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7 Things You Didn’t Know About Pet Poop

Dog carrying a poop bag holder in his mouth

In honor of International Pooper Scooper Week, celebrated every year during the first week in April, check out these interesting fecal facts!

  • 1

    Poop can be evaluated by the 4 Cs

    This includes color (from brown to yellow and beyond), consistency (rated on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being rock hard and 7 diarrhea), content (such as fur, worms, or foreign objects), and coating (whether there is a film on the poop). PetMD has a helpful infographic on evaluating color and consistency.

  • 2

    There’s a lot of pet poop in the United States

    Dogs defecate about 30,000 tons of waste each day — that’s 10 million tons each year! In contrast, cats produce 1.2 million tons every year.

  • 3

    Your veterinarian can learn a lot from your pet’s feces

    Fecal samples are used to detect microscopic parasites, intestinal inflammation and bleeding, dehydration, constipation, and a variety of other issues. Regular fecal testing can help catch and treat disease early and keep your pet healthy. Check with your veterinarian to see how often she recommends testing.

  • 4

    The fresher the sample, the more accurate the results

    Use a container provided by your vet or a plastic bag to collect and bring in a sample the same day. Usually only a few teaspoons are needed, but be sure to ask your veterinary practice what sample size they need.

  • 5

    If your dog is experiencing fecal mat, a bath is probably in order

    Sometimes small poop particles latch onto your pooch’s fur. If this happens, grab some disposable gloves and bathe him with dog shampoo and warm water to clean him up and kill any lingering bacteria. If this issue is severe, talk to a veterinarian before taking any action.

  • 6

    Pet waste is full of bacteria

    Up to 23 million fecal coliform bacteria can be found in just 1 gram of dog doody. Feline feces can contain a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis in humans and is especially dangerous for pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems. So use those poo bags and clean your pooper scooper regularly.

  • 7

    Dogs may prefer to poop in a north-south direction

    One study shows that some dogs defecate in line with the earth’s magnetic field, though nobody is sure why. Regardless of the reason, they always seem to take their time doing their business when you’re in a hurry!