The non-scoopers will often say that dog poo is “organic”, “biodegradable” and “natural”.
This is far from the truth. A recent study in the USA found that dog poo is the number three most common pollutant spoiling water. They go as far as stating that it is as toxic to the environment as oil pollution. It is estimated that the dog population of the US produces 4.4 billion pounds poop per year.
Not only is it spoiling our parks, beaches and sidewalks but it can carry several parasites. Each gram of stool contains 23 million fecal bacteria.
- A parvo infected dog, even after recovering from the virus, can shed this deadly organism which can survive for up to 6 months in the environment.
- Salmonella, E.coli, Giardia and Cambylobacter can spread to other animals and humans through contaminated water causing serious illness in especially children, pregnant woman and immunosuppressed individuals.
- Worm eggs and larvae are microscopic and even a “healthy” looking stool may contain a high number of immature worm stages. Here it is especially important to mention the hookworm larvae which can migrate through the skin of the innocent beach goer. According to the CDC up to 740 million people worldwide are annually affected by hookworm.
- When dog poo washes in to our surface water the high nitrogen and phosphorus will stimulate the growth of algae in water bodies. This can cause the water body to become depleted in oxygen, making it less healthy for fish and large levels of growth can impede recreational and aesthetic value of water as well. For this reason it is important to refrain from disposing of excrement in storm drains: storm drains are a direct conduit to our rivers.
- There is no surer way of spoiling a lovely outing to the beach by stepping in poop.
If these 5 reasons are not enough to encourage dog owners to scoop up then remind them that it is not only the law (unfortunately not well enforced) but also part of responsible dog ownership.
To ensure many happy outings to the beach for future pooches the responsibility starts with the current dog owner to clean up after their dogs.
To ensure you always have a bag at hand there are now several leashes on the market with a bag dispenser attached. It is important to look for bags that are biodegradable or can be flushed. If you would like something more hi-tech then take a look at the “Busta”, “Civic Doody” and the “Poopsta”.
Be a person your dog can be proud of and clean up after them.
By Dr Adel Ferreira