In my area, parvo virus is rampant. There is likely not one spot of ground in public areas that is not infected. Veterinarian offices do very well around here because of the rampant parvo.
How long does Parvo stay in the ground?
I have asked many vets around the area how long parvo virus stays in the ground and received many different answers. A few vets have said 9 years plus. Which is simply not true (Yes vets can be wrong). Most knowledgeable people on the matter say 6 months to 1 year if you live in a climate where summers have consecutive 100 degree days. If you live in a cooler climate where summers top out at 80 degrees or so with not much direct sunlight it could be as long as 3 years, possibly more.
Just one thimble full of stool can contain millions of virus particles. It is also shed through vomit and saliva. To my knowledge, I believe the dog only needs to inhale or ingest thousands of these particles to become infected. Unfortunately, virus particles are also shed by recently vaccinated dogs or puppies.
Virus particles travel most frequently by way of shoes, car tires and birds. This is why the contraction of the virus is unexplainable to many people. Most people will say “But my dog hasn’t been around other sick dogs, or even any other dogs for that matter.” Doesn’t matter. Dog sniffs car tire, there’s parvo particles on it, dog contracts parvo and shows signs of sickness 3-7 days later. Birds on your neighbors property hop around on parvo infected ground then jump over to your property and spread the virus around on their feet. Even flies can spread the virus to your dog, though probably rare. This is not to make you become paranoid, it is to spread awareness. With PROPER diet, exercise, immune support and happiness there really is nothing to worry about- parvo CAN BE just a minor cold that your dog gets over in matter of days with no bloody diarrhea or dehydration OR vet visits.
The most common way parvo is spread, is from dogs that have recently had parvo and survived. People wait a week or so before their dog is all better and start taking him for walks again, taking him to the pet store. What they don’t know is that for 4-6 weeks AFTER the virus has run its course, the dog is still shedding the virus in his feces. Possibly even through nose to nose contact. Every time the dog deposits excrement, for 4-6 weeks after healing from parvo, the dog is spreading virus to that ground.
So the question is how do we stop the spread? Or clean up the ground that is infected or may be infected?
The main way, the best way that I’ve always used is bleach. Everyone pretty much unanimously agrees that bleach is the best way.
Before doing so, you will want a whole day or so you can fully commit to clean up. Start with indoors and move to outdoors. Do not come back inside until outdoors are fully completed.
Start the furthest distance from the front door and work your way towards it.
For Hard Floors:
- Mop you don’t mind throwing away
- Hot Water
- 1/2 teaspoon or so Dawn
Fill a bucket with a gallon of HOT water, the hotter the better. CPV doesn’t do well with heat. Add dawn while bucket is filling then add 4oz or 1/2 cup of bleach to gallon. Stir in Dawn. Before you begin mopping, make sure to spot clean any areas that may have vomit or feces. The bleach is inactivated by organic material like dirt, feces and such so you will want to clean up the surface area as clean as possible.
Mop hard floors and let the mixture sit for AT LEAST 10 Full minutes. The evaporation helps oxygenate the virus which kills it. Then after the minimum 10 minute wait time you can dry floors.
If you don’t have a steam cleaner there really is no way to fully clean the carpets. CPV is said to not do well indoors and can only last a few months at the most, so if you want to leave them, just spot clean vomit/diarrhea areas. I am extra paranoid though, so I put the diluted bleach solution of 1:30 in the steam cleaner and steam cleaned all the carpets. I don’t have any special carpets or rugs, no wool or cotton so the bleach solution did nothing to the carpets. HOWEVER do a test spot before you try putting any bleach solution on your carpets!
As above, I used my steam cleaner with the furniture attachment and same bleach solution. Again, I don’t have any special heirloom or expensive furniture but the bleach mix did nothing to the color of the furniture.
The blankets, dog bed, toys, any towel used to clean up vomit or any fabric item that has been used near the dog for the duration of its sickness I would really just throw away. It’s not worth the work of worrying about if there is still some virus particles left in it. However I am just super cautious. If you really don’t want to throw them away wash them in hot water a few times with bleach and it should be safe.
Clean the bottom of any shoes you have worn while the dog has been sick with parvo with the bleach solution.
Obtain a hose end sprayer. Like this one:
You will have to work out the bleach ratio, but you can put pure bleach in the container and it will mix it in with the water itself. I’ve used it on three occasions and it has worked to the best of my knowledge.
I don’t really worry about curb appeal, my dogs lives and other dogs lives are more important to me, but as many times I’ve done this I have never seen the grass die or brown spots and I’ve used a strong ratio on the lawn. Even 1 cup bleach per gallon supposedly does nothing to your lawn.
Pick up all feces in the yard. You will want to spray in sweeping strips being careful to concentrate the heaviest where your dog has been or goes frequently. This can be a huge task, but worth the peace of mind. Spray extra long in areas where the diarrhea or vomit has been present.
If you need to go indoors at any time, place towel soaked in the bleach ratio on the porch, and step on it multiple times.
You will need to clean your car tires and the areas that the car tires have been. Pull the car out of the driveway or have someone take it to get a wash. While they are away, use the hose attachment and spray the driveway with the bleach solution.
You may even need to steam clean the inside of the car depending on if you took your dog to the vet in it. At the minimum steam clean the foot mats or buy new ones.
Some people are allergic to bleach, other people would rather keep it out of the environment. Nixall Disinfectant works for Parvo and it is environmentally safe.
Now the hardest part. You will need to keep your dog isolated from your other dogs for 4-6 weeks. He obviously needs to go outside for his duties, but it cannot be with the other young dogs/puppies. You must pick up the excrement right away and have a bleach spray solution ready to spray the spot.
****Do not take your dog to any parks, on walks, or any recreational areas for 4-6 weeks or you risk infecting other dogs or puppies.****
This is the most important! We are thankful our puppy has lived, and want to spend time with him, and it feels like punishment to keep him locked inside and not let him do things he loves. But for the possibility that another person’s dog may become infected and may not make it because our dog has spread the virus, it just isn’t worth it.
The above is the only way I have found the really works in keeping your other dogs or puppies safe from a parvo infected environment. If used with the prevention methods I have provided on this site it is pretty much fail proof. If you have dogs over the age of 3 there is no need to worry about transfer of parvo to your other dogs.