This is an excellent question. As you may know, dog waste transmits disease to animals and humans. Because children are more likely to practice poor hygiene habits, keeping the yard clean becomes extra important.
Keeping your yard free of dog waste reduces your child’s exposure to parasites.
Dogs are primary hosts for roundworms and hookworms. An infected dog will excrete roundworm and hookworm eggs when they have a bowel movement.
With roundworms, the eggs eventually end up in the soil and can remain there for about six months. Since children love to play in dirt, all it takes to become infected is playing in contaminated soil and accidentally swallowing the parasite. This might happen outdoors by introducing dirty fingers into their mouths or it could happen indoors at mealtime when a child has not thoroughly washed his hands.
With hookworms, the stool of the dog is immediately infective. To become infected, a child simply has to step in the waste barefoot. The hookworms can pass through skin.
Roundworm infection can lead to blindness in humans. Hookworm infection can lead to anemia.
To ensure your child’s safety, we recommend the following:
- Ensure your dogs are on a monthly preventative that kills worms.
- Keep your yard cleaned by having the waste cleaned up and removed.
- Enforce good hygiene habits.
- Never let a child go barefoot in a yard full of dog waste.