Keep those chompers clean


An often over-looked part of animal care is oral hygiene.

Pet owners should pay careful attention to the condition of their companion animal’s teeth. Dogs can often chip their teeth by biting on hard objects.

If you’ve ever had a dog with the characteristic “puppy breath,” that’s a sign of some underlying dental problems. Halitosis, or bad breath, is usually caused by bacteria in the mouth.

Tartar in a dog or cat’s mouth can build up walls of plaque along the canine teeth or even some of those hard to reach molars in the back of the mouth. Left unattended, gingivitis can set in and further dental complications can occur.

As a former U.S. Army veterinary technician, it was my duty to perform dental prophylaxis, or cleanings, once a year on the military working dogs under my care. We also offered the service to privately owned animals belonging to servicemen and women.

The procedure required anesthetizing the animal (whether cat or dog) and intubation. While the animal was under anesthesia, I would use dental tools to break plaque off the surface of the teeth. Depending on the condition of the teeth, the procedure could take up to an hour.

Poor dental hygiene in animals could result in cavities, abscesses, or other maladies requiring extraction.

In any case, the best medicine is prevention. So what can you, the pet owner, do to help prevent dental disease in your pets?

Brush your pet’s teeth at least once a week. Daily is preferred but sometimes it is not always practical. Introduce brushing when your cat or dog is still in the kitten or puppy phase. This will help acclimate your furbaby to the process.

Schedule annual dental exams with your veterinarian and have the teeth cleaned as necessary. It’s important to minimize the number of times your pet goes under anesthesia, and some vets will advise against dental cleanings as your pet attains senior status.

February is Pet Dental Awareness month. Now is a good time to start the conversation with your vet about taking action to improve your pet’s dental health.

Pet Cancer

by Jason Smith


Photo by Tony Alter | Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to Dr. Karen Becker (2010), 50% of cats and dogs die from cancer and the current trend is that animals are developing cancer at increasingly younger ages. This should be a serious wake-up call for pet owners. When you adopt a dog or cat, you expect them to be around for a long time. We understand that at some point, our furbabies will die, but we least expect the manner in which they will draw their last breath.

As a veterinary technician, I have participated in euthanizing animals whose owners had to make the difficult decision to end life. Even in times such as these, knowing that the decision is best for the animal in that it ends suffering or reduces pain isn’t enough to ease the grief and pain we experience from losing a loved one. It is never easy to say goodbye to a loved one, whether a biped or a quadruped. When we do have to say goodbye, will we be able to look back and say, “He lived a good life”?

Cancer is probably the most dreaded word in the English language. Its mere utterance invokes fear and sadness in whomever hears it. Some, who have been fortunate to beat cancer, survive knowing the feeling of triumph over certain death but also come out of it with a greater value on things that truly matter in life.

Cancer interrupts the body’s normal cell growth. In a healthy animal, when the body needs new cells, it signals the production of those cells. When it produces enough new cells, it stops production on new cells. In cancer, the body cannot start and stop production normally, so the new growth continues and produces tumors.

A tumor signifies a problem in the body. There are two types of tumors: benign and malignant. While both are abnormal, doctors consider malignant tumors as more serious than benign tumors. A common benign tumor is a lipoma. Lipomas form from fatty tissue underneath a pocket of skin. They are usually benign; however, left untreated, a lipoma could become cancerous.

Malignant tumors are cancerous because a membrane does not enclose the tumor cells. The absence of a membrane allows cancer cells to move about to adjacent tissues and organs where they can cause damage. The cells could also enter the blood stream or lymphatic system and spread to other parts of the body causing secondary cancers.

There are many possible causes of cancer in humans and animals. Nutritional disorders, hormonal imbalances, viral infections, immune system disorders, genetic abnormalities, and carcinogens. Environmental and lifestyle factors could also contribute to cancer.

The best medicine is preventative medicine. If you make changes in the way you care for your pet, you could, in theory, reduce or eliminate your pet’s chances of developing cancer. Even with the intentional care, pets could still develop cancer.

Nutritional Considerations

Talk to your veterinarian about nutritional options that could help reduce or eliminate cancer risk. Avoid foods that contain preservatives such as ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT, propylene glycol, TBHQ, or propyl gallate ( 2015).

Feed your pets a species-appropriate diet. Cats should get canned, home-cooked, or raw food and dogs should have kibble, canned, home-cooked, or raw food that meets their dietary requirements. Some veterinarians recommend avoiding kibble; however, some kibbles are better than others are. If you choose to feed your dog kibble, choose one with quality ingredients with a higher price. When you skimp on price, you are choosing a lower quality food. The lower quality food could contribute to the development of cancer.


Hormonal Imbalances

Thousands, if not millions, of animal advocates admonish us to spay and neuter our animals. They argue that it will reduce the growing number of pets occupying shelters and that it could reduce certain cancers in cats and dogs. Despite these recommendations, Ted Kerasote (2010-2015) discovered how spaying and neutering your dog or cat could actually increase the chances of cancer development because of hormonal imbalances. Both estrogen and testosterone bring healthy benefits to your pets. So instead of spaying or neutering your pets, which removes the ovaries and testicles, opt for alternative surgeries such as vasectomies and tubal ligations. These surgeries leave the gonads intact while removing the ability to procreate.

Viral infections & Immune system disorders

When the body responds to viral infections, the body essentially loses its ability to fight other diseases. A weakened immune system could allow for the development of cancer.

Maintain a healthy pet by feeding a healthy diet, exercising your pet regularly, and getting routine health checks from your veterinarian.

Genetic Abnormalities

Certain breeds of dogs are more likely to get cancer due to genetic factors. In pure breed lines, some inbreeding may occur resulting in genetic abnormalities. A dog may appear happy and healthy, but the underlying genetic code is damaged and could switch on a cancer gene that manifests in the body as tumors. Dog breeds that are highly susceptible to cancer include Golden and Flat-Coated Retrievers and Bernese Mountain Dogs (Spadafori 2012). Because of their predisposition to cancer, we do not recommend spaying or neutering these breeds. The loss of hormones will increase their risk of developing cancer.


In his book, Pukka’s Promise, author Ted Kerasote described the chemical ocean in which we live. According to Kerasote, a dog’s exposure to the chemical ocean is 500 times more than a human’s is. The reason for the increased exposure is simple: dogs are lower to the ground than humans are so as aerosols, gases, and other chemicals settle toward the ground, dogs are much closer to the chemicals than humans are. In addition, chemicals are prevalent in many manufactured items such as dog beds, dog toys, carpet, dog treats, dog food, lawns, etc. Everywhere a dog goes, he faces exposure to chemicals that could be carcinogenic in nature. Limit your dog or cat’s exposure to chemicals to reduce their risk of cancer.

Once upon a time, a cancer diagnosis meant certain death. Today, it is possible to treat cancer and extend the life of your companion animals. In humans, treatment includes surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. In addition to these life-saving methods, IV antioxidant therapy, Poly-MVA therapy, ozone therapy, and cryosurgery are suitable options for treating cancer in animals.

As you can imagine, the costs associated with treating a pet with cancer could be considerably high. Therefore, we recommend carrying pet insurance to help offset the cost to you. Buy insurance for your pet as soon as possible to ensure coverage for your furbaby in the event of an emergency.



Becker, K. (2010 November 23). Using alternative therapies to fight cancer. Retrieved November 9, 2015 from

Becker, K. (2012 March 5). Mast cell tumor: This is one lump you can’t ignore. Retrieved November 9, 2015 from

DeVita, V. T., Jr., & Hubbard, S. M. (2015). Cancer. (B. Burtness, Rev.). The New Book of Knowledge. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from Grolier Online (2015). These dog food preservatives could be toxic to your pet. Retrieved November 18, 2015 from

Kerasote, T. (2010-2015). Healthy dogs. Retrieved November 9, 2015 from

Spadafori, G. (2012 March 12). The big C. Retrieved November 9, 2015 from

Pet Diabetes

Photo by Melissa Weise, Source: Wikimedia Commons

November is Pet Diabetes Month. Here at PetCorps, we strive to provide relevant information that helps to improve the life of people and pets. Therefore, we are celebrating the first week of November by sharing some information we learned about diabetes in pets.

As you may well know, diabetes in humans is rising in numbers every year. While there is not a cure for diabetes, there are treatment options available to prolong the lives of those living with diabetes.

According to Shape (2011), diabetes rose 32 percent in dogs and 16 percent in cats from 2006 to 2011 based on a report from Banfield Pet Hospital.

Diabetes interferes with the body’s ability to use glucose (Fradkin and Chamberlain 2015). In a healthy animal, glucose serves as the main food for cells. After an animal eats, glucose from metabolized food enters the blood stream. The pancreas detects the elevated glucose levels in the blood and releases the hormone insulin. Insulin acts as a key that unlocks the door to the cells so that glucose can pass through. In a diabetic animal, either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the insulin is unable to clear all of the glucose out of the bloodstream. The result is a buildup of glucose in the blood.

Because glucose is the main food for cells, the cells are starving when the glucose cannot get through the cellular membrane. The buildup of glucose causes excessive thirst, urination, fatigue, weight loss, and blurred vision.

Left untreated, diabetes could result in tissue damage, blindness, heart failure, kidney failure, or in worst cases, death.

Frederick Grant Banting and Charles H. Best succeeded in extracting insulin from the pancreas of dogs in 1922. Their research found that the islets of Langerhans produced a fluid that when extracted and injected into diabetic dogs, significantly improved the life of the animals. Later research refined the process and now insulin injections are helpful in treating and prolonging the life of diabetes patients.

An interesting point I uncovered in researching the topic of pet diabetes is how diabetes affects dogs and cats differently. In humans, you may be aware of Type I and Type II diabetes. In dogs, diabetes is insulin-dependent. In cats, diabetes is insulin-nondependent. What does this mean for your pets? Well, if you have a diabetic dog, standard treatment is to give subcutaneous insulin injections every day for the rest of your dog’s life. If you have a diabetic cat, simple lifestyle changes such as changing your cat’s diet and increasing exercise will improve your cat’s overall health.

STEP BY STEP: Administering Subcutaneous Injections to Your Dog

Some people are nervous about giving their dog an injection. In a future post, I will demonstrate how to administer a subcutaneous injection on a dog but for now, here are the steps to follow:

1. Select a needle and syringe. (Skip steps 2 and 3 if using prefilled syringes).

2. Clean the cap of the insulin bottle with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol.

3. Invert the bottle and insert the needle through the stopper. Pull back on the plunger to withdraw the exact number of units prescribed for your dog.

4. Have someone restrain your dog.

5. Lightly pinch an area of skin and pull up to create a “tent.” It will look like an inverted V.

6. Swiftly insert the needle at the base of the tent.

7. Pull back on the plunger to verify that you are not in a blood vessel. You should feel some negative pressure on the plunger as you pull back. (You are not in a blood vessel if you do not see a flash of blood in the hub of the needle. If you do see blood, you will need to withdraw the needle and try a different location on the body.)

8. After verifying that you are not in a blood vessel, push forward on the plunger to inject the medicine.

9. Safely dispose of the needle and syringe using a sharps container.

Recommendations for Treating your Diabetic Cat

You can increase your cats physical activity by walking your cat (yes, you can teach a cat to walk on a leash). When it comes to feeding your cat, you will want to wean your cat off kibble mainly because kibble is high in carbohydrates. As obligate carnivores, cats do not require a large amount of carbohydrates in their diet (if any). Feed canned food because the moisture and texture of canned food is similar to what your cat would experience when hunting in the wild. Check with your veterinarian on recommendations for cooking food for your diabetic cat.

Here are three simple guidelines for selecting ingredients to feed your diabetic cat:

1. Avoid carbohydrates.

2. Choose high protein foods.

3. Add some fiber.

For more information, visit



Banting, Frederick Grant (1891–1941). (2015). Encyclopedia Americana. Retrieved November 2, 2015, from Grolier Online

Brooks, W. C. (2010-2015). Diabetes mellitis center. Retrieved November 2, 2015 from

Fradkin, J., & Chamberlain, J. (2015). Diabetes. The New Book of Knowledge. Retrieved November 2, 2015, from Grolier Online

The New Pet Epidemic. (2011). Shape, 31(2), 96.


Teaching Your Kids about Dog Bites

by Jason Smith

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

In honor of World Rabies Day, I recently presented a talk to my sons’ daycare group about dog bite prevention. The children in the class really enjoyed the presentation and did well in the practical exercises to demonstrate their understanding of the material.

We opened up by playing a short game of “Who am I?” I gave the children clues describing five different animals. The five animals they had to guess were the raccoon, the skunk, the fox, the coyote, and the bat. All of these animals can carry rabies. In fact, researchers have documented rabid bats in all 49 continental states (Hawaii is rabies-free).

Rabies is a serious illness that affects the brain. The only way a person can get rabies is from the bite of a rabid animal. While rabies is in decline in the United States—with 1 to 2 deaths per year on record, down from 100 deaths per year since the 1960s—it is still prevalent in developing countries. In such places, people without access to health care are most likely to become infected. According to the Global Alliance on Rabies Control, 60% of human deaths occur in people 15 years old and younger. Animals infected with rabies usually die within 7 days of becoming sick.

In the United States, in 2000-2004, a majority of the rabies cases occurred from cat bites. Because of strict vaccination laws and protocols, dogs are well-vaccinated in the United States, so they are a less likely source of rabies infection in humans.
However, in developing countries, dogs remain the most likely source.

After our brief game of “Who am I?”, I began telling the children about dog bite prevention. I gave them three different scenarios.

Meeting a Stranger with a Dog

If you ever find yourself walking down the street and you are approached by a person walking a dog, don’t assume you can just go up and pet the dog. Not only is it disrespectful to the dog and its owner it also invades the dog’s space and puts him on alert. The goal is to minimize the chance of biting so instead stop calmly and wait. Decide if the dog appears friendly. Then, ask the owner if you may pet the dog. If the owner says, “No,” be respectful and go about your day. If the owner says, “Yes,” make a closed fist and hold it near your body. Allow the dog to sniff your hand and when the dog is satisfied, then you may pet the dog. As you pet the dog, don’t make a downward swooping motion to pat the dog on the head (as this appears threatening), instead gently stroke the dog down the chest or along the back.

Meeting a Stray Dog

If you find yourself walking down a street and you encounter a stray dog, do whatever you can to stay away. If you cannot stay away from the dog, stop, stand still, and pretend to be a tree. Make closed fists to prevent the dog from biting your fingers. Stand slightly angled to the side with the dog in your peripheral vision (Do not make direct eye contact with a dog because the dog will interpret that as a challenge). Never turn your back to a strange dog and never attempt to run from a dog—you couldn’t outrun a dog if you tried. (Humans can run on average 27.3 miles per hour and dogs can top out at speeds above 45 miles per hour) Besides, when you run away from a dog, you activate the prey drive which makes the dog want to chase you.

Stand still and pretend to be a tree. Remain calm. If the dog attempts to sniff you, allow him to do so and wait patiently and calmly for the dog to lose interest.

Surviving a Stray Dog Attack

Before a dog bites you, offer it something to redirect its attention. You could use a stick, a toy, a treat, a backpack, or anything that you can offer to the dog to bite apart from you. Then, get out of there as soon as possible.

After a dog bites you, don’t try to retaliate. Retaliation leads to escalation and could result in serious injury or even death. Instead, shout for help (avoid screaming as this further draws out the prey drive) and curl up in a ball and pretend to be a rock. When pretending to be a rock, be sure to protect your neck with your hands and draw your knees up into your chest to protect your stomach.

If you’ve been bitten, make sure to go home and wash any wounds with warm water and soap for about 15 minutes. Then, make an appointment with your doctor to determine if treatment is necessary for rabies.

Share these tips with your children today.

Get involved in the cause to stop rabies. When you give:

  • $8 per month will vaccinate a child
  • $2 per month will vaccinate a dog
  • $75 one time gift will provide life-saving therapy to critical rabies cases
  • $10 per month to teach children to stay safe

You can donate online by visiting

Download the American Veterinary Medical Association’s coloring book for fun coloring pages that teach about safety around dogs.

Tapeworm Infection in Dogs

At my first stop this morning, I became acquainted with three dogs. The last two times I encountered them, we had not been formally introduced so they were excited and protective of their yard as I entered it. This time, the owner saw me coming and ushered the dogs into the house before I opened the gate to enter the yard. As I began cleaning, the owner called out to me. She was getting ready to leave for work but wanted to let the dogs out before she left. She said, “I’m going to let them out one at a time so they can get to know you.”

My first encounter was with Kilo, a boxer. He came galloping out of the house with full force, agitated that a stranger was in his yard. I knelt down beside my lobby dust pan and allowed him to approach me. With caution, he came nearer to me and sniffed around. I managed to pet him. Satisfied that I was not a threat, he bounced across the yard and dropped a fresh pile of poo for me to pick up.

Next, she introduced me to Gracie. True to her namesake, Gracie swiftly and gracefully approached me directly. She sniffed my face and licked my nose. Then, she went about her business.

Finally, Diesel came out to meet me. He came over, circled around me, and sniffed my dust pan. Deciding that I wasn’t that interesting, he went on his way.

After all three of the dogs went back into the house, I continued my first scan of the yard. I saw a tapeworm segment in one of the fresh piles the dogs deposited during our meet-up. Without hesitation, I knocked on the door and informed the owner about tapeworm infection.

If you didn’t already know, tapeworm infection is actually a sign of a flea infestation. You see, the flea is the intermediate host for the Dipylidium caninum tapeworm. Infection occurs when your dog accidentally swallows a flea containing the parasite. You might be wondering, How on earth could my dog accidentally swallow a flea? It is easy than you think.

Fleas are blood-sucking parasites. The females require a blood meal before they can lay eggs. As fleas bite your dogs, your dog becomes very itchy. Have you ever watched your dog nip or bite when scratching a flea bite? Sure you have. When a dog uses its teeth to scratch a flea bite is exactly the time an unsuspecting flea gets swallowed up in the jaws of your canine.

Now, as for this customer, the tapeworm infection is already present. The first course of action is to determine which dog has tapeworm. If you visit your veterinarian, they can give you a small device designed to obtain a fecal sample, or you can simply use a plastic baggy and take samples from each of the dogs into the vet clinic for analysis. After a short microscopic examination of the stool, your veterinarian can tell you which dog is infected with tapeworm. **Please note, fecal analysis does not always provide a definitive diagnosis.

Next, your veterinarian will likely prescribe medicine designed to kill the tapeworm. A couple treatments are usually necessary, spaced two to three weeks apart.

While you’re waiting on the tapeworm infection to clear from your dog’s system, the next course of action is to address the flea problem. Most veterinarians will recommend a monthly flea preventative. These usually come in packs of three droppers that you apply to the whithers of the dog. Certain products are capable of killing fleas, ticks, and eggs of both parasites.

As for home care, you will need to vacuum your carpet. Immediately following, take the bag out of your vacuum, place it in a trash bag, and place it outside in the trash bin. You’ll want to repeat this process several times over the next 90 days to ensure that all of the fleas and eggs have been removed from your carpet.

In adult dogs, tapeworm infection is usually asymptomatic. You will not notice anything unusual except for maybe a few small segments of tapeworm in fresh stool. Tapeworm segments look like flat grains of rice or cucumber seeds. This is usually the only observation necessary to determine tapeworm infection.

In small puppies, however, you might observe a pot-bellied appearance. Anemia and intestinal blockages could also occur, meaning that tapeworm infection in puppies is more serious than in adult dogs.

For more information on tapeworm infection in dogs, be sure to check out the following web pages:

Veterinary Partner – Tapeworms

VCA Animal Hospitals – Signs of Tapeworm Infection in Dogs

AAVP – Dipylidium caninum

Three Steps to Selecting Adequate Nutrition for Your Dog or Cat

by Jason Smith

When you first brought your dog home, how did you decide what to feed him? You probably selected a popular brand of kibble off the shelf at your local supermarket based on recommendations from family, friends, or your veterinarian. Marketing might also have influenced your purchasing decision. Like most people, you continue to buy the same brand of food, feeding your companion animal a uniform meal plan over the course of his life. If you made your decision this way, you may be depriving your beloved companion of a fuller life, both in appetite and span.

In recent years, various writers and researchers have published numerous studies and books about canine nutrition that suggests pet parents should take a more active role in determining what to feed their companion animals to provide a rich and nourishing life. Recommendations vary from feeding one type of kibble over the life of the animal, to feeding canned food, to rotating food once every six months, to home cooking, or even feeding raw food diets. With all the information flooding the marketplace, how can you, the consumer, make the best choice when it comes to feeding your pets?

  1. Get Informed

The first thing to do is gather information about the various foods you are considering feeding your companion animals. One of the most important things to locate is the AAFCO statement on the packaging. The AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials. The criteria they use to determine the nutritional adequacy of a dog or cat food is their Nutrient Profiles for cats and dogs. Here are a few statements you should look for and what they mean according to the AAFCO’s web site:

  • “Complete” – product contains all required nutrients
  • “Balanced” – nutrients in the product are in the correct ratios
  • “for gestation/lactation” – indicated for use with pregnant or nursing dogs and cats
  • “for growth” – indicated for use with kittens and puppies
  • “for maintenance” – indicated for use with healthy adult dogs and cats
  • “for all life stages” – indicated for use with cats and dogs of any age

Here is the AAFCO statement from the back of a bag of Life’s Abundance Premium Health Food for Puppies & Adult Dogs:

AAFCO statement

According to the AAFCO, the nutritional adequacy statement is the most important piece of information on any pet food product because it allows the consumer to make quick and easy comparisons.

Also, you may want to delve a bit deeper into the ingredients list. The ingredients list lists all ingredients in descending order based on weight. Generally, you will want to avoid foods that do not distinguish “animal fat” from “chicken fat” because the term “animal” is not specific. In fact, the AAFCO prohibits using collective terminology on pet food products. The AAFCO web site states, “Collective terms, such as ‘animal protein products,’ ‘grain products,’ or ‘roughage products’ that cover more than one ingredient and can be used on other animal feeds cannot be used on pet food products” (emphasis added). If you see a product with non-specific terminology, do not purchase it for your dog or cat.

The guaranteed analysis is another important part of the food label. The AAFCO requires four guarantees for pet foods:

  • Maximum percentage of crude protein
  • Minimum percentage of crude fat
  • Maximum percentage of crude fiber
  • Maximum percentage of moisture

A food labeler may voluntarily include additional guarantees following the moisture guarantee. If a labeler guarantees an item the AAFCO does not require, then the labeler should include it last with an asterisk pointing to an additional statement on the label.

Here is a snap shot of the guaranteed analysis for Life’s Abundance Premium Health Food for Puppies & Adult Dogs:

Guaranteed Analysis

The AAFCO Statement, Guaranteed Analysis, and Ingredients List is the minimum information you will need before making your decision to buy a pet food.

  1. Understanding Price

Depending on the process used by a manufacturer and the selected ingredients, the price of dog and cat food may be different. According to Consumer Affairs, there are three types of pet foods: canned, semi-moist, and dry. Dry foods are mass-produced using a process called “extrusion.” It is a fast cook process allowing a manufacturer to produce a lot of kibble quickly. Because this process is fast and uses inexpensive ingredients, the overall price extended to consumers is low. There is a range of dry products available. If a manufacturer selects premium or “human-grade” ingredients, adds more protein, or uses natural preservatives instead of synthetic preservatives, the price of the food will be higher.

A step up from dry is semi-moist foods. Many dog and cat treats are semi-moist foods. The difference is that semi-moist foods contain more water than dry, so the food tends to be chewy instead of hard. Semi-moist foods also contain preservatives. The price of semi-moist foods is more than the price of dry food.

Canned food is the third type of food available on the market. Canned foods do not usually contain preservatives because the canning process acts as a preserving mechanism for the food. Because canning is more expensive than the processes used in manufacturing dry or semi-moist food, canned food is the most expensive type of food available on the market.

Marketing may also influence the price of dog or cat food. Sometimes, fancy packaging or the addition of words like “Premium” or “Senior Blend” may influence the price to go higher. In my experience, cheap foods are usually cheap but expensive does not always mean better.

  1. Do what’s Comfortable

After collecting information and understanding price, you are ready to make a purchasing decision. Dave Ramsey always says, “Do not buy anything you don’t understand.” You wouldn’t invest money in the stock market if you didn’t understand stocks, so why would you buy pet food that you don’t understand? The food you select for your pet is an important decision that will affect the life of your companion animal. So make a good choice.

Is canned food the best choice for your pet? Is semi-moist food the best choice for your pet? Is dry food or premium dry food best for your pet? Is raw or home-cooked food best for your pet? Many experts agree that the best food for your pet is one that your dog likes, one that you’re comfortable with, and one that fits into your budget.

I used the resources below to write this post. Here they are for you to use so you can make an informed decision.

After you’ve done your research, hop on over to to browse our products. Enjoy the benefits of just-in-time dog or cat food shipped direct to your door.

Is dog poop really that toxic?

by Jason Smith

What a great question! The beauty of this question is that the answer is in the question itself. First, we must define the word “toxic.” When something is toxic, it has poisonous attributes. In the case of dog poop, there are no poisonous attributes; therefore, dog poop is not toxic. However, dog poop has the potential to be harmful to people, pets, and the environment. Here’s why:

Intestinal Parasites

Dog poop may contain certain diseases-causing agents (pathogens) that can affect both people and pets. For example, roundworm and hookworm are common intestinal parasites of dogs. The eggs of these parasites usually pass in the stool of an infected animal. Roundworm and hookworm are both zoonotic diseases (diseases that are transmissible from animal to man).

Roundworm eggWith roundworm, the eggs can remain in the environment in soil. Dogs who dig or children who play in contaminated soil are most likely to introduce the parasite into their mouths. When this happens, the parasite migrates throughout the body. The natural environment for adult roundworms is the intestine of dogs; in humans, they continue to migrate throughout the body causing lesions on the skin and sometimes damage to the eye resulting in blindness.

Hookworm close upWith hookworm, the animal waste is infectious immediately. Infection easily occurs through the pads of the feet of dogs or humans walking barefoot in a waste-laden yard. Because hookworms are blood-sucking parasites, they can cause anemia in both animals and humans.

Since treatment for worms has become commonplace in practice with the administration of a monthly pill, the likelihood of roundworm or hookworm infection is low. Other intestinal parasites include tapeworm, Giardia, Coccidia, and Cryptosporidium.

Intestinal Bacteria

Other pathogens that could be harmful to people include Salmonella spp. and E. coli.

SalmonellaAccording to, salmonellosis is a mild bacterial infection that lasts for about a week. It causes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. In severe cases, salmonellosis can migrate through the blood stream and cause death. The elderly, infants, and immunocompromised individuals are at the greatest risk of severe illness.

While E. coli normally occurs in the intestines of humans and animals and contributes to a healthy intestinal system, some strains are toxic and can cause illness. According to the CDC, there are diverse symptoms associated with various E. coli infections, such as diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia, and other illnesses.

These are the most likely culprits to human infection; however, other bacteria known as campylobacter may also cause illness in humans.

Environmental Impact

When left to accumulate on the lawns of pet owners, dog waste is affected by weather patterns that play a role in carrying intestinal parasites and bacteria into the water system. When rain or storm water carries dog waste into sewer drains, the waste flows to water treatment plants. Despite our ability to eliminate contaminants from wastewater, pathogens from dog waste survive the process. This leads to water contamination. The worst part is that some of the aforementioned parasites thrive in water and infect people and pets that drink contaminated water.

Nitrogen is a natural byproduct in dog waste. When waste flows into a local body of water, the nitrogen in the waste converts to ammonia. High concentrations of ammonia in lakes, rivers, and streams have the ability to kill fish populations. Ammonia also provides a food source to algae and is responsible for an algal bloom in Lake Erie last summer that affected Toledo, OH residents.

While dog waste is not the only cause of water contamination, maintaining a clean yard is within our control. At a minimum, cleaning up after the dog should happen at least once a week. Ideally, cleaning up should happen every time your dog has a bowel movement. With busy schedules and time poverty affecting most of our lives, the ideal method is not always possible. That’s where hiring a professional comes in handy.

As you work hard to provide for your family’s needs and wants, professional dog waste removal service companies work diligently to clean up and remove the dog waste from your lawn. Luxury services like these are not for everyone. In fact, as a follower of Dave Ramsey, I’d recommend that splurging on a service like this should happen after you are out of debt, everything but your home, with 3-6 months of savings in an emergency fund. This way, you know you can afford it. By then, after all your hard work, you will have earned it.

jasonsmithJason Smith is the owner of PetCorps Professional Pet Care, a Kentucky pet services company. Before starting his business in 2007, Jason served on active duty as a veterinary technician in the United States Army. He worked overseas at the Osan Airbase Veterinary Clinic in Osan, South Korea and later oversaw the care plan of the military working dogs at the Fort Knox Veterinary Treatment Facility in Fort Knox, KY. His mission is to help make pet care pawsible by being a resource to people and their pets. For more information about PetCorps, visit