Dog fouling, it’s not just a ‘litter’ issue, it’s against the law!
We’ve all been there, that familiar squish underfoot and immediately identifiable pungent odour that wrinkles the noses of even the strong stomached, you’ve trodden in someone else’s dog poo!! But apart from the obvious annoyance, wiping of shoes on the grass and trying to get it out of the cracks in your trainers, why is it such a problem?
Unfortunately our four legged friends can be quite merrily carrying around diseases and parasites that not only pose a risk to their doggy friends, but to us and particularly children. There are around 6.8 million dogs in the UK, with an estimated production of 900 tonnes of faeces everyday!! That’s a lot of poo!
Apart from the potential risk of some stomach churning bacteria such as Campylobacter, which could lose you a few days sitting on the toilet, or worse a trip to hospital, the biggest public health risk is a parasite called Toxocara canis. T. canis is a type of intestinal roundworm, they are the ones that look like spaghetti (I hope no one is reading this over dinner). A responsible pet owner should worm their dog (and any cats out there) every 3-6 months with a reliable worming product, you won’t always see worms in their poo even if they have them.
Young children are more at risk from T. Canis which is transmitted either directly from dog faeces or a contaminated environment. Each female T. canis can lay up to 700 eggs a day and when a dog defecates they are passed out into the environment where the eggs can survive for up to three years in soil. During warmer weather the eggs develop into larvae which when ingested migrate through the body. When ingested by a dog the worm follows it natural life cycle and ends up as an adult in the digestive system (where it can cause irritation, diarrhoea and vomiting). However people are not part of the worms’ normal life cycle and so when the larval stages are ingested by us they can cause nasty reactions and tissue damage. The larvae sometimes migrate to the liver and can cause abdominal pain and fevers, or can migrate to the eyes and cause visual impairment or even blindness by damaging the retina (the back of the eye).
So the moral of the story is, always carry poo bags with you when out walking your dog (we know it’s easy to forget sometimes) and more importantly pick up your dogs’ poo and dispose of it appropriately!! It is becoming increasingly common for used poo bags to be left lying around, if you’ve bothered to pick it up please put it in a poo bin! The local authorities are also happy for it to be disposed of in general public bins if a poo bin is not available.
It is also important to regularly worm your dog against these parasites, ideally every 3 months with a reliable worming product. Speak to your local branch of Cinque Ports Vets for more information, you’d be amazed how excited they get over a humble dog poo!
More information available at www.gspca.org.gg/page/dog-faeces-facts