Pets and Apartment Maintenance: Clean Up!
Pets, including dogs, are great friends for people of all ages and backgrounds. They can teach young kids about responsibility by taking care of another living thing. On the other hand, they can offer companionship to adults who are living alone. Moreover, they can even help people with disabilities go through the daily motions by providing aid in accomplishing various tasks, like crossing the street safely.
For these reasons and more, a significant number of home renters have pets. 67% of American households have at least one kind of pet, 53% of which own dogs. With this in mind, it’s crucial to set up policies about managing dog poop as part of your apartment maintenance if you allow pets or plan to allow them on your property.
Addressing problems before they arise is one of the best ways to improve resident retention. For pet poop, in particular, you need to clarify the rules about the areas where your tenants can let their dogs answer the call of nature, how they can dispose of it properly, and whether you’ll be providing pet poop bags.
You should also ensure that these regulations are disseminated effectively. With ExactEstate, our cloud-based property management software includes an online resident portal where tenants can get notified of new policies in an instant. This way, everyone is on the same page and gets started on taking care of the community right away.
Health Risks of Leaving Pet Poop in Public
Health problems are the most significant danger for your apartment community when tenants don’t pick up after their dogs. Pet poop can contain pathogens that carry diseases and make people or other dogs sick.
These are five parasites and bacteria associated with pet poop in public:
Hookworms are parasites that attach to your pet’s intestinal wall. Their larvae can hatch from eggs that are deposited in the soil through dog poop.
Hookworms can penetrate human skin and cause an itching sensation. Usually, it can be treated by topical over-the-counter medication. However, there’s a species of hookworm that can develop in the human intestine, so it’s best to have your tenants pick up after their pets right away.
For dogs, this parasite sucks blood and can lead to internal blood loss. Puppies are more at risk because they might not survive after losing a significant amount of blood. Hence, it’s better to keep public places clean and avoid these areas from getting contaminated.
Roundworms are another common parasite found in pet poop. A majority of dogs get infected with them at one point or another. Puppies may even have roundworms at birth since they can be passed on by the mother while they’re still in her body.
Similar to hookworms, roundworms live in a dog’s digestive tract, and their eggs can be found in dog feces. When poop isn’t picked up right away, these eggs can hatch and infect the soil. As a result, children and adults who come into contact with the contaminated area might unwittingly become infected.
With dogs, the larvae usually stay in the digestive tract. However, in humans, they behave differently. One particularly scary risk is ocular toxocariasis, which occurs when roundworms migrate to a person’s eye. This can lead to inflammation and, worse, blindness.
The nervous system could be another target in humans. Here, roundworms can cause fever, fatigue, respiratory problems, and abdominal pain.
Digestive issues are an indicator that your dog might be infected with roundworms. Symptoms include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Having a potbelly
Giardia, a single-celled parasite, also infects the digestive system of dogs, and its cysts can be found in feces. In dogs, giardiasis leads to diarrhea and can result in death when left untreated.
Humans also get digestive problems when exposed to this parasite. Getting into contact with contaminated water, grass, or soil can lead to:
- Stomach pain
- Greasy stool
Salmonella is a relatively common bacteria. Most people associate it with eating raw meat and unclean eggs. However, your tenants can also get salmonellosis through pet poop. Symptoms can include:
- Body malaise
Additionally, this type of bacterial infection can also cause digestive problems in dogs and have similar symptoms with humans. More serious infections, though, can lead to sepsis, shock, and even death.
Other Reasons to Dispose of Dog Poop Properly
Aside from the risk of spreading diseases in your apartment complex, there are plenty of other reasons for your tenants to pick up after their dog and throw the waste properly, such as:
It Takes a Long Time To Break Down
Although pet poop is technically biodegradable organic waste, it can take about nine weeks before it fully breaks down. Decomposition largely depends on the climate, the dog’s diet, and the size of the stool.
Knowing this and the health risks that come with infected feces, you must encourage your tenants to dispose of their dog poop properly and promptly. This way, you avoid contaminating the area for a prolonged period.
It Damages Grass And Plants
Moreover, there is a misconception that dog poop can be used as fertilizer. However, as mentioned above, infected feces can actually cause more harm than good.
Imagine a dog doing its business in the community garden and leaving behind parasites and bacteria that can get into the crops and plants. Even if the vegetables are heated while cooking, the process of picking and preparing them can make humans come into contact with these pathogens.
Moreover, dog poop is acidic because of its protein-rich diet. It has high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, which can singe grass and plants.
It Smells Awful
Lastly, tenants should pick up after their dogs because fresh poop can give off a disturbing odor that can disturb others nearby. Along with this, when someone inadvertently steps on it, it can amplify the unpleasant smell and destroy the ambiance of your public spaces.