According to recent surveys the waste left behind by dogs is the single biggest environmental concern that people have about their local area. The overwhelming majority of people (95% of those questioned) find dog waste unacceptable. With an estimated 4 and a half million owners allowing their pets to foul and around 1000 tonnes of dog waste produced daily in the UK there is a clear need to raise awareness of the need to ‘pick up the problem’.
Dog waste is not only an extremely unpleasant and unwelcome commodity it is also the perfect breeding ground for bacteria (Campylobacter and Salmonella) and other forms of infection. The most damaging of these is caused by the roundworm Toxocara canis. The eggs of this parasite are present in much dog waste and although initially not infectious, once the eggs hatch they pose serious health risks to any individual unlucky enough to ingest infected soil. The effects of Toxocariasis range from mild flu like symptoms that often go undiagnosed to a more worrying form that affects the eye and can lead to permanent blindness. The risks to health from Toxocara infection can be limited by always washing your hands after coming into contact with any soil and ensuring that dogs are wormed regularly, particularly puppies and lactating bitches.
Every dog owner should be aware that it is their legal requirement to clean up the waste left behind by their dog. The most straightforward means of controlling dog waste is to train the dog to go at home. Training is best accomplished in young dogs but effective training can be given a dog of any age. You can teach an old dog new tricks! As a responsible dog owner you should not allow your dog to go out without supervision, as being unaware of your dog fouling is no defence, it is also possible that the Councils’ dog wardens could seize your dog. For further information see our frequently asked questions about dogs.
When out with your dog you should always be prepared to clean up if your dog defecates. Dog waste bags are easily carried and readily available from most pet stores and vets. Plastic carrier bags can be re-used for the same purpose. Dog waste wrapped in this way can be disposed of in any ordinary litter bin or red dog waste bin. If no litter bins are available the waste should be taken home and placed with normal household waste.