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 CDC.gov, 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 petcorps.info.

trespooping

When Little Doggies Trespass

by Jason Smith

trespooping

Image source: Bing Images

The other day, after I had finished my scooping route, I came home and decided it was way past time to mow the yard. Here in Kentucky, we had experienced several days of rain, with flooding in several parts of the state. With all that rain, the grass was happily growing tall, without a dry day in sight to mow the grass. Fortunately, the rain had cooled things down in my part of the state and a dry afternoon was ideal for mowing. I grabbed the mower and started mowing the front yard.

Much to my surprise, I found little nuggets all over my front yard. Now, I know it wasn’t from the dog I was pet sitting in my home because I had let her out in the backyard to do her business. These nuggets were obviously from wandering dogs. Granted, I’m a professional pooper scooper but do you really think I want to clean up dog waste from stray dogs or people walking their dogs in my yard? Absolutely not.

We need to install a fence, I thought. I still like this idea. As soon as the budget allows, it is a viable option to solve the problem of a stray dog entering my yard to take a dump. Until then, I would appreciate a little help in this matter.

If you’re a dog walker or you’re walking your dog past my house, please be considerate and pick up the waste with a poop bag. I have walked dogs for others and I always make sure I’m carrying poop bags just in case the dog takes a potty break while we’re walking. You wouldn’t like it if I let a dog in my care poop on your lawn, so why would you think that I would like it? Forget the label on my Jeep that reads “We Scoop Dog Poop” and simply follow the Golden Rule. Matthew 7:12 says, “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.”

I really don’t care if you think poop is gross and you don’t want to stoop down to pick it up because it stinks. Do you really think you are the only person in the world that dislikes dog poop? Nobody likes to pick up dog poop. That’s the main reason I have a job. I enjoy what I do because it makes a difference in the lives of others. The problem with the wayward dog walker is that instead of concerning himself with others, he takes a selfish position that says, “Yes! That’s one less pile I have to clean up. Good dog!”

Need I remind you about the new signs popping up around pet-friendly apartment complexes? They read:

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“Pet Waste Transmits Disease…clean up after your pet.”

It is true that dog waste transmits disease. Some of the diseases your dog can pass on to humans include:

Even worse is a disease that dogs can spread to other dogs: parvovirus.

So when you let your dog poop all over and fail to clean up after her, you are aiding in the spread of diseases that can harm people and pets. Besides this, you may create a situation that you’d want to avoid.

A while back, I had read an article about a man walking a dog. The dog had squatted on a lawn, appeared to have pooped (when in truth, only urinated), and the man and dog promptly continued on their way. The owner of the property had witnessed the act and followed the man home. When the property owner caught up with the dog walker, the property owner struck the dog walker and killed him. Now, that’s a little extreme, but there are crazy people out there. My advice to avoid such an encounter is to get in the habit of cleaning up after your dog. If this grosses you out, you have other options:

1 – Don’t have a pet dog. They poop and eventually someone is going to have to do the dirty work.

2 – Hire a dog walker. It’s part of the job to clean up after the dog. If you’re a dog walker and you’re not doing this, it’s time to get out of the business of walking dogs.

3 – Hire a professional pooper scooper to do the dirty work for you. Now, keep in mind, luxury services like these don’t come cheap; if they do, they probably aren’t worth it. Don’t skimp on price when it comes to choosing a professional pooper scooper. You indeed get what you pay for.

cropped-fave_01.jpgJason 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 petcorps.info.

To dig or not to dig?

Dog Digging A Hole in the Yard

Image source Bing Images

Digging is an instinctual habit of dogs but an undesirable trait according to dog owners.

It appears that people are more concerned about the appearance of their lawns than the psychological development of their dogs. After all, it’s expensive to produce a well-manicured lawn and the destruction caused by digging dogs frustrates pet owners.

According to Shore, Riley, & Douglas (2006), one of the reasons dog owners turn their dogs over to animal shelters is digging. So clearly, dogs and their owners must work together through this issue.

There are several reasons a dog resorts to digging. First, it’s hardwired into their DNA to dig.

In fact, breeders bred some dogs because of their digging abilities. According to Cesar Millan, the desire to dig is “especially strong in terrier breeds.”

Second, it gives them an outlet for their energy. When a dog doesn’t have an outlet, they become bored and naturally gravitate toward their digging instinct.

Third, they dig to ward off intruders like moles and other ground-dwelling animals. According to Yvette Van Veen in the Toronto Star, “Dogs notice these uninvited guests- often well before owners. [When they do], they usually start to dig.”

Fourth, they dig to provide themselves a place to cool off during the summer. The cool earth provides a nice place to cool off in warmer months. I’ve also observed that in colder months, dogs will cuddle together in a previously dug hole to keep warm.

Digging is part of who your dog is. Asking your dog to stop digging is like asking him to change his nature. Why? So you can have a pristine lawn. Your dog doesn’t understand why your lawn is so important, after all, it’s his bathroom. Not that he doesn’t appreciate a clean yard to frolic in or the fact that you have it cut regularly, he just doesn’t value the yard the same way you do.

Is it really necessary to stop the behavior? If the answer is yes, here are some things you can do to curb your dog’s desire to dig.

Primarily, exercise is key. Dogs need about 30 minutes of exercise 6 to 7 days a week. Take your dog on walks, jogs, or runs. Take your dog swimming. Find an activity that you and your dog can enjoy together and let her exercise to her heart’s content.

Second, never allow your dog to be alone in your yard. If it is important to stop the digging behavior, you must absolutely keep a watchful eye on your dog for signs of digging. When you first observe it, that’s when you must quickly redirect your dog to some other acceptable activity.

Another option available to you is one of compromise. It’s understandable that you don’t want your yard to be “ruined” after you paid handsomely for it. Couldn’t you designate an area of your yard as a digging-zone? It is almost like providing a sandbox for your children. In fact, you might be interested in doing some research on dogscaping, a relatively new way at sculpting your yard with your dog’s needs in mind.

References

Cesar’s Way. (2014 December 8). Common dog behaviors. Retrieved on June 10, 2015 from cesarsway.com/dog-behavior/basics/common-dog-behaviors-explained

Millan, C. (2015 April 23). Stop dog from digging. Retrieved on June 10, 2015 from cesarsway.com/dog-behavior/obsession/How-Can-I-Get-My-Dogs-to-Stop-Digging

Shore, E. R., Riley, M. L., & Douglas, D. K. (2006). Pet owner behaviors and attachment to yard versus house dogs. Anthrozoos19(4), 325-334.

Yvette Van Veen Special to the Star Yvette Van Veen is an animal behaviour consultant. Write her at, a. (n.d). Backyard digging has many roots. Toronto Star (Canada).

Gas Pump

PetCorps to Implement Transportation Fees

Gas PumpTo offset a rise in fuel costs this summer, PetCorps will implement a temporary fuel surcharge on all services beginning in May and ending in October.

The fuel surcharge will be applied as a separate charge on customer invoices apart from the regular price for waste removal, pet sitting, and other services.

The decision comes after the recent increase in fuel prices in the Elizabethtown and Louisville markets. Based on a forecast report from GasBuddy, PetCorps owner Jason Smith said, “A transportation fee is necessary to continue serving our customers.”

GasBuddy 2015 Gasoline Forecast

GasBuddy 2015 Gasoline Forecast

The transportation fee will be calculated to minimize the overall charges customers receive. Customers will be charged 57.5 cents per mile for their “fair share” of the average miles driven.

First, the sum of the distances from PetCorps to each customer on a route are averaged. Then, the distance for each customer is divided by the total miles to find the percent of total miles. The percent is multiplied by the average miles to determine the miles billed.

For example:

Customer Distance % Miles billed
A 9 37.50% 3.0 mi
B 8 33.33% 2.7 mi
C 7 29.17% 2.3 mi
TOTAL 24 100.00%
Average 8.0

Calculating the final price that will appear on a customer’s monthly invoice depends on the frequency of service.

For example, if customer C is a twice-a-week customer, the total miles billed each week is 4.6 miles (2.3 times 2). We first multiply by the mileage rate to get the weekly fee. The weekly fee in this example is $2.65. We multiply this by 52 weeks and divide by 12 months to get the transportation fee. In this example, the monthly transportation fee is $11.48.

If customer A is a biweekly customer, the total miles billed every two weeks is 3.0. The biweekly fee is $1.73. We then multiply this result by 26 two-week periods and divide by 12 months to get the monthly transportation fee, which is $3.75 in this example.

Finally, if customer B is a once-a-week customer, the total miles billed each week is 2.7 miles. The weekly fee is $1.55. Multiplying by 52 weeks and dividing by 12 months yields $6.72 in transportation fees each month.

This method minimizes the transportation fees passed on to the customers and prevents monthly fluctuations caused by 4 or 5 week months.

At the end of September, PetCorps plans to remove the transportation fees as fuel prices begin trending downward. The company will continue to absorb transportation costs from October through December; however, if prices consistently trend above $2.509 per gallon after that time, permanent transportation fees may become necessary in 2016.

Dog Waste Cleanup Helps Professionals Capture Significant Value in Home Economics

You didn’t become a CEO, doctor, lawyer, business owner, or high level manager by paying full price for goods and services. You got there by being value conscious by choosing the right goods and services that provided the right value for your business to succeed.

The same is true in personal finance. You select goods and services for personal consumption based on the value they provide. Household services can save you time so you can be more productive by doing things that really matter.

Everyone is looking for work-life balance. Today’s thought leaders have determined that balance is not possible. What matters is being intentional with what we give our attention to. At home, be intentionally focused on spending time with your family. At work, be intentionally focused and engaged in work activities. The idea is to give your attention to whatever takes the highest priority at any given moment.

Picking up after the dog usually takes the lowest priority in the household environment. Greater importance should be placed on picking up after the dog because dog waste can cause disease in pets and people. Humans are susceptible to these zoonotic diseases when exposed to dog waste:

  • Roundworm
  • Hookworm
  • Giardia
  • Campylobacter
  • Salmonella
  • E. coli

This is not an all-inclusive list as there are other risks to humans. When dog waste is allowed to sit dormant on the lawn, rain can wash the waste into ground water and sewer systems where pathogens remain untreated.

Right now, PetCorps Professional Pet Care is offering special pricing on its dog waste cleanup service in Hardin and Meade County Kentucky. This sale is limited to the first 10 customers to sign up. So if you’d like to capture significant value by saving $10, $20, or even $40 per month on this time-saving service, call 877-402-4427 today to secure your slot. Slots are quickly running out, so don’t delay call today!

Winter Weather Tips

snowdog

If you live in Southern Indiana or North Central Kentucky, the National Weather Service is calling for some significant snowfall accumulations over night and into tomorrow morning. As you make preparations for your family, don’t forget about your four-legged companions. As a companion animal guardian, here are a few tips to help you survive the winter storm.

1. Make a Dug Out

No, this is not a baseball reference. Simply, select an area of your yard and dig out the snow so your dogs will have a place to eliminate without having to plop through deep snow.

2. Bring Pets Inside

If your dogs or cats usually spend time outdoors, bring them inside. Although they have fur, dogs and cats are susceptible to winter weather injuries such as frost bite and hypothermia. If it’s not possible to bring them into the house, prepare a shelter for them in your garage away from the elements where they can warm up.

CAUTION: If you plan to keep your pets in the garage, make sure your vehicles haven’t leaked any antifreeze. Antifreeze is ethylene glycol, a sweet smelling and tasting liquid that attract companion animals. It is also poisonous to pets in small doses.

3. Feed them Well and Keep them Watered

To keep warm, dogs and cats burn extra calories and may require additional food portions to maintain their energy and to aid in thermoregulation. Also keep plenty of water on hand so your companion animals do not get dehydrated.

4. Avoid Long Walks

If you plan to walk your dog in the snow, make sure it’s not very far. Also avoid walking your dog on surfaces that have been treated with rock salt as this can cause cracked paws, a condition where the skin on the foot pads cracks and begins to bleed.

5. Tap Your Hood

The engine block of your car is a warm enclosed area that provides shelter to outside cats. Before starting your car in the morning, pound on the hood of your car to startle any animals that may have sought shelter under your hood.

Do you have any winter weather tips to add? Share them in the comments section below.