogs in the system. Prevent this issue by using a hose outside to clean your pet. You also have the option to bring your pet to a groomer and have them washed there. Little changes can have a positive impact on the septic tank and reduce the onset of problems in the future.

For more information on septic tank issues and treatments, contact us at Rob’s Septic Tanks, Inc. We have years of experience and have dealt with all kinds of septic tank issues. We can answer any questions you have and give you tips to ensure your septic tank remains in good health for years to come in the future.

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