The Important Scoop of your Dog's Poop
Have you ever NOT picked up your dogs poop? I’m sure you had a reason, but no reason is good enough to justify the health and environmental implications (and it’s not just the risk of dirtying your neighbours shoes).
Last week in Squamish, BC I saw photos of our local vet clinic partaking in what they were calling “poop patrol” on social media. Yes you guessed it, the entire clinic staff were out cleaning up dog poop. Poop patrol lasted a couple days and resulted in the removal of buckets of fecal waste from our local trails. A big thanks to this hard working group!
So why did this clinic go so far out of their way to clean up for irresponsible dog parents? It’s because the staff know there is negative health and environmental effects for both humans and our pets when dog poop is left “unscooped”.
According to a published article on the US National Library of Medicine, dog feces left on the streets and trails pose a serious health hazard because they may contain pathogenic organisms that affect both human and animals. Dog pop left around urban areas also has the risk of spreading resistant genes of bacteria. Simply put, dog feces not scooped could make you and/or your dog sick and that type of disease may also be resistant to antibiotics.[i]
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention the average dog dropping contains three billion fecal bacteria and could contain any of the following:
- E. coli
- Parvo virus
- Round worms
Hookworm eggs once larvated can infect people and tapeworm eggs shed in your dogs feces have the chance of almost immediately becoming infectious to people. The way to avoid this is to simply pick up waste right away before it reaches an infectious stage. Dog feces can also spread camplyobacteriosis, salmonellosis and some E.coli to people causing symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever but for those with compromised immune systems these infections could be life threatening.
Many pet parents think that dog feces can be compared to compost and that leaving fecal waste will help soil and plant life. This is not true. Have you ever picked up dog poop a few days later and noticed the grass is a yellow burnt colour? This is because canine waste is very acidic and unlike cow manure, your dogs diet makes for a poor fertilizer.
The bacteria in your dogs poop can contaminate plant species and waterways. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waterways contaminated by dog poop is in the same category as oil and mine runoff in terms of its affects on plant and fish life. [ii] The pathogens and nutrients in feces cause excessive growth of algae and weeds, which disrupt ecology and could make local waters unswimmable and unfishable. The EPA estimates that 2 days of droppings from approximately 100 dogs would be enough to temporarily close a bay and all watersheds within a 20 miles radius from it.[iii]
Dog poop can be picked up and disposed of in 30 seconds. In just 1 minute of your day you reduce the spread of infectious disease and the negative impact to ecological systems. Get scooping!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR / Rickilee Walls MH.
Rickilee Walls is the co-founder of Companion Herbals and chief medical herbalist for TGIPT, a supplement based dog treat company in Vancouver BC. A passionate educator, Rickilee enjoys teaching pet parents about herbal medicine and how to make their own herbal remedies for their pet. She is an advocate for the environment discouraging the use of endangered plant species and encouraging sustainable practices.