How do I disinfect a lawn?
April 27, 2017 8:08 AM   Subscribe

Tell me ways to clean giardia-infected dog poop from our grass. (Dog pics inside.)

Meet Murphy, a 13-week old Cocker with a "seemingly" good bill of health from the rescue.

Except our vet found giardia. Hooray! Murphy's on medicine for it now and his reluctant big brother Ollie is also being medicated preventatively. Murphy's situation is firming up nicely. Ollie is asymptomatic. Next poop-scan is in 3 weeks.

I have read about giardia; enough to know about extensive hand-washing protocol, that I'm probably NOT hosed from all the puppy kisses I've been non-consentually receiving, and about bleaching surfaces that have been pooped on.

However, we have a backyard that they've been pooping in. We pick up the poop right away, but it clings to the grass blades. How does one disinfect a lawn? If I run the hose on it, it just ... liquefies into the dirt. I'm positive bleaching the lawn is out of the question, not to mention dangerous for puppies and the bunnies that run rampant around here.

I'm in the northern hemisphere, so there's no frost in sight.

Extra shmoopy picture of my boys, 13/10 heckin' good dogs if I say so myself.
posted by kimberussell to Pets & Animals (8 answers total)
Here are the CDC guidelines. Click on "How do I reduce the amount of Giardia in my yard or outdoor environment?"

Basically, you can't clean it any better than you already are, but you might have to limit which dogs spend time there for now.
posted by MangoNews at 8:49 AM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

My dogs had a bout with giardia (SO nasty. I feel for you), and I was just extra-diligent about picking up the poop, washing my hands, and not letting them eat anything suspicious. It was in the late fall with temps below freezing, so hosing it down was not really an option.

They're good dogs, kimberossel.
posted by Fig at 9:06 AM on April 27, 2017 [6 favorites]

(Epidemiologist) Note that you'll really only need to worry about outdoor environmental contamination for a week or two. Are you where it's hot and dry? That period's even shorter. Is it still chilly where you are? That period's a bit longer. The CDC info linked above mentions this a bit, but if your yard doesn't have puddles or water features that the dogs play around, you're probably fine. If your yard is tiny (like mine) and your dog likes to roll in the small patch of grass that's in it, you'd need to be very diligent about policing the yard. As in: walk the dogs 3-4 times per day to get them to poo out there, not in the yard. I know this is a tough prospect with a 'splosive puppy, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and all that.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:40 AM on April 27, 2017

Yeah, you probably *could* use a weak bleach solution (as an example, every year or so we end up draining a substantial amount of chlorinated pool water onto the lawn, and the lawn is fine with it) but you'd probably be just as effective a) keeping them from rolling if they are rollers b) just using a baby wipe or similar on their feet when they come back in to wipe off any actual poop they got on their feet that might be tracked around. Also taking off your shoes at the door.

UV is a pretty powerful disinfectant, so the lawn is the least of your worries if there's not too many landmines to step in there.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:56 AM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

One of my dogs had giardia, and I did not even consider this problem. Worked for us? That dog is a poop eater [thus how she got giardia], but she doesn't eat her own poop [she did that medicine that makes them stop that before we got her]. I think all of the above are great ideas, like wiping paws when they come in, but I wanted to give you an anecdotal "don't worry too much". We had a baby and a toddler in the house at the time, too! I don't wish that on anyone. Good luck! H*ckin' cute dogs!
posted by freezer cake at 10:09 AM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Spread a load of manure on your lawn , the offending microbes will be overwhelmed by beneficial bacteria in the soil competing for this food.
posted by hortense at 10:41 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sunshine kills germs. Fresh air, too. That's not just what your Mom told you, it's a thing, so it's somewhat self-limiting. Since you are worried about it, fill a spray bottle with 3:1 water:bleach solution and spray it when you clean up poop.

Dogs are totes adorbs, as they say.
posted by theora55 at 10:49 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

It took two go-rounds of the meds, but young Murphy's gut finally cleared to the point that my vet is willing to say he was clean. His count went UP after the first round (!!!) but during re-treatment we wiped his paws and butt after every trip outside, seriously washed all of the bedding , and steamed the sofa cushions (he is spoiled).

I learned that dogs who had giardia can test false-positive for up to 6 months after treatment. Murphy's count was low, but since he's asymptomatic and growing, they're okay with no more meds. Now he can concentrate on spitting his baby teeth out on the carpet and Muttley-laughing when we step on them.

And hunting lightning bugs.

Thank you all! :)
posted by kimberussell at 5:30 AM on June 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

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