HEALTH HAZARD Dog poop can cause everything from gastro-intestinal problems to blindness in humans.
The vet's view
Firstly, may I wish all Mayo News readers a healthy and happy 2023. (Where are the years going?)
Whilst trying gallantly to get out and about to fulfil my (non) New Year’s resolution of shedding a few of those Christmas pounds, I have noticed the perennial problem of dog fouling hasn’t gone away, especially on our beautiful Mayo beaches.
It’s so disappointing to see sand, footpaths and parks littered with this problem, especially when we all know that if a very small bit of planning and will went into walking our dogs, it could so easily be tackled successfully.
Just the routine habit of leaving a roll of poop bags with or attached to the dog lead would go a long way to falling ‘foul’ (sorry!) of the old excuse, ‘I forgot to bring bags’. Bringing one bag may in fact not be enough, as your change may have a number of bowel motions on any one walk, so the rolls of poop bags are a great idea, if you has to pick up a number of deposits.
Remember too, if you are conscientious enough to bring a roll of poop bags, if you let your charge off their lead, you may miss the offending action. You might be enjoying the scenery and your dog goes off behind a rock or around a corner to do their business. If indeed you do let your dog off for a gallop, be sure to keep a close eye, as this is surely the time they will do their business.
Fouling of footpaths is a terrible problem, especially for the visually impaired, or those in wheelchairs or the infirm, as they may not spot the deposit until perhaps they get home and suddenly find a bad smell in their house on their carpets and rugs. I believe there should be no excuse for fouling on paths, as dogs should be on a lead when walking on footpaths and community parks where they can be observed all the time.
Most importantly, dog fouling can and does have potentially serious health risks to humans, especially children and those with compromised immune systems. Viruses, bacteria and parasites in dog faeces can cause, gastro-intestinal problems, blindness (in the case of some canine parasites), liver and kidney ailments, to name but a few health problems in humans. In the vast majority of cases, these are picked up when swimming on our beaches or by inadvertently or unknowingly stepping on dog faeces while out and about and bringing it back to one’s home.
We all love to try to get out and about for both our physical and mental health in January. Those of us who are dog owners love to bring along our pouches, but let’s please be mindful of the perennial problem of dog fouling. Plan ahead to always bring those poop bags along – but, more importantly, be vigilant and use them when needed.
Veterinarian Conal Finnerty MRCVS practises at the Skeldale Vet Clinic in Ballinrobe and Belmullet. Follow the clinic on Facebook, or call 094 9541980 or 087 9185350 to make an appointment.