Woman cleaning up her dog’s poop

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LONDON — For shame! More than a quarter of dog owners admit they’ve walked off with their tail between their legs rather than picking up their pet’s poop on a walk. According to the survey of 2,000 dog owners in the United Kingdom, among the 28 percent who commit this dog-walking sin, one in three confess this is a frequent occurrence.

Even worse, 14 percent of the group never clean up after their pooch, always leaving the excrement behind. Somehow, just 19 percent have come across someone else’s pet’s poop when out on a walk — despite 77 percent admitting they’ve witnessed another dog walker actively not pick up after their furry friend.

It also emerged that 64 percent of all dog owners don’t think about what they may have left behind on the ground, even after dropping their poop bags in a garbage bin. Another 36 percent would be more likely to leave dog poo if they were walking in a rural field, with 51 percent unaware of the catastrophic impact it can have on livestock or the environment.

The research was commissioned by the makers of Droncit, a tapeworm tablet brand for dogs that kills off the parasite to avoid illness in canines, livestock, and even humans.

“Tapeworm can be a real issue and be passed on to livestock which in turn costs our farming industry millions of pounds each year. This is something, understandably, many would have no idea about and struggle to see how there’s an impact. However, there is no doubting the link between owners not picking up after their pets and transmission to livestock, and even in some cases, humans,” says Luke Gamble, a veterinary expert and CEO of Worldwide Vet Service, speaking on behalf of the brand, in a statement.

“The solution to this issue for owners is to ensure your dog is given worming tablets and at the right frequency to ensure there’s no issues encountered outdoors or within the home.”

Dog pooping
(Image by Pezibear from Pixabay)

Dog do’s and don’ts

It also emerged 56 percent of dog owners only ever think of the human implications of not picking up dog poo, such as someone stepping in it, rather than how it could impact things like livestock.

The study also shows that 65 percent let their dog off the leash on a walk, with a quarter rating the chance of missing their dog doing their business at medium or high. However, 27 percent incorrectly believe picking up their dog’s poop is enough to solve the issue of spreading tapeworm, unaware that residue left behind can have more than enough parasites to be still problematic.

Two-thirds also believed they and fellow walkers need to think more about the implications of not worming their dogs. One in six (15 percent) give their dog worming tablets either annually or less often, according to the data via OnePoll.

Additionally, 21 percent only take their best friend to the vet if there’s an issue rather than having an annual check-up.

“It’s fair to assume if you pick up your dog’s poo that would be enough, but actually it’s not the case, particularly if your pet isn’t wormed. Ensuring your pet gets its worming tablets on a regular basis ensures such problems aren’t encountered,” a spokesperson from Droncit adds. “But this isn’t just something you want to do to protect livestock – if your dog has a tapeworm issue, this definitely isn’t a situation you’d particularly enjoy escalating in the comfort of your own home. So a simple tablet as regularly as your vet recommends, benefits everyone, including your canine.”

South West News Service writer Steve Richmond contributed to this report.

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