You make a call to your veterinarian’s office to set up a yearly checkup for the dog. Just before you’re getting ready to hang up the phone, the receptionist tells you not to forget to bring in a fresh stool sample. A what? Poop? I have to bring poop to the vet? Yes, you do.
As gross as it might sound, having your dog’s poop checked at least once a year is an important part of its health and well-being. Sometimes dogs are exposed to parasites that can make them sick, and even worse, sometimes they can pass those parasites onto us.
So no matter how much it grosses you out, it’s your responsibility as its owner to get that poop to the vet at least once a year. But don’t worry; here are a few simple tips that can make this poop transport a bit easier on all who are involved.
The fresher the sample, the better
Think about it. Do you really think that pile of poop that has been sitting out in your yard for a week is really the best sample to bring in? No. It’s contaminated and old, and the fact that it’s been sitting in your yard for a week or longer is gross, so go pick that up and grab a fresh sample.
Give your dog some privacy
There’s no need to hover over your dog when it is trying to do its business. Some dogs are private poopers and will deny you the sample that you need if you don’t back off. Let it go out and do its stuff naturally. Just keep an eye on the location where it makes its deposit.
A small amount will do
You don’t need to bring the whole pile of poop in. Seriously. Only a small piece of poop will do. It’s best to ask your vet how much he or she prefers, but the general rule is about the size of two sugar cubes will be enough. Or better yet, a plastic spoonful just to be safe.
The veterinarian clinic is not testing leafs and sticks for parasites, just poop, so feel free to just keep those items in the yard.
The container is important
The container that the poop will be transported in is key and should be leak-proof, so put down that paper or plastic grocery bag right now! Plastic containers with a lid seem to work best and prevent the most stink from seeping out. Old prescription bottles work great; just make sure they are wiped clean before using. Some veterinary clinics will have fecal containers available for clients, so you can ask for one of those at the front desk if you remember.
Keep it cool
If your dog is a morning pooper but your appointment isn’t until late afternoon, don’t worry about it. Collect the sample and store it in a cool place until you’re ready to go or drop it off at the vet on your way to work. It’s not at all recommended that you let it bake in your car all day while you’re at work or let it melt in the sun on the driveway.
Don’t forget it
All that effort and you forgot it! You’ve got the dog, your keys and your wallet. Don’t forget the poop sample that’s sitting on the kitchen counter. Put the poop sample in some place where you’re bound not to forget it, or write yourself a note and tape it to your keys.