When it comes to dog ownership, dog poop seems like a bit of a problem since you only pick it up during your walks.
However, you can also come into contact with feces inside the house during potty training and when your dog gets sick or gets older.
This is something I found with my own dog when he was a puppy and he came down with a bad case of diarrhea.
After a thorough cleaning, you wonder how dangerous dog poop really is.
And the small particles that drag from the outside?
Unlike us, dogs can’t wipe their bottoms and their paws can pick up extra fecal matter during walks.
Here’s what to watch out for and how you can prevent the spread of potentially dangerous diseases within your home.
Is dog poop dangerous inside the house?
Dog poop is potentially dangerous when left indoors, as it can serve as a breeding ground for pathogenic and parasitic microorganisms that can cause disease in both people and animals.
One of the biggest dangers of dog poop inside the home is bacteria that can be easily transmitted between animals and humans.
One gram of dog poop contains about 23 million coliform bacteria, which is almost twice the amount that can be found in human waste.
E. coli, for example, lives in the intestines of healthy people and animals, and most types are harmless or cause very mild symptoms.
However, there are some threads that can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, fever, and in rare cases, even death.
Another potential disease that can be transmitted through dog poop is called campylobacteriosis.
It is caused by Campylobacter, which is the number one cause of bacterial diarrheal illness in the United States and produces symptoms similar to those of E. coli.
Salmonellosis is the most common bacterial infection transmitted from animals to humans.
People who are infected with salmonella may experience stomach cramps, diarrhea, and fever.
Another nasty danger of dog poop inside the house is parasites.
I have discussed worms and how they are transmitted to people in depth in my article Can I Get Worms From My Dog Sleeping In My Bed?
The parasites are mainly transmitted by coming into contact with contaminated fecal matter.
These include Giardia, Toxocara, whipworms, roundworms, and hookworms.
Young children are at the highest risk of becoming infected with parasites, since they spend most of their time in potentially contaminated soil.
In addition to these health risks, dog poop inside the home can also create unpleasant odors and stains that are difficult to remove.
Can dog poop kill you?
Dog poop itself can’t kill you, but the bacteria, parasites, and viruses it contains can cause life-threatening illnesses, such as E. coli or salmonella infections.
Very young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill from dog poop diseases.
In healthy people, Campylobacter or salmonella infections are generally mild and most affected people recover fairly quickly.
In severe cases, these diseases can lead to serious complications, such as kidney failure or liver damage.
Can breathing dog feces make you sick?
Simply breathing in dog feces is not likely to make you sick, as the primary concern is ammonia exposure, and trace amounts of ammonia are emitted from feces.
If you pick up dog poop in your house, yard, or outside, you don’t have to worry about brief, small exposure to ammonia.
In general, exposure to high concentrations of ammonia is dangerous and can cause a variety of symptoms including coughing, sore throat, and burning sensation in the eyes.
If you are sensitive to some odors or if your dog has produced a particularly nasty poop, you may start to gag, but this should stop immediately after you clean it up.
In addition to ammonia and a foul odor, dog feces can release bacteria into the air.
The CU-Boulder study showed that of the four Midwestern cities in the experiment, two cities had significant amounts of fecal bacteria in the atmosphere, with dog feces being the most likely source.
“We found unexpectedly high bacterial diversity in all of our samples, but to our surprise, the airborne bacterial communities of Detroit and Cleveland more closely resembled communities found in dog poop,” said lead author Robert Bowers.
Bacteria from dog feces present in outdoor air in urban areas
It is a well-known fact that bacteria exist in the atmosphere and can greatly influence human health, causing allergies and asthma.
However, these researchers were surprised to find a high diversity of bacteria in urban areas during winter.
Putting your nose close to dog poop is certainly not beneficial and should be avoided.
How to clean dog poop around the house
Cleaning up dog poop around the house is an unpleasant chore, but it’s important to do it correctly to prevent the spread of germs and odors.
Quick action is needed so that the poop does not break down and leave stains.
Here are the six steps you should take to clean up dog poop in your home:
- Put on disposable gloves to protect your hands from coming into contact with the poop.
- Use paper towels to remove the poop, but be careful not to spread it or push it deeper into the carpet or floor.
- Spray the area with a cleaning solution (either a commercial pet odor remover or a mix of equal parts water and white vinegar) and let it sit for a few minutes to absorb.
- Use a sponge to scrub the area to remove any remaining debris.
- When everything is visibly clean, spray the area with a disinfectant.
- Finally, dispose of the used materials and wash your hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water.
If the poop has been left sitting there for some time, you may need to use a stain remover or hire a professional cleaning service as a last resort.
What to do if you accidentally touch dog poop
If you accidentally touched dog poop, don’t panic and take immediate steps to minimize the risk of infection by washing and sanitizing your hands.
It’s not the end of the world and it has happened to many dog owners and other people before.
However, dog feces is a serious health concern, so be sure to practice very good hygiene afterward.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water.
- Pay special attention to the areas under the nails and between the fingers.
- If you have cuts or open sores on your hand, use an antiseptic to disinfect the area.
If you develop any symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea, seek medical attention immediately.
Remember that dog poop contains harmful bacteria and parasites and it’s better to take the proper precautions next time.
To avoid any contact, wear disposable gloves when cleaning up dog feces and disinfect anything that has come in contact with it.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for veterinary care and is not intended to be. I am not a veterinarian or a pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any signs of illness, call your vet.
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