Whether you’re walking a friend’s or family member’s dog, employed as a dog walker, or starting or running your own dog walking business, there are disease and injury risks that should be addressed and measures that can be taken to prevent problems.
- Wash your hands frequently, such as:
- before eating, drinking, or smoking
- after handling the dog’s bedding, dishes, or toys
- after disposing of the dog’s excrement
- between caring for different dogs
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an ethanol-based hand sanitizer. Use soap and water if your hands are visibly soiled (e.g., dirt, feces, etc.); otherwise, the use of hand sanitizer products is appropriate.
- Don’t let dogs give you kisses on your face, especially not on or around the mouth, nose, or eyes. If you get a tongue lashing despite your efforts, wash your face.
- Don’t eat, drink, or smoke while you’re walking dogs.
- When you get home, change and wash your clothes, change your shoes, and wash your hands.
Reverse zoonotic diseases
Diseases passed from dog to dog
- Direct contact between dogs – this can include the simple act of touching noses or sniffing each other
- Contact with the feces (stool) or urine of infected dogs
- Sticks, toys, equipment and objects with which other dogs have interacted
- A person’s hands, clothes or shoes after they’ve had contact with an infected dog
- Always collect and safely dispose of the feces of the dogs you are walking using an impermeable bag or scooper to prevent any direct contact.
- Wash your hands frequently, and always after handling one dog before caring for the next. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water if they are visibly soiled (e.g., dirt, feces, etc.); otherwise, the use of ethanol-based hand sanitizers is appropriate.
- Avoid mixing or interacting with dogs of unknown or questionable vaccination history. This includes free-roaming or unfamiliar dogs you may encounter on walks.
- If you have clients who feed their dogs a raw meat diet, consider walking those dogs separately from dogs fed non-raw diets.
- If a dog is showing signs of illness, do not walk it without first notifying the owner. If you are instructed to walk the dog, do not walk it with other dogs and do not walk other dogs after handling the sick dog unless you have thoroughly washed your hands and changed your clothes.
- If your own dog is ill, do not walk it with client-owned dogs. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling your dog, and change your clothes and change or disinfect your shoes before handling or walking client-owned dogs. Or find an alternate person to walk client-owned dogs until your dog has a clean bill of health from your veterinarian.
- Don’t share equipment between dogs unless the equipment can be sanitized between uses.
- If a client’s dog is ill with a suspected or confirmed infectious disease, wash your hands thoroughly and change your clothes and shoes before you handle your own dog or other clients’ dogs.
- Make sure that dogs only eat and drink what they are supposed to.
- Don’t let dogs eat garbage or discarded food items.
- Don’t let dogs near puddles of liquid that are yellow-green, fluorescent yellow, or bright pink-red in color, because the liquid may contain antifreeze. Whether lapped from the puddle or licked from their feet, antifreeze has the same effect.Don’t let dogs drink from puddles, particularly those with stagnant water or located in roadways or gutters.
- Keep dogs away from rodent bait containers, loose pellets that may be on the ground, and rodents.
- Don’t let dogs chew on or eat plants that you haven’t verified are safe for them.
- Don’t let dogs drink from, wade in, or swim in bodies of water that have a green scum, look like pea soup, are reddish, or are otherwise abnormally discolored because any of these may indicate a harmful algal bloom.
- If you suspect a dog in your care has been exposed to a toxin, call the owner and a veterinarian immediately.
Laurelwood Animal Hospital,located near Jesuit High School on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway offers a full range of companion animal services, including surgery, nutrition and behavior counseling, parasite control and preventative medicine. The hospital also offers advanced imaging through an all-digital spiral CT scanner, a comprehensive dental program and laser treatment.
If you’re looking for quality, compassionate veterinary care in Beaverton, Oregon, come visit us at Laurelwood Animal Hospital.
Laurelwood Animal Hospital
9315 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
Beaverton, Oregon 97005
Phone: (971) 244-4230
Fax: (503) 292-6808
E-mail: [email protected]