5 Important Reasons to Clean up Pet Waste
By Drs. Foster & Smith Veterinary Staff
Dealing with pet waste is one of those topics that every pet owner must deal with but no one likes to talk about. The fact is that the majority of community and neighborhood pet problems result from the inappropriate handling of pet waste. In addition, pet waste is the greatest source of potential health risk for your pet and your family. This article will highlight the five most important reasons to properly dispose of pet waste and will also give you some tips and products to make this chore easier.
#1. Disease Control
There are several very common diseases that can be transmitted to dogs, cats and people through feces. These include giardia, roundworms, salmonella, and Ecoli. In addition, your dog can spread or contract parvovirus or coronavirus through infected feces. All of these diseases are very serious and common and every effort should be made by pet owners to keep their pets and family away from potentially infected feces. One of the easiest ways to do this is to install an in-ground stool digester like the Doggie Dooley. These digesters work like mini septic systems, safely breaking down feces and then allowing the residue to harmlessly sink into the surrounding soil. These handy little gadgets are one of the best ways that I've ever found to deal with dog or cat waste.
#2. Make your Yard more Useable
Nobody likes to walk through a yard that is hiding "doggie land mines." If you and your children are afraid to use your yard because of the dog, then you are wasting one of your biggest time and financial investments. In addition, the pets will get less interactive exercise and suffer as well. Once or twice a day 'scooping' off your yard with a shovel or Grabber pet waste shovel will only take a couple of minutes and make it a place where everyone enjoys spending time.
#3. Fly Control
Flies will consume and lay eggs in feces. These same flies will then come into your house and then spread disease as they pause on your counter and food. Need I say more about keeping feces cleaned up to prevent this cycle?
#4. Responsible Pet Ownership
Your responsibility to clean up after your pet doesn't end when your dog leaves your yard. There are probably fewer things that aggravate neighbors more than a dog that 'goes' in their yard. Pet owners need to clean up after their pet every time they go to the bathroom. Period. No exceptions. If you are walking in the woods and your dog goes, then bury it. If you are in a park or neighborhood, pick it up with a plastic bag or a Dispoz-a-Scoop. If you don't have a yard, then walk your dog on a leash or get an electronic fence. Don't make your responsibility somebody else's problem.
#5. Preventing Stool Eating
While most dog owners think this doesn't apply to them or their dog, the shocking truth is that most dogs will engage in this unsavory practice at some point in their life. Dogs evolved as carnivore/scavengers and feces were considered fair game in lean times. To prevent this occasional indiscretion from becoming a life-long habit, clean up feces as soon as possible, especially in young dogs where the problem is most prevalent. At the first sign of this bad habit consider adding an oral product like Dis-Taste to your dog's food to decrease the palatability of the stools.
Dog poop, urine, and bathroom behavior can tell you a lot about your dog's health.
Chances are, you don't pay much attention to how often your dog does her business or what the results of that business (including dog poop color) look like. Dog stool is gross, it stinks and it belongs outside or in a designated indoor spot. But what else can dog feces tell you? Surprisingly, quite a lot.
"A dog's bowel and urinary habits are outward signs of her health status," says Bess Pierce, DVM, associate professor of community practice at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia. "It is important to monitor the amount, frequency, color and consistency of dog feces and urine, giving particular attention to changes in normal pattern."
Determining that normal pattern may take time, because bathroom behavior and dog stool varies from dog to dog. Still, most dogs' bathroom behavior fits within a range, starting with their needing to take two to four bathroom breaks each day. As to what they produce during those bathroom breaks:
- Dog urine should be light to medium yellow in color without a strong, objectionable odor
- Dog poop should be moderately firm to firm, and the dog poop color should be a shade of brown.
At times, though, your dog's behavior and feces or urine may vary from that range. When that happens, your dog's body may be signaling the onset of a health problem. Here are some common variations and what they might mean:
1. Straining to urinate.
A dog who tries but can't produce much urine may have urinary stones, which can be fatal if left untreated. See a veterinarian immediately.
2. Very dark urine.
Extremely dark yellow or rust-colored urine may contain blood, which indicates the possibility of a urinary tract infection (UTI). A visit to the vet is in order.
3. Housetraining lapses.
A dog who suddenly starts urinating all over the house also needs to see a veterinarian. The problem could be a UTI or, if she's also drinking a lot of water, it could be a serious condition such as kidney disease, diabetes or Cushing's disease.
4. Straining to defecate.
If your dog's been trying to defecate for a day or so, but can't, she may have a bowel obstruction. Call your veterinarian. If she's vomiting, call sooner.
5. Dog diarrhea.
Runny, stinky dog poop may or may not be serious. Don't feed your dog for a day or so, but make sure she has plenty of water. After a day, start her on a bland diet such as a mixture of boiled rice and hamburger. If your dog still has the trots after two days, put in a call to your vet. If she's vomiting, call sooner. And if she's a young puppy who vomits more than once an hour over a half-day period, bring her to her vet immediately. (More info on Dog Diarrhea)
6. Very dark or black dog poop.
Black dog stool or very dark brown dog stool may signal bleeding in the upper intestinal tract, which can result from many possible problems. A veterinarian's attention is needed.
7. Grey dog feces.
Cement-colored stool may mean that a dog is suffering from an obstruction of the bile duct. The obstruction could have one of several causes -- but, in any case, necessitates a visit to the vet.
8. Changes in poop shape.