Why Should You Scoop the Poop?
Many parasites and diseases are transmitted through feces, and it’s harmful to our ecosystem.
There are many compelling reasons why dog poop must be scooped and removed:
- It is estimated that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria;
- It pollutes our groundwater and is potentially harmful to our ecosystem;
- It attracts disease-carrying pests and flies. Rats feed on dog feces. Enough said! And, of course, flies are not only a nuisance but can transmit diseases also;
- It could endanger the health of your family, particularly young children;
- Diseases and parasites can easily be transmitted to other pets through feces;
- Odor is another huge reason for clearing dog poop. Not only is the smell offensive to you, it could also present a problem with your neighbors if left for any amount of time;
- It should NEVER be used as garden compost as both dog and cat waste can carry many parasites, even in “healthy” pets;
- It isn’t good fertilizer for your lawn. Unlike cow manure, pet waste is protein based which makes it toxic to your grass (large, brown bare patches?);
- It’s the law!
Roundworms are the most common type of parasite found in pets. They are almost always found in puppies that have yet to be vaccinated and often have the unpleasant habit of eating other dogs’ poop. However, even adult dogs and cats can get roundworm and should be de-wormed regularly. If your pet’s poop looks like spaghetti, he more than likely has roundworm. Other symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. Roundworm can also infect humans.
Tapeworms are transmitted to dogs and cats in a couple of different ways depending on the type of tapeworm. One variety of tapeworm is transmitted by fleas (fleas think tapeworm eggs are real tasty!), while another is spread by pets eating wildlife or rodents infested with tapeworms or fleas. It is important that your dog or cat be treated promptly if you discover these in his poop. Tapeworms can also be transmitted to humans through direct contact with your pet and are extremely hazardous.
Hookworms are blood suckers and are easily transmitted through the pads of a dog’s feet and the skin on his belly by being picked up from infected soil. Hookworm is one of the classical internal parasites infecting puppies and can even be transmitted to pups still in the womb.
Coccidia are one-celled parasites that multiply in the intestinal tracts of dogs and cats and are spread through fecal matter. The primary sign of an animal suffering with coccidiosis is diarrhea which can be mild to severe depending on the level of infection. Blood and mucus may be present, especially in advanced cases. Severely affected animals may also vomit, lose their appetite, become dehydrated, and in some instances, die from the disease.
Giardia is another one-celled parasite that lives in soil, food and water. It may also be on surfaces that have been contaminated with waste. It can cause diarrhea but usually the infected animal will not lose its appetite, but they may lose weight. The feces is often abnormal, pale in color, has a bad odor, and appears greasy. Small children can be at risk as they have a tendency to place objects in their mouth that may have come in contact with contaminated soil, surfaces or water.
Parvovirus is a killer for most dogs and is transmitted from dog to dog through physical contact and contact with feces. This virus is very hardy and can live in the environment and remain contagious for up to 12 months. It is typically more severe in puppies. The symptoms include extreme lethargy, very pale gums, vomiting, fever and diarrhea.
Toxoplasmosis is a protozoan parasite that may be transmitted from cats to humans which can cause birth defects. A woman infected during pregnancy may have symptoms that include headaches, muscle aches and lymph node enlargement.
Heartworms although not transmitted through feces can be deadly. They are transmitted through mosquitoes and if left untreated can kill your dog. Some of the symptoms are coughing, weight loss, fainting and labored breathing. The parasites make their way to your dog’s heart and thrive until heart functions are totally blocked, leading to heart failure and death.