The Importance of Picking Up After Your Pet
No one loves walking down a sidewalk or a walking trail and stepping in a steaming pile of doggie doo. Even if the poop has been there for a while, recent rains can soften dried matter into a nastiness that no one wants to have on their shoe. That, all by itself, makes a cogent argument for carrying plastic bags and picking up after your dog or other leashed pet. What you might not know is that there are a number of excellent health reasons for picking up after your pet.
Hookworms are a parasite that can be deposited on the soil through feces. Cats, dogs and humans can host hookworms. When a person walks on the infected ground barefoot, the worms can enter through the skin, often causing an itchy rash. They travel through the circulatory system into the esophagus where they can be swallowed and enter the digestive system to begin their life cycle anew. They are a good argument against open defecation and the use of raw night soil as fertilizer. Cleaning up after dogs helps break this cycle.
Parvo is a highly infectious disease that can be transmitted through dog feces, from contact with clothing, food bowls, carpets or anything else that has been contaminated. Young dogs that have not been vaccinated are especially vulnerable. Fortunately, there is a vaccine. Picking up your dog’s feces reduces the possibility of transmission of the disease. Also, avoid allowing your dog to sniff feces it finds in the wild – a very natural thing for dogs to do.
Potential contamination of groundwater
Dog feces don’t biodegrade quickly. Left alone, it can remain formed and on the ground for as long as six months, especially during dry weather. When the rains do come, they can wash the stools into nearby streams and waterways to contaminate drinking water.
Avoid “burning” your lawn
Doggie doo is high in nitrogen, which is a type of fertilizer. However, like many good things, nitrogen is best applied in small amounts. When too much is present, it will “burn” the roots of grass or other plants. A concentrated dogpile can cause little circular brown spots on your lawn.
Minimize Fly Growth
Flies love feces, and dog poop is no exception. An exposed pile in summer within a few days can become a busy maggot hatchery – and maggots grow into flies. By picking up your dogs waste and disposing of it properly, you help limit the growth of these aggressive insects.
Discourage Stool Eating
This disgusting habit is common to many dogs. Dogs are scavengers. In the wild, poop can be a chance for a dog to have a high-protein meal when other food sources are scarce. Unfortunately, this is also a good way for your dog to not only pick up hookworms but several other types of parasites and communicable diseases.
Avoid legal complications
These days, with the numbers of dogs in the United States alone, many areas legally mandate cleaning up after your dog. Even where this is not true, cleaning up your dog’s poo is the polite, considerate thing to do. Your neighbors will appreciate your consideration and good manners.
With seven excellent reasons to clean up after your dog, next time you are stocking up on supplies for your pup, be sure to pick up a roll of doggie doo bags. There are a variety of cute dispensers that can clip to your dog’s collar or leash, or fit into the pocket of your walking clothes. Just slip a bag over your hand, then use your plastic covered hand to pick up your pups biological end product. Then use your other hand to peel the plastic up over your hand, then knot the end of the bag to hold in the collected matter and odor. When you see a refuse bin, drop the bag in, and you are all done.
Cleaning up after your dog isn’t hard – in fact, it is pretty easy. It protects your dog and others from disease, as well as your fellow humans. It cuts down on opportunities for flies to breed, and in some areas, it’s the law. But more importantly, it is just part of responsible pet ownership and taking care of your world.