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Some Serious 💩 …

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

According to Caesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, walking your dog is one of the most important aspects of training and bonding with them. During the pandemic, walking your dog is not only good for your four-legged companion, but can also be therapeutic for the owner as well. Of course, the not so glamorous part of walking the dog is picking up after them. Sure, it is smelly, warm, and squishy, but it is so important for the environment and the health of everyone who shares the space. Leaving the dog poop behind is not only unsanitary, but it is also illegal in many areas around Orange County. Though there are no laws regarding picking up dog poop in Orange County, the governor is looking to soon place fines for not doing so.

Dog feces can carry dangerous diseases for other animals and even humans. It is a common carrier of various parasites (e.g. whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, giardia, cryptosporidium), viruses (e.g. parvovirus, coronavirus) and bacteria (e.g. salmonella, Campylobacter).

In this newsletter, we will highlight two of the most common and deadly diseases spread by dog feces: Parvo and Giardia.

Parvo is highly contagious, and potentially deadly if left untreated (90% mortality rate). According to the Canine Parvovirus Organization, symptoms include:

· Vomit

· Lack of energy

· Weight loss

· Loss of appetite

· Bloody diarrhea

· Fever

· Low body temperature

· Bloating

Giardia is another disease spread by infected dog feces. It can be spread by contaminated water or food to both dogs and humans. According to Centers of Disease Control and Preventions (CDC), symptoms for Giardia include:

  • Diarrhea/gas

  • Nausea

  • Abdominal discomfort

  • Vomiting

If left untreated, giardia can lead to severe weight loss and even death. It is especially dangerous towards puppies and senior dogs.

The easiest way to pick up after your dog is to use a plastic bag, tie it up and throw it in the trash. However, the plastic can sit in the landfill for years. Fortunately, there are many different biodegradable poop bags available. Clip a waste bag container on your leash, and you will never leave home empty handed. If bending down is difficult for you, using a pooper scooper may be the way to go. Some people prefer to flush the dog feces down the toilet. However, check your local regulations and septic requirements before you do so. Dog feces should never be added to compost that is intended for garden use because of potential spreading of diseases.

Picking up after your furry friends is simple but critical in maintaining the health of everyone in the community. Once you figure out a way that works for you, it will become second nature.

About the writer

Katelyn Ruggles

Yorba Linda High School, Sophomore

Dog Den Spring 2021 Intern

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