Value of Pet Poop, And Picking It Up

Value of Pet Poop, And Picking It Up

Your dog or cats poop is a kind of Google on your pet's health. Pay attention it. I've been saying this for quite some time, even spoke about the etiquette of picking up after your pup on The Oprah Winfrey Show a number of years ago. That's one reason why Dr. Donna Solomon's blog about feces struck a cord. She mentions how everyone in the studio blushed when Dr. Mehmet Oz talked poop on an Oprah show.

There are many details about poop.

Picking up isn't only is the neighborly thing to do - it's for the best interest of all pets in the community. It's true there are some potential health issues to people, according to veterinary parisitologist Dr. Dwight Bowman of the Companion Animal Parasite Council and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine including roundworm, salmonella andcamplobacteriosis. Giardia, roundworm and whipworm can be spread to
other dogs, even the parvovirus to those not vaccinated

Also, as one now retired Chicago Alderman famously said "Dog poop is like caviar for rats." That's not exactly true in that rats don't relish dog poop - but like most things, they will cheerily eat the poo if they're hungry enough.

And at this time of year, complaints skyrocket across the nation. I don't know why, but people believe the stuff is going to somehow disintegrate if there's snow. Or in the winter, maybe people are just too cold to bend over and pick up.

And leaving it out, may mean another dog will scarf up the poo. A community service? Well, not quite. Dogs that eat other dog's "stuff" have a condition known as coprophagia.

When you do pick up, I am a fan of biodegradable poop bags (of course, I am.).

Also, as Solomon so well describes in her blog, "The Scoop on Your Pet's Poop," what comes out the other end offers great insight into your pet's overall health. Hope you're not eating as you read this - but it's true, color, consistency, shape/size, frequency and location all matter.

And as Solomon says - and I agree, next time your pet poos, don't look away....instead, pay attention and then either pick it up outside or scoop the cat box inside. And get a clothespin.





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  • Hi Steve, Well timed column. My kitty, Lisabelle, had a 3-day bout with diarrhea last week ... a first for her. Neither of us enjoyed it and all tests were negative. A short course of metronidazole took care of it quickly.

    I was just listening to a talk on feline constipation by Dr Susan Little that she gave last April at the CVC in Washington DC. She mentions and recommends the Purina 7-point "Fecal Scoring System" as a good way to monitor the type of poop one's cat (or dog) is having. A score of 1 is hard, dry pellets and 7 is watery diarrhea. The best type is about a 3 (I think Dr Little likes between a 3 and 4). My cat's "normal" poop is very much a 1 (hard dry pellets). I've been trying to convince her vets for years that it isn't normal, but they keep telling me it is. Dr Susan Little and Dr Margie Scherk both emphasize that hard dry poop is a first sign of dehydration ... as the body draws water out of the colon to compensate for not enough water in the diet. I feed my cat only canned food with added water, with bowls and fountains of water available ... but can't get her to drink more.

    Anyway, here is a link to a copy of the Purina Fecal Scoring System chart (warning, it is pictures of poop!):

    Here in Montreal, we also have the Spring phenomenon of melting snow revealing a sea of dog poop. Wish people would clean up after their dogs. Besides the possible transmission of disease, it's just gross! I admit that one reason I'm a cat person is that I have no desire to walk a dog in Montreal in -30C (or F) temps in the winter. Scooping a litterbox is a lot easier.

    Steve, are you at the NAVC now? I'm assuming you are ... and wishing I could be there. Let me know if you attend Dr Susan's "evening session" talk on Monday evening (on feline injection site sarcomas). I'm anxious to hear how that session goes.

    Stephanie in Montreal

  • Thank you so much Stephanie! You could be writing this blog....this is a great addition. I will tell Dr. Little you say 'hi'

  • In reply to Steve Dale:

    Hi Steve, Say "hi!" to Dr Ford, too, if you see him. Wish I were there. As for writing a blog, I don't know anything ... I just quote the same people you know and respect as well. :-)

  • I did say 'hi....' He said you're moving down there - congrats.....

  • Yeah. Let's hope I can find a job so that I don't become the newest member of the local feral cat community. I'm a terrible hunter. :-) After the deep freeze in Montreal this past week, I'm looking forward to an NC winter next year.

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