During veterinary school, my classmates and I came up with a list of ten veterinary-related rules. Some of these had to do with humorous events in school, but the #1 rule is as important now as it was then.
Rule #1 : Don’t Eat Poop
(No, really, it’s more complicated than you think. Many parasites are transmitted to other animals or humans through the GI tract and excretion of animals. Fecal contamination of the yard, beaches, and house doesn’t take much at all. If your dog’s feet are dirty when it comes in the house, it could be carrying in the eggs of various intestinal worms. They get on the carpet, or your bed, or play areas. It doesn’t take much to contaminate things that end up in our mouths. The potential is there, and I assure you that the risk is very real.)
The rule is phrased in such a disgusting way to make a specific impact. While stool isn’t appropriate for consumption — something I wish more dogs would realize — it can be extremely useful as a diagnostic tool. The article linked to below is a Q&A with a veterinarian about what we can learn from a stool sample. It’s worth checking out!