Dogs who dig in the dirt often don’t do it to drive you daft. Your furry friend may dig for a variety of reasons: seeking a cool place to lounge on a hot day, trying to escape (think digging under the fence) or pure boredom. Destroying your backyard is bad, but what’s worse are the nasty health risks your pet could unearth along the way:
- Pesky parasites: Infected animals shed intestinal parasite eggs in their stools, causing potential risks to other pets. Roundworms, hookworms and the organisms that cause toxoplasmosis in pets are some of the common culprits your dog could mistakenly dig up.
- Frightening fungi: Digging can aerosolize organisms that cause fungal infections, including histoplasmosis and coccidioidomycosis (valley fever), which can be life-threatening to four-legged excavators.
- Villainous viruses: Parvovirus and distemper can lie dormant in the soil for months before being dug up. Puppies are especially at risk of contracting these deadly diseases if they are not fully immunized.
- Beastly bacteria: Some bacterial diseases lurk in the soil, ready to infect at a moment’s notice. Leptospirosis, which can cause liver and kidney failure, is found in soil surrounding standing water.
Many of these pose health hazards to two-legged family members as well, so find a new way to direct your dog’s attention when his paws itch to dig in the dirt!