Our dogs love to smell it, roll in it, walk in it, even ingest it... and often, they can pick up serious diseases from it. Dog feces are one of the most common sources of the following diseases:
Dog waste contains life-threatening microorganisms. If excrement is not picked-up, it can attract flies, create odors and add unwanted stains to your landscape. It can even contaminate your water.
Parvovirus (Parvoviral Enteritis or �Parvo,� for short) is another highly contagious virus that can remain infectious in the ground. It causes severe infection in puppies and dogs. It invades and destroys rapidly growing cells in the intestine, bone marrow and lymphoid tissue resulting in nausea, vomiting and severe hemorrhagic (bloody) diarrhea. The ground can be contaminated with fecal material for five months or more if conditions are favorable. It is extremely hardy virus, it can withstand wide temperature fluctuations and most cleaning agents. Parvo can be brought home to your dog on shoes, hands and even car tires.
Corona virus (�Corona,� for short) is a virus causing sudden infection in puppies and dogs. It invades the rapidly growing cells of the intestinal lining resulting in nausea, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. The disease can vary from showing no signs of illness at all to severe illness. However, corona virus does not result in the same degree of illness associated with parvovirus. Infection is generally attributed to ingestion of material contaminated by dog feces (stool or bowel movement) and can occur when a dog smells or licks the ground; direct contact with another dog is not necessary for infection.
Corona virus is shed in the feces of infected dogs for months after initial ingestion. Dogs at highest risk for infection are unvaccinated puppies or those that have not yet completed their vaccine series. Kennel environments and dog shows have led to outbreaks of coronavirus. Dogs of all ages can be infected, but puppies and younger dogs are more susceptible. Protecting your canine health from harmful viruses in the ground is the most important thing we do. For more in-depth information on parasites and how they infect and affect your dog, as well as some useful tips on how to minimize your risk of infection, click here.
Facts: - 4.4 billion pounds of dog waste is produced every year in the United States alone! This is equal to 900 football fields, one foot high. This is a hidden health issue that no one wants to "touch" as approximately 71,542,900 million registered dogs in the United States produce more than 29,000 tons of waste daily. There are 48,143,849 dog owners in the United States. Source - American Pet Association
Children often put their hands in their mouths, providing an easy route for bacteria to travel into their bodies. For example, children who eat dirt are more susceptible to contracting zoonotic diseases. Children also are more susceptible to pet-borne illness because they carry fewer antibodies than adults do. The same holds true for puppies and kittens.
The best way to prevent diseases and the many bacterial infections dogs can acquire from stools, is to remove feces at least once a week, keep current on your dog's vaccinations, fecal examinations and deworming. Also, pick up waste before rain can break up or scatter the feces and allow the worms or germs to spread into the environment. To see more information on worm types, causes and cures click here.
How serious a problem is pet waste?
- Decayed pet waste seeps into the ground, sending E. coli, a bacteria that lives in the intestines of warm-blooded animals, and potential pathogens into the ground water and eventually waterways.
- Rainwater run-off may wash contaminated pet waste into storm sewers and from there into lakes, rivers and streams.
What is the problem?
- The current No. 1 water pollution problem comes from nonpoint source pollution.
- Nonpoint source pollution means the pollutants come from several sources instead of one discharge point.
- Nonpoint pollution occurs away from waterways, so many people do not realize they are contributing to water pollution.
- Pet owners do not pick up and properly dispose of their pets� waste.
- Cars leak fluids such as oil or antifreeze on the pavement.
- Property owners do not follow directions and put too much fertilizer on their lawns.
- People wash their cars in their driveways or on the streets.
- The rainwater will wash the pollutants into storm sewers.
- The pollution will be carried � untreated � to the nearest body of water.
What can I do?
- Scoop up pet waste.
- Flush the waste � as long as it isn�t mixed in with litter or other material � so that it is properly treated before it is disposed of.
- If local law allows, contain the waste in a plastic bag and toss it in your trash.
- If your community does not regulate the disposal of pet waste, encourage your town board, city council or county government to enact new laws.
- If your local parks do not provide pet waste stations, encourage them to do so.
The reluctance of many residents to handle dog waste is the biggest limitation to controlling pet waste. According to a Chesapeake Bay survey, 44 percent of dog walkers who do not pick up indicated they would still refuse to pick up, even if confronted by complaints from neighbors, threatened with fines, or provided with more sanitary and convenient options for retrieving and disposing of dog waste. Table below provides factors that compel residents to pick up after their dog, along with some rationalizations for not doing so.
Reasons for not picking it up
Reasons for picking up
- because it eventually goes away
- just because
- too much work
- on edge of my property
- it's in my yard
- it's in the woods
- not prepared
- no reason
- small dog, small waste
- use as fertilizer
- sanitary reasons
- own a cat or other kind of pet
- it's the law
- environmental reasons
- hygiene/health reasons
- neighborhood courtesy
- it should be done
- keep the yard clean