You Might Be Surprised To Learn What's On Your Dog's Paws

You may worry what germs are on your dog's paws while they stroll on a city sidewalk, field, or hiking trail.  

In my metropolis, I grimace when my dog pees on tiny areas of dirt and grass because thousands of other dogs used the same spot as a restroom.   

He walks on other dogs' urine and feces, maybe squirrel and geese droppings, but might he introduce germs into our home that could make us sick?  

Sykes added, “If you just go out for a walk in an urban area and you are not seeing any gross contamination with fecal matter, then it's probably okay to do nothing, because you've got it all over your shoes the same way a dog has it on its paw  

Your dog's paws pick up viruses based on where you live, your lifestyle, and local diseases. Cities expose dogs to various germs than rural or farmland, which won't appear like the pathogens that stick to your dog's fur when they swim in lakes and ponds.  

Sykes said most infections your dog walks and rolls in don't survive well outdoors and won't survive indoors. “They’re just not infectious anymore,” she added.  

Dogs introduce bacteria into the home, but most of them aren't pathogenic, said Megan Jacob, a North Carolina State University veterinary microbiology professor.  

Your dog's paws probably wouldn't pick up enough pathogen to cause sickness, Sykes added. While strolling, your dog will shed several organisms from its paws before you get home.  

Suppose your dog walked in another animal's feces. Jacobs believes that bacteria wouldn't stick to their paws long. “Every step he took after that pile, he'd probably be losing some of the bacteria he encountered,” Jacob added.  

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