Curbicus

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Urbicus adjective, Latin: Urban/of the city/civic

Curbicus noun, English: A product that curbs the urban pawprint

A clean, compostable solution to dog waste for urban pet parents.

Happy Howl-O-Ween: Festive Fun for You and Your Dog

The weather is getting cooler, the Halloween shows are on TV and dog costumes are in every pet store. But cute costumes are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the fun you we have with your canine companions at home and in our city during Halloween season.

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This time of year is all about the treats (and maybe a few tricks), so make sure to stock up. Go the easy route and order some festive treats ahead of time through an online vendor like Chewy, or if you’re feeling crafty, have a DIY session for yourself. Find inspiration for your homemade Halloween treats here. Going this way may be cheaper, as you may already have most of the ingredients at home, and you can rest easy knowing exactly what you’re feeding your pooch.

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There are plenty of local dog-friendly events happening this month, too. The Dodo is hosting a “Best Dog Day Ever” event in Williamsburg, each day through the 27. With toy pits, corn mazes a parade and more, this one’s all for the pups. But don’t worry, there will be plenty of fun for the humans, too, like beer and plenty of Instagrammable photo opportunities. Long story short, you don’t want to sleep on this one

There is also The Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade happening on October 20. This is a free event where you and your canine companion(s) can join the multitude of other dog owners in the East River Park Amphitheater and parade throughout the area from noon to 3 p.m. Trust us, everybody wants to see a dog parade, so you should probably join for the common good.

About that costume; do you have one picked out for your pup? If so, you’re in good company, with more than 31 million other people dressing their pets for the occasion. If you go this route, you should know that the 21st Annual Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest is happening at Fort Greene Park on October 26. Whether you go creepy or cute, you know that this event will result in dog photos galore. Actually winning the contest would just be icing on the top of the cake. 

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Madison Square Park is having their first annual Howl-O-Ween on October 27. Why not do a back-to-back Halloween event weekend with your pooch? As far as we’re concerned, dogs love treats more than anyone we know. 

There are so many ways to have fun with your dog this Halloween season. Take advantage of all of the events the area has to offer, and make sure to fill the month with plenty of treats!


The Luxury Dog Market Needs to Include Cleanup Efforts

The luxury dog market is booming. Over 60 million U.S. households -- and over half of the Millennial market -- own a dog, and the Ameican Pet Products Association estimates that the luxury pet market is hovering around $75.38 billion. 

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If you haven’t noticed, dogs are big business.

We’re all for pampering your pooch. After all, they are part of the family. The shift in attitudes toward our canine companions over the last few decades has resulted in more discerning pet owners. The era of, “How cheaply and conveniently can I get these products for my pets,” is almost ancient history. Most pet owners today are willing to pay more for products that make their pets’ and their lives easier, more comfortable, more fashionable and more stylish.

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This Fashionista article explains how modern dog owners can’t stand the idea of having pet essentials and accessories that don’t fit into the aesthetic of their lives. Speaking of her dog, Parisa Fowles-Pazdro (founder of Max-Bone), was quoted as saying, “We're very particular with everything — we spend money on our furniture. I wanted him to have beautiful cashmere blankets, beautiful beds, beautiful toys.”

So go forth and buy those luxury beds, coats and food for your dogs; they deserve it! Here’s where we propose another luxury item to add to your arsenal, though. (Surprise, it’s us!)

The luxury dog market is almost all-encompassing. But there’s one segment that has been overlooked time and time again: waste cleanup. It’s not a sexy topic, but as with anything in the luxury market, the products can be. Carrying around a roll of poop bags in the bottom of your purse or the pocket of your jeans is anything but luxury. Subsequently picking up that poop with your hand? That’s a territory in which you’re straying very far from luxury.

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The good news here is that a luxury poop pickup device does exist, and it’s right under your nose.

Luxury extends far beyond the actual process of waste handling, too. Think about what happens after dog waste is thrown away. Rather than winding up in a landfill encased in a layer of plastic or “biodegradable” material, it could go to benefit urban composting. 

That’s how we envision the luxury dog market of the future: one that includes all aspects of your dog, not just the “fun” ones. With your help, we are making it a reality.


Keep the Poop Out of Our Waterways!

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We love our waterways. They transport goods, provide life and host entirely hidden ecosystems. They’re also great places to walk our dogs. Therein, however, lies the problem. The exact waterways we can thank for our hydration and enrichment are undergoing a nearly invisible yet extremely serious transformation, at the hands (or paws) of our dogs.

It’s not really their fault, though. They’re just doing what dogs do, aka poop. The fault is with the owners of these dogs, many of whom are being irresponsible in failing to pick up their dog’s waste. This laissez faire attitude comes at quite a cost for public health, though.

In a recent article published by CBC, the councillor for Dartmouth Center, Sam Austin, said, "It's adding two things to the waterway: it's adding, of course, a huge dose of phosphorus, and then the other piece is E. coli.”

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That doesn’t sound good, but what exactly does it mean? Most of us have heard about E. coli infections, which include symptoms of severe gastrointestinal stress and fever, and in some cases, these infections can be fatal. Increased phosphorous levels does not sound nearly as scary as E. coli, but the reality is serious. As Austin explained in the above-mentioned article, increased levels of phosphorous can lead to increased plant growth which can, in turn, lead to more blue-green algae. While not all blue-green algae is toxic, some blooms are dangerous to humans and pets. 


With a recent increase in dog deaths due to this toxic algae, it seems that the improper disposal of dogs’ waste could be directly impacting and harming them. This issue is not a new one, but it is only getting worse. Back in 2013, an article written by The Cooperator New York quotes Anthony Gillis, president of Zerowaste.usa.com as saying, “It is estimated that one-third of all water contamination is a result of dog waste runoff entering streams and leaching into underground well water.”

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Want to know something even grosser? Probably not, but you need to. Read on.

On average, one pile of dog waste can host 3 billion bacteria, including roundworm eggs, which can survive in soil for years, where they can be passed onto other pets and humans.

All of this might sound overwhelming and frankly, disgusting. And it is! Picking up waste is a dog owner’s responsibility, and failing to do so isn’t just a nuisance - it’s a major public health concern. So let’s all vow to protect our waterways and just clean up the crap.

Dogs aren't just furry friends, they are also a method of stress relief!

Almost everyone in the world loves the cuddly, friendly, and loyal companions we call dogs. They can be a bit tough to take care of sometimes, but the pros of owning a dog definitely outweigh the cons. Dogs provide people with company, entertainment, happiness, and even stress relief! 

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Stress is something that all humans experience; especially teenagers, college students, and young adults. A recent study, in which 249 college students were separated into groups and instructed to interact with cats and dogs in various ways showed that those students that had direct contact with the animals had significantly lower cortisone levels than those who simply observed the interactions. Cortisone is one of the main hormones that is released by the adrenal gland in response to stress, which proves the theory that interacting with animals is good for improving your mental health. 

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Many high schools, airports, college campuses, and hospitals bring in trained animals of all varieties (including pot-bellied pigs and small horses) in order to relieve stress levels of the people at their facilities. Specifically around midterms and finals week, colleges often bring in a large number of puppies for students to play with during their study breaks, in order to provide some sort of emotional support during such a stressful time of the semester. In airports, people that are scared of flying or have a fear of heights are often encouraged to pet a trained dog or cat prior to boarding in order to have positive emotions and be calm about the whole situation. Some therapy dogs even help veterans and their families readjust to civilian life, especially those that may have had some traumatic experiences. 

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So, the next time that you are finding yourself stressed, set up some alone time to play with your favorite pet. And if you don’t have a pet, you can always seek out a local therapy dog service (yes, those do exist). If you are lucky enough to attend a college campus that brings therapy dogs to campus during finals week, definitely take advantage of the opportunity! Our team at Curbicus thinks these therapy dogs are pretty awesome! What do you guys think?  Let us know in the comments if you have ever heard of these “stress relief dogs” and if it's something you have ever had the opportunity to experience or something that you are interested in!






Dogs can be glamorous too!

Not everyone is a fan of this practice, but lots of dog moms and dads think it’s adorable to treat their dog like a little human. People love to dress their dogs in cute shirts and hats, whether it is to represent their alma mater or just to do a cute photo shoot. But have any of you dog lovers heard about a dog beauty competition? Yes, in case you were wondering, those do exist. An event known as the International Cotillion is held every year in order to raise support and awareness for rescue dogs. It is a beauty competition, during which dogs of various shapes and sizes compete for the ultimate crown title of “Miss Cotillion.”

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One would think that this competition is an easy one. After all, wouldn’t judges just have to settle for whatever dog was the cutest? Nope! Even tiny “errors” can cost your dog a loss of points in the competition. For example, if the dog looks uncomfortable in their chosen doggy gown, points will be deducted. Think about how difficult it is to have a dog look both glamorous and comfortable at the same time. Even humans have a hard time feeling comfortable when dressing up for galas and other fancy events. A lot of time and effort goes into choosing the perfect gown, including making sure that it compliments the dogs features and is feasible for the dog to eventually be comfortable in, after proper training of course.

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This may seem a bit unnecessary and silly, as well as mildly cruel for the dogs, but there is a good cause behind the matter! This event, and others like it, have raised over $120,000 for dog rescue groups around the country within the last four years. Many of the participants are rescue dogs themselves, which is both adorable and inspiring.

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So, what do you dog parents and lovers think? Would you let your pet participate in an event such as this one? Or do you think there are better ways to approach raising money for dogs in need. Let us know what you think in the comments below!






How Picking Up Your Pup’s Poop Benefits You in the Long Run!

While there’s nothing worse than stepping into a pile of dog poop in the middle of the sidewalk, there is one consequence that may be more devastating in the long-run. The worse the dog poop crisis in NYC gets, the more likely people are going to be inclined to get rid of dogs -- and their poop, once and for all.  

Over recent years there’s been a number of advocators for the banning of dogsin certain areas around the city. It may seem like a drastic solution until you realize that doggy doo-doo is a drastic nuisance. Those advocating for a ban argue that dog feces are just as, if not more disgusting and invasive as smoking in public spaces. This increases the pressure on governments to demonize and ban dogs from polluting city spaces with toxic poop. 

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Dogs however, have been a part of human society for centuries and banning them into exile because of irresponsible dog ownership is definitely not the best solution. New York City is already filled to the brim with dogs, with more dogs than people in Oakland, California! So you can see how banning 500,000 dogs from walking around in public spaces is practically impossible, and unethical since your dog wouldn’t be able to get their daily exercise, socialize with other dogs, or get some fresh air. However, stricter policies (rather than full on banning) such as limiting dog friendly spaces would still hinder the joy and freedom of owning a dog in NYC. It would only make it difficult for dog owners to find spaces where their dogs can freely roam and poop. 

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We live in a city that has the potential to be a canine utopia, with thousands of acres worth of parks and green open spaces, tons of dog-friendly dining, and a whole lot of love for our furry little friends. But even with all that love, us dog owners know thestruggle of owning a pup in NYC. Clearly, the biggest struggle involves bending down to pick up the lovely package your dog has proudly expelled for you and disposing of it correctly. Most people are just too grossed out to interact with poop a couple times a day - understandably so. Poop is pretty gross - let alone filled with parasites and diseases, so why leave it for someone else to run into? The only thing more unpleasant than cleaning up after your dog’s poop is cleaning up after someone else’s dog’s poop. Rise up to the responsibility as an NYC dog owner and local citizen - pick up after your pup! 

Are biodegradable bags really the way to go?

People are saying goodbye to plastic bags in many parts of America, as well as all around the world! But that may seem like dog owners are being left (pardon the pun) holding the bag-- the bag of dog doo, that is. Not having plastic bags to put your dog waste in sounds absolutely terrifying… and in some situations, it is. It immediately evokes the image of having to pick it up with your hand, or a paper bag of some type. Picking up dog poop in a plastic bag is unpleasant enough-- do we really have to make it worse?

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Luckily, those fears are mostly unfounded… there’s always biodegradable bags, right? Those bags aren’t illegal, like plastic ones, and they’re going to break down even sooner, aren’t they? Sadly, that is not always the case—there is a lot of mis marketing that is involved in the sale of biodegradable bags. Although they are advertised as the perfect solution for an eco-friendly dog waste disposal method, they could take years to break down in landfills-- assuming that they ever do. Of course, they can be broken down if left with other natural things… so just toss them in your natural waste bin, and problem solved, right? Wrong, actually-- most places do not allow dog waste in their natural waste binsbecause the bacteria in dog fecal matter can be harmful to the local water supply, as well as other people and dogs. In fact, generally, if dog fecal matter is found in a truck containing green or natural waste, the whole truckload can no longer be composted, and instead ends up in a landfill. And as discussed earlier-- leaving biodegradable dog bags in a landfill does them no good. It’s the same for much natural waste, so it would be a shame to end up with all of that green waste mummifying in a landfill instead of composting back into the earth. 

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Okay, so what else can you do? There’s always composting, isn’t there? Well, maybe not… leaving it to compost in your own personal bin may seem like an eco-friendly do-it-yourself method, but it may not be as smart as you’d initially think. Leaving dog waste in your backyard once again has a risk of it running off and infecting water or other people. Most compost bins simply do not get hot enough to kill off the bacteria presenton dog waste. Not to mention the fact that dogs produce a ton of waste-- often too much for one person to reasonably compost in a small bin or a small yard, considering how long those bags can take to break down-- often a year or more. 

Sadly, there’s no easy solution here-- though looking into flushable and compostable bags is an option too! Just think twice and do your research before running to biodegradable bags.

A simple break down of different bags for the eco-conscious pet lover.

Dogs are a man’s best friend-- the quintessential American pet, famous for fetching our slippers, being honorable and protective, and far too lovable to quantify by any system of measurement. There are nearly 90 million registered dogs in America, as well as many other unregistered ones. According to the US department of agriculture, the average dog excretes approximately .75 pounds of waste per day, which is more than the average person by nearly three times! So why is it that human waste is disposed of in a much more efficient, cleanly, and environmentally friendly way than dog waste is?

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Having a dog is great, but no one likes cleaning up after dog waste-- you have to bend over and pick it up, stop in your tracks and touch it nearly directly with your hand, as well as carry around a smelly plastic bag until you get home. This is neither particularly sanitary, efficient, or pleasant for dog owners, yet we’ve been doing it just the same for such a long time! There is a huge overlap amongst people who care about the environment and people who care for and love their pets. Eco-friendly dog beds and foods are all the rage, and it seems as though you can find dog waste bags in any different variation you can imagine. There’s biodegradable, compostable, flushable, and of course, traditional plastic. Obviously, these have different pros and cons, but what are the real differences?

Flushable dog bags are perhaps the newest trend amongst eco minded pet owners. They can be flushed down the toilet, just like human waste! These, of course, still have the gross factor of needing to be carried around, and generally cannot be composted with other compostables.  Flush puppies is a popular brand whose main detriment is their limited compostability. This can be annoying if your dog regularly has large enough waste to make flushing it all down your toilet in a bag a problem for the plumbing. It’s hard to imagine plumbers being pleased about finding a sealed plastic bag blocking your pipes.

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The classic plastic bag is sturdy and reliable, but far from eco friendly. It is estimated that plastic bags will take over 500 years to break down in a landfill-- and this includes those filled with dog waste. While they may be the most classic and well known way of collecting your dog’s poop, they are far from the most environmentally friendly!

Biodegradable and compostable bags are a bit trickier, as they’re the most difficult to differentiate from each other. In summary-- biodegradable items can be broken down without oxygen, but can take longer to decompose. Compostable items need oxygen to break down (which also helps to stop it from stinking as much) but generally decompose in a much shorter time of just a few short months. Both are similar, but a compost bin can be easily kept in your backyard, while a biodegradable pile would pile up and up before it was ready to be reused. Both are good-- but neither are useful without a proper composting area, as they will rot just like everything else in the still air of a landfill. Many people keep compost bins in their yard, or bring compost out to the curb in it’s own bin-- some parks and dog parks are even starting special bins that hold compostable doggie bags.

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Overall, there are some differences that come down to personal preference when it comes to disposing of your dog’s waste, but try to remember just how much waste your dog produces when you choose how to dispose of it! Eco friendly is always the way to go, whether that mean flushing, biodegrading, or composting the bags.






Why’s it so hard to stop dog poop?

If you’re walking down the street anywhere in the world, especially in a big urban city like New York City or San Francisco, it’s hard to go more than a few blocks without seeing some canine fecal matter in your way. Pretty much everyone loves dogs, but no one loves their poop-- whether it be picking it up or walking around it on the sidewalk.

Of course, having to pick up leavings is part of the deal when it comes to owning a loveable pet, but why should passerbys have to suffer the inconvenience for a dog who is not their responsibility? Frankly, they shouldn’t, but that seems to be a common occurrence in a big city--which doesn’t really seem fair, and city-goers know this. So why hasn’t the problem been fixed yet?

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Sadly, fixing this poopy problem is not as easy as it sounds. Many owners religiously avoid the signs and notices put up in cities reminding them to scoop. Adding fines seems like a great solution… but it’s difficult to enforce something like that-- there are dogs pooping all over big cities all the time, and having it spotted and reported, as well as having someone actually get there on time to deliver the fine, is easier said than done. You could always try something crazy, like Mexico City did-- they added bins that gave off free wifi signals to everyone in the park, and upped the amount of free wifi minutes based on the weight of the bins. They even had humans standing around distributing compostable bags to anyone who asked. This method may seem a little over the top, and it probably was. Not only is that expensive, but it would be difficult to maintain over time, given the need for more bags, keeping the bins in good shape, and hiring people to distribute them. It’s an interesting idea, but not necessarily a sustainable one.

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On the simpler side, San Francisco simply put up compostable bins to dispose of dog waste, with no other incentive, aside from the aforementioned fines and the free compostable bags provided at polls nearby. It has helped cut back on the city’s problem with waste, but has far from defeated it. Of course, with no way to stop bags from getting stolen, they frequently run short. San Francisco has tried many ways to solve their pervasive poop problem, but with little success.

Sometimes, people even take matters into their own hands. In Cambridge, a group attempted to stop unlawful pooping via an app that tracked where poop had been left, and if it had been cleaned up. This is a noble idea, but requires group communication and many people getting together to do something that is ultimately not their job.

What do you think the best way for cities to stop this poop epidemic would be? Let us know in the comments below! And, if you’d like to learn some interesting facts about dog waste take a look at this link: https://yourdogadvisor.com/submissive-urination/!





Why are cities so intent on stopping dog waste?

You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it-- we all have to put up with the unfortunate reality that dogs poop-- a lot. They leave behind tons of waste every year (averaging around 275 pounds per dog, to be exact) and if they don’t do it during your walks, they might do it on your bed. Dogs, we love you, but why can’t you use the litter box like cats?

But why is it such a big deal to have dog poop around? Sure, no one likes it, but is it really that big of a deal to leave it lying around untouched?

Actually, it really is. Dog feces can carry a number of dangerous parasites and diseases: ringworm, E. coli, and Salmonella just to name a few. You can read the whole list here, if you dare-- though it’s far from pretty. Is that the only reason why most cities have these policies though? Most of us are smart enough not to touch or step in dog waste, and are careful to clean up afterwards if we run into it. It’s possible, however, that not all of us are…

Bristol, England, once ran a series of advertisements about cleaning up dog waste that featured children smearing dog waste on themselves, and even eating it! Now let’s be real, that’s pretty gross. But is it a common occurrence? Well, it turns out that while many children are careful enough to avoid the doggy doo-doo, there are always the reckless young ones who will try anything. While it may not always be fatal, it can be unpleasant, and lead to a multitude of serious side effects, included all of those mentioned earlier in the article.

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So, are children the only reason we want to avoid waste on the streets? Actually, no-- there’s an even more wide spread danger than ruined days, ruined shoes, and sick children. The biggest danger of leaving dog waste in an urban environment is contaminating the water supply in your area. Dog feces is left on street corners and sidewalks, and when it gets washed away by business owners, home owners, or good old mother nature herself, it ends up going down the storm drain with the rest of the water. Now here’s where things start to get dirty. These drained pieces of dog feces can end up contaminating entire water supplies, and potentially thousands of people with infectious diseases. Many diseases spread quickly in water when they can get in it, and showering, drinking, and doing everything else with water that’s contaminated is far from safe.

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Even NYC, with its elaborate waste treatment, has found animal fecal matter tests come up positive in water, which is detrimental to the health of the water and unpleasant to anyone who comes across it. Cleaning up after your pet may not be the most pleasant job in the world, but it’s certainly an important one, for all residents of cities. Love your dog, and remember to watch their waste and your carbon paw print!





Curbicus is a patent-pending collection device that eliminates the “gross factor” when handling dog waste, and keeps our streets clean. Curbicus is a compact cylindrical device, weighing 1.5 lbs, and can attach to a dog leash or the pet parent’s wrist. It contains a small, battery-operated vacuum mechanism and self-closing compostable bags, making it an easy one-handed, two-step process. We are working on setting up a network of designated compost bins throughout cities, starting in NYC.