Dog owners take note: As summer draws closer and soaring temperatures begin to mount, risk levels are rising for waste-borne bacteria and parasites that can harm the health of your family and pets.

While keeping dogs well hydrated and out of direct sunlight are staples of summer pet safety, lesser known are the dangers associated with dog waste.

Dog poop is more than just a gross and unsightly mess with a penchant for ruining your day (and shoes). In hot, humid conditions like those seen during the summer months, dog waste left on the ground can quickly become a breeding ground for infection especially in dog parks and other areas where pets frequently gather.

Bacteria, worms and other parasites thrive in discarded waste and the soil beneath it until the deposit is cleaned up or washed into the water supply. Giardia, ringworm, roundworm, salmonella and E. coli are examples of such inhabitants, all of which are commonly found in dog feces and are easily transferable upon contact.

When dogs become sick, these pathogens are often times shed through their waste. The longer infected doggie deposits stay on the ground, the greater a contamination becomes. When this waste is not picked up in a timely fashion, pets face a high risk of contracting a parasite or bacterial infection over and over again.

Roundworm, for example, is one of the most common parasites found in dog waste and it can remain infectious in contaminated soil and water for years.

This summer, be sure to always pick up where your dog “drops off.” Keeping dog waste off the ground is one of the most effective (yet often overlooked) actions pet owners can take to ensure their furry loved ones stay healthy and safe. For those who don’t have enough time to deal with the mess themselves or simply don’t want to hiring a local pet waste removal service is a simple, effective and affordable option.

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