animals don’t clean up after themselves, so is it really a problem if you let your dog’s poop sit out for a few days or longer? Won’t it eventually turn into dirt anyway? No, it won’t. Dog poop is a health hazard, and leaving it out in your yard could be dangerous for your pets, your family, and the local water supply. Here’s what you need to know about the health hazards caused by dog poop.

Pet Health Hazard

There are a few ways that leaving pet waste in your yard can make your pets sick. Firstly, some of the most common dog illnesses are transmitted by poop. Dogs can make themselves sick by contacting or eating their poop, and if you have multiple pets, they can spread the illness between them. Things that can be passed through dog poop include:

  • Parvovirus: A dog illness that is potentially deadly.
  • Worms: Several types of worms can be passed through poop.

Even healthy dogs can excrete salmonella, E. coli and campylobacter in their poop, potentially worsening their own infection or passing it to more vulnerable pets—and people.

Family Health Hazard

Dog poop can also spread infections to humans. You do not have to eat the poop to be infected, simply touching the soil where the poop sat. Parasites are a big concern, including hookworm, ringworm, and tapeworm. Another parasite, toxoplasma, while typically spread by cats, may also be spread by dogs.

Also, coliform bacteria, a type of bacteria that is common in dogs, can very seriously infect humans, potentially causing kidney disorders. Poop may also provide breeding grounds for bugs, parasites and molds that can harm human health.

These parasites, illnesses, and other potentially infectious agents can live in the soil for years. So, it is always important to pick dog poop up promptly, or you can damage your soil for the foreseeable future.

Source of Water Pollution

The EPA classifies dog poop as a biohazard and has found that it is responsible for a large amount of water pollution. When it rains, water passes over dog poop and finds its way to the rest of the water supply. The contaminated water brings many of the infections listed above the right to local water, where it can infect wildlife, and people swimming in local water bodies like rivers and lakes.

Other Ways to Get Rid of Dog Waste

If you don’t want to throw your dog’s poop in your indoor garbage bag because it will stink up the place, we get it. There are other ways to get rid of your dog’s poop safely, including:

  • Flush: Anything that goes down the toilet is treated at a waste facility and therefore, won’t pollute the water supply. Flushing your dog’s droppings down the toilet is perfectly safe.
  • Bury properly: If you bury the waste in your backyard, at least 12 inches deep, then the waste won’t present a health hazard to your family, your pets or the water supply. However, you should not grow a vegetable garden in this spot, or you may get sick.

Or, you could let the professionals handle it. Marin Pet Waste will pick up your dog’s poop and dispose of it properly.