You’d be right in your concern of wondering whether dog feces is harmful to humans.
The reality of dog poop might be that there are several diseases that can potentially be transmitted from dog feces to humans.
It’s not surprising when you discover that dog poop can contain disease pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.
These disease pathogens present a potential risk or danger of zoonotic diseases, a term used to describe diseases passed from animals to humans (according to agriculture.vic.gov.au)
So, you definitely want to be careful with handling, picking up, cleaning up or disposing dog poop – especially inside or around the home.
What harm can dog feces cause to humans, what zoonotic diseases can be passed, and how can you manage the spread?
Well, let’s see…
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
Is Dog Poop Harmful To Humans? (Diseases & Other Issues)
How Commonly Are Diseases Passed From Dog Feces To Humans?
Several sources say they are relatively uncommon.
What Makes Dog Poop Potentially Harmful?
Dog feces can contain bacteria, protozoa, fungi, viruses and parasites.
For example, contaminated dog feces can include Salmonella, Campylobacter, Giardia, roundworms and potentially hookworms.
Both healthy and sick animals can have contaminated or infected poop – so it’s not only poop from sick dogs or dogs with diarrhea you have to be wary of.
What Diseases Can Humans Get From Dog Poop?
There’s a long list of zoonoses diseases humans can contract from contaminated dog poop (according to agriculture.vic.gov.au)
Some of the more well known diseases are bacterial bites, E Coli, Salmonella and Giardia.
How Can Humans Catch Diseases From Dog Poop?
The bacteria, viruses and parasites spread like they would any other disease causing organism.
They could enter through the mouth, open cuts and wounds, air etc.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Dog Poop Related Sickness?
Symptoms could be wide ranging – you’d want to see a doctor immediately if you suspect you’ve caught something.
Examples include vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, headaches, lethargy etc.
Who Is At The Most Risk Of Getting Sick From Dog Poop?
In general, anyone who has contact with animals regularly, which certainly includes family pets.
But, people who are more susceptible to zoonoses are those who’s immune system might be affected in some way such as those on immunosuppressive treatment, pregnant women, alcoholics and diabetics (according to agriculture.vic.gov.au)
How Can I Reduce The Risk Of Getting A Disease From Dog Feces?
Speak to a health professional for expert advice on this.
But, paying attention to the following can potentially reduce the risk of contracting disease from dog poop:
A special puppy vet check to make sure your puppy is up to date with vaccinations etc.
Regular vet checks to ensure your dog is healthy
Practising good personal hygiene
Wearing gloves when dealing with poop
When at the dog park or on walks be vigilant and don’t let your dog sniff or get near other dogs’ poop
Cleaning and disinfecting poop and pet stains inside the house and in areas you spend time in
Cleaning your front and back yard regularly
Minimising poop inside the house – contamination can occur in living spaces
Vaccinating and worming pets
Keeping rodents out of your property
Getting immediate advice from your vet for a dog with diarrhea or uncommon signs in their poop such as blood, mucus, worms, undigested foods and strange objects
Dangers of Dog Poop In The House, & The Importance Of Cleaning, DisInfecting and Disposing Properly
Contaminated dog poop in the house can present risk – especially around other animals, babies and pregnant women, or people with immune conditions.
You’ll want to make sure you clean up, remove and disinfect dog poop in the house ASAP, or at least isolate others from it if you are letting it dry (for diarrhea and runny/wet poop).
We’ve also written a few of guides for cleaning and deodorising dog poop and diarrhea:
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