Pets and Pests Thursday May 28, 2015
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There is no Poop Fairy!

Cat and Dog on Play Date Our pets are our family

Animal lovers absolutely love their pets. Pets are part of the family but they are incapable of cleaning after themselves!

Dogs poop, cats puke. Lucky us – we get to clean it up!

When the cat spits up a hairball, all of a sudden he’s my cat!

Normally, I wouldn’t use “pets and pests” in the same sentence but, our friendly companions do attract certain kinds of pests, especially dogs.

OK, so maybe I’m biased since I’ve always had several cats, to the point of bordering on “Crazy Cat Lady” . . . but – cats cover it up, keeps the flies away you know. …

Poop A.K.A. Feces and Scat

There is no poop fairy

The Jefferson County Animal Control in Colorado says it all in their “Poop Fairy” sign.

Both animals, of course, attract fleas, we all know about that but there are other pests they attract that can be avoided with just a few changes around the home.

First, let’s talk about poop, dog poop that is, in the yard, around neighborhoods, and in parks.

“There is no Poop Fairy” signs are popping up all over neighborhoods and parks, reminding dog owners that there’s no magical way of removing dog poop.

Insects and Other Pests Attracted to Poop

Here are the types of pests that dog poop attracts:

Fleas, ticks, and flies lay their eggs in the feces, creating more fleas, ticks, and flies, not only around the home but in the neighborhood as well. Even cockroaches are attracted to poop.

Poop Fairy

Dog poop contains harmful bacteria and pollutes our groundwater; just one of many reasons to clean up after your pets.

Rats and mice are attracted to the bits of food that are in the poop. You don’t see them because they come out at night but they will go after dog poop as a source of food – yuck!

Mice and rat attracted to dog poop

Rats and mice are attracted to dog poop left on lawns. Poop laying out in the open is not only a food source for rats but a place for fleas and flies to lay their eggs.

Zoonotic Diseases and Bacteria

There are different sorts of bacteria, zoonotic diseases (E. coli, Salmonella, Lyme, etc.) and worms that can be transmitted to humans from secondary touch i.e. playing in the grass where infected poop has been deposited, gardening, playing sports, or walking around the yard barefoot.

Eggs from roundworms and other parasites can linger in the soil and re-infect your dog or cat too.

Hearts Pest Management can treat your lawn area where animals, including wildlife have deposited their feces and urine. Treatment will rid the area of bacteria and zoonotic diseases. This can be done utilizing organic or traditional methods. Hearts provides landscape inspections free-of-charge for customers interested in this type of service.

Damage to Grass by Dogs

Look at the damage dogs can cause to grass. Keeping them in a kennel on the side of the house is one way to keep grass looking good and free from bacteria left by feces and urine.

Pet Feces and the Environment

Pet feces doesn’t breakdown like a wild animal’s because of the processed food dogs and cats eat, including human food.

As the message from Jefferson County Animal Control in Colorado states on their “There is no poop fairy” sign, “It sticks around for a long time … polluting the groundwater.”

It’s certainly something to think about the next time you forget to take a bag with you when you take your dog out for a walk.

“Going Green” includes caring for our groundwater and our family’s health.

Not only are you re-infesting your own yard from the flea and fly eggs deposited in the poop but your neighbor’s yard, parks, and common areas. Plus, it smells!

Poop Police

San Diego’s FOX5 news recently covered a story, a true story about how dog owners can be traced using the DNA in left behind in dog poop. According to FOX5, “The EPA categorizes dog feces on the same level of toxicity as chemical and oil spills!”

Many HOA communities are requiring dog owners have their dog’s mouth swabbed for registering DNA. If a pile of poop is left behind, the community’s poop police are able to send in a sample and track down the owner.

The company out of Los Angeles collecting DNA samples and providing testing, PooPrints, is growing to the point of testing throughout the U.S, Canada, Israel, and Singapore. Other countries such as the U.K. have their own DNA collecting and testing for irresponsible pet owners.

Bisous and Eugi

Who’d believe these cutie-pies would contribute to 10 million tons of poop?!

Hazardous waste experts estimate that there are 10 million tons of dog feces deposited per year in just this country alone. Imagine lining up semi-trailers from Seattle to Boston full of dog poop, that’s 10 million tons worth of poop!

Taking Responsibility for Pets and Pests

There are a few things pet owners can do to avoid the embarrassment of having the Poop Police come a knocking, and at the same time, help the environment while also keeping some pesky pests at bay.

1. Keep your pet’s leash and a container of bags for picking up poop in the same place; this will help you remember the bag.
2. Use a shovel or pooper scooper often to clean up your yard. If you don’t have the time, there are plenty of self-employed “Pooper-Scoopers” looking for new accounts. Remember, dog feces left around the yard attracts rats and mice that just might find their way into your garage or attic.
3. Keep fleas and flies from infesting your yard by cleaning up the poop on a regular basis.
4. Pet food kept in tightly sealed, plastic containers will keep out rats and mice as well as ants.

TIP: If your cat’s indoor food is attracting ants, put the bowl in a shallow pan of water (pie pan works well) or – sprinkle cinnamon all around the water and food bowls. Ants won’t cross cinnamon nor do they like baby powder.

Cat and dog

More and more homeowners as well as parks are jumping on the bandwagon when it comes to posting signs that state, “There is no Poop Fairy,” or asking dog owners pick up after their pets. And while all pets are cute, what they leave behind isn’t so cute. Let’s keep our lawns and parks clean and poop free!

Please call for a free landscape inspection at 800-986-1006

Article and Photos by Donna Walker
Thank you to Hearts Field Service Representative, Trish Kydd for the idea!

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