The Santa Clarita-based Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists, a nonprofit trade organization founded in February 2002, has established April 1-7 as a special week of educating pet owners on the importance of cleaning up after their dogs.
With the week in full swing, pet owners should be aware of the problems concerning dog waste. The American Pet Association estimates that this country’s 71 million pet dogs produce over 4.4 billion pounds of waste per year. That’s enough to cover 900 football fields with 12 inches of dog waste.
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Dog poop is more than just a smelly nuisance; pet waste can pose a serious health hazard. Why? A number of common parasites, including roundworm, are transmitted via dog poop. When infected dog droppings are left on the ground the eggs of the roundworms and other parasites can linger in the soil for years. As a result, anyone who comes in contact with the soil also comes in contact with the infected eggs.
Children run the greatest risk of infection because they’re prone to play in the dirt at the park or playground and then put their hands in their mouths or rub their eyes with their hands. But even a group of teens or adults playing Frisbee or touch football in an open area could be in danger. Parasitic infections can make humans extremely sick, and for pregnant women – can pose a serious harm to their unborn child. It’s no joke.
Mark your calendar annually, April 1-7, and check your local resources for planned activities to help build awareness and concerns about pet waste. If you don’t have a local pooper scooper professional, why not plan an event yourself. Get some plastic bags and some pooper scoopers, grab some friends and neighbors and do a poop check at your local park. You’ll be surprised by the comments and compliments you’ll get from passersby.
For more information about aPaws, health issues concerning you and your pet, or to find a local pet professional with the Find-A-Scooper International Directory, visit www.apaws.org.