Fine Gael Senator Emer Currie has urged dog owners to pick up after their pooch after Dublin vets have warned that fouling is contributing to the spread of a nasty dog virus.
Senator Currie said: “Having spoken to vets in the area of St Catherine’s Park in Lucan and Dublin 15, there is definitely an increase in cases of dogs with vomiting and diarrhoea.
“I am told the virus isn’t fatal, but not at all pleasant for our beloved family pets and it could affect older or vulnerable dogs more so people need to be careful.
“It’s not a new virus but a number of factors have contributed to its spread. Dog ownership has soared over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic with many people seeing it as a good time to dog train while spending more time at home and hoping to work closer to home in the future.
“However, this spike in dog ownership combined with the 5km restrictions means there are more dogs being walked in concentrated areas, including local parks like St Catherine’s.”
Senator Currie continued: “The biggest problem is that some people aren’t cleaning up after their dog and other dogs end up walking in it. They groom themselves when they get home and get sick with the virus.
“A local vet told me it’s now really important for dog owners to checks their dogs’ paws after a walk to make sure they did not walk in another dogs litter and wash them if in doubt.
“Dogs instinctively groom themselves which could result in them getting the bug. If your dog is showing symptoms, keep them at home in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Owners should keep their dogs on leads as much as possible, avoid mixing with other unknown dogs, make sure their dogs are up to date with routine vaccinations and worming prevention and if their dog becomes unwell and has vomiting and diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, seek veterinary attention.
Senator Currie concluded: “Over the Christmas period there can often be an increase of bugs amongst dogs, but this is worse.
“Dog owners tell me they are unsure if they should bring their dogs to the park at all at the moment.
“We all need our exercise right now, pets and their owners included. Getting out of the house for a walk is important, and nobody should be missing out for fear of their dog getting sick.
“People must take responsibility for their dog litter. There is absolutely no excuse not to bag it and bin it at any time, but especially now to prevent any more beloved pets becoming ill.”