The Scoop on Poop: Thinking About Leaving Your Dog’s Poop Behind?
Coming into contact with dog waste is a frustrating problem for humans and a health hazard for dogs and humans alike. Dog owners have likely heard that it is important to pick up their pet’s waste but perhaps they do not fully understand why this practice is imperative. This article addresses the risks to dogs and humans from coming into contact with pet feces. Dog owners, you and your dog are at risk too!
Internal parasites such as hookworm, roundworm and tapeworm reside in pet feces and they can infect both animals and humans. When a waste pile is stepped on, the parasites can be transferred to the shoes or feet of an unsuspecting human and through the paw pads of the dog’s feet. The parasites are then transported with every step you take…including into your home. Left behind on the ground, these parasites can also burrow into the ground infecting the soil. This leaves dogs, children and anyone else who walks over or plays in the area at risk for possible infection.
Giaradia, and Coccidia are parasitic infections that are spread dog-to-dog through direct contact with infected pet waste. These conditions are very serious and can be life threatening for your pet. Stepping in, sniffing, or eating of infected stool or soil are all transmission opportunities.
A common misconception about pet waste is that is environmentally friendly and will dissolve as fertilizer. This is a fallacy. Pet waste attracts disease-carrying pests such as rats and flies. It can infect the ground and water supply and because it is protein based (unlike cow manure), can kill grass and shrubs. Picking up pet waste is a critical dog owner responsibility. Leaving it behind exposes you, your dog and everyone else who comes into contact with it to unnecessary risk. The only way to keep yourself, your dogs and your neighbors safe is by picking up after your dog.
Signs of parasitic infection vary and may include lethargy, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, mucus or blood in the stool or the presence of worms. If you suspect that you or your dog has contracted a parasitic infection, seek medical attention right away.
For more information on the transmission of diseases through pet waste please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/dogs.html