Protect your Health, Pick up After your Pets

pupwithsprinkler_pixabay.PNGIt’s common courtesy to pick up after our pets, right? We all have a natural aversion to feces because there’s bacteria in it, and that bacteria can make us sick. However, if we want our pets, families, yards and rivers to stay healthy, we must get to scooping!

When you leave pet waste along your walking route or in your yard, the bacteria in it can get taken up by rain and sprinkler water and penetrate into the soil or get washed into local rivers. Once there, those bacteria don’t die immediately, but often hang out for a few months or even years, waiting to be ingested by a person or animal. If ingested, the bacteria will start to reproduce inside their host, and the cycle of contamination continues.

Common types of bacteria that come from pet waste include: roundworm, hookworm, giardia, and campylobacter bacteria. All of these germs can infect humans and cause us to become ill. In fact, Campylobacter bacteria is the most common cause of diarrheal illness in the United States. While these bacteria often come from undercooked meats, they can also become waterborne via animal feces.

So, what can you do to help reduce the spread of these bacteria? When you take your furry friend out on walks, remember to arm yourself with poop bags; just scoop and toss in the trash. It's also a good idea to routinely pick up pet waste in your yard as it is where you are most likely to encounter pet poop and the bacteria in it. Your actions to keep the environment clean go a long way protecting your pets, family and rivers. 

Sources: Centers for Disease Control, Snohomish County Public Works