Friday, December 5, 2014

The Scoop on Poop

 I know, I know, this is not exactly a glamorous post. Nobody likes to talk about poop, unless you are my 5-yr-old and 10-yr-old human kids. But recently, I got into a discussion with a friend on why it is important for doggy daycares to clean up dog poop and pee immediately after it happens. Contrary to popular belief, dog poop is not a natural fertilizer. Quite the opposite, it is the #3 cause of water pollution. The EPA has deemed that dog poop can be as toxic to the environment as chemical and oil spills. Our waste water treatment systems are not designed to filter dog waste and 1 gram of dog feces is estimated to have 23 million fecal bacteria. This include:

  • Campylobacteriosis (symptoms: fever, vomiting and swollen lymphnodes.)
  • Salmonellosis (symptoms: fever, shock, lethargy, dehydration and more.)
  • Toxocarisis...aka.. roundworms (symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea and worms in feces.)
  • Coccidia (symptoms: bloody diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration.)
  • Cysticerosis (symptoms: anemia and anorexia.)
  • E-coli, Giardia and Parvo (symptoms: diarrhea and vomiting.)
These bacteria can contaminate our beaches, lakes, streams and drinking water by seeping into the soil. It is recommended that dog owners clean their own yards every 1-7 days in order to keep bacteria at bay. Our natural ecosystem can handle about 2 dogs per square mile. A daycare has WAY more dogs than that and cross contamination can occur very easily. Dogs can step in it, roll in it.... EAT it.  In fact, if fecal matter is not properly taken care of it can linger in the soil for years. Then humans can contract it through gardening, walking barefoot in the yard, playing sports, ect... This kicks off a harmful cycle that can affect your human family and pets.

Let's face it, no one likes to pick up dog poop. It's gross. And in the winter, it is easy to just let your dog outside to do business while you stay warm inside. But, then it snows..and freezes... and snows again... and you can't find your dog poop. Then, in the spring you have a big toxic wasteland. That's REALLY gross. My advice, if you are trying to choose a daycare for your four-legged family member, check the cleanliness of their yard and ask about their dog waste policy. If you notice piles of dog poop everywhere or pee all over the floor, they probably or more interested in making money than your dog's well being. Or, they are in over their heads and have too many dogs per staff ratio.

Let's all do our part to keep ourselves, pets and environment healthy!

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