Therapy dogs are friendly and can comfort their owners and others in need. Therapy dogs are more than just loyal companions; they can save daily lives. Unfortunately, therapy dogs regularly visit hospital patients are more susceptible to infection. Some infections that they carry are harmful to patients.
Some infections can be dangerous for some people, especially those whose immune systems are already weak. For example, if you work with therapy dogs or live near one, you may be worried that they will pass on bacteria to patients. However, a new study showed that taking just a few minutes to clean the dogs between appointments dramatically reduces the risk that patients will contract infections. But a new study shows that following some simple protocol for cleaning therapy dogs–doing a “dog wash” during their visit–dramatically reduces the risk of spreading infections.
Therapy Dogs Need a Regular ‘Dog Wash’?
This study used four therapy dogs to discuss how the transmission of methicillin-resistant staphylococci (MRSA) can be prevented. Badger, Pippi, and Winnie regularly visited young people undergoing cancer treatment but did not have an MRSA infection.
It was found that patients who interacted with therapy dogs who went through standard cleaning procedures (like bathing before coming to the hospital) were six times more likely to become MRSA carriers. But the risk was reduced dramatically when the therapy dogs were given special treatment–a dog wash protocol.
After adopting a new cleaning protocol, therapy dogs were bathed in soap that contained antibacterial agents before they arrived at the hospital. During their visits, their handlers washed their hands with antibacterial wipes every few minutes. After bathing the therapy dogs and going into their visits, they were wiped down with antibacterial wipes every few minutes. When dogs are visiting patients, doing these simple steps to wash the dogs thoroughly could have a significant impact on preventing them from becoming MRSA carriers. In addition, it was found that patients who interacted with the therapy dogs after their visit were no more likely to become MRSA carriers than those who never interacted with the therapy dogs.
Dr. Kathryn Dalton said regularly bathing therapy dogs with antibacterial shampoo will help prevent infection from spreading. In addition, when therapy dogs are visiting patients, it is essential to use antibacterial wipes every 5 to 10 minutes to disinfect the room and prevent infection from spreading. Wipes contain a disinfectant called chlorohexidine, also used to sterilize equipment.
Dogs need to be cleaned regularly to ensure they don’t become a vector for the transmission of germs. It’s as simple as washing your hands after touching other people’s dogs or applying soap to their skin. It’s a good idea to wash your dogs and ensure they are clean; it also keeps them safe in a vulnerable population.
Everyone, from patients to handlers, must ensure they are regularly disinfected. Regular disinfection is crucial to prevent infections from spreading through a hospital.
Therapy dogs can become carriers of infections.
Dogs that look like they are not healthy should be avoided as avoiding them is ineffective. A therapy dog can carry germs and bacteria without being sick or even looking sick. When patients are ill, it’s better to skip visiting a therapy dog to avoid infection.
Changes in routine and how therapy dogs interact with patients can help prevent infections from spreading. For example, use allergy deterrents on hospital beds and put a sheet on every bed. Avoid shaking your dog’s paws or giving them a high-five. Paws constantly contact the dirt and germs that often collect there. Take extra precautions to avoid potentially picking up the germs the dogs may have picked up while in your hospital bed.
Ways to protect therapy animals
Therapy animals can provide invaluable support and companionship to people in need, but they must be protected from harm. Here are some ways to protect therapy animals:
- Keep them up to date on vaccinations and health check-ups.
- Keep them well-groomed and free of fleas and ticks.
- Keep them away from other animals that may be sick or have diseases.
- Avoid taking them to crowded places where they may be overwhelmed or stressed.
- Be aware of their body language and watch for signs of fatigue or stress.
Therapy Dogs Can Save Your Life.
Everyone must do their part to help prevent infections because therapy dogs are valuable. As many as 50,000 therapy dogs are used in the U.S. to provide comfort and security for hospital patients.
Sometimes it’s just an opportunity to interact with the dog and have a conversation with him, and that’s valuable. Suzanne Thompson is the coordinator of the animal-assisted therapy program at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital.
Do not neglect the health of your therapy dog. MRSA can kill therapy dogs. However, putting coconut oil in therapy dogs’ food can help stop and control the growth of certain bacteria.
All dogs who weigh up to 10 pounds can get a little bit of coconut oil every day. Dogs weighing more than 25 pounds should bring a teaspoon of coconut oil daily. Give one and a half teaspoons to dogs who weigh 50 pounds or more, and give another one or two teaspoons to those who weigh more than 100 pounds. Some dogs need time to adjust to a new diet before becoming comfortable. Start by adding small amounts of coconut oil to your food. Gradually increase that amount until you reach the desired level. Talk to your vet about taking care of your therapy pet safely.
How to disinfect your dog after a walk?
There are a few ways to disinfect your dog after a walk. One way is to use a pet-safe disinfectant like diluted bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Another way is to use a mixture of water and vinegar. First, be sure to get your dog’s fur and coat thoroughly, then apply the disinfectant and let it sit for 10 minutes. Finally, rinse off the disinfectant and dry your dog off with a towel.
How to disinfect dog fur?
There are a few ways to disinfect dog fur. One way is to use a diluted bleach solution. Another way is to use a pet-safe disinfectant.
Can humans get bacterial infections from dogs?
Yes, humans can get bacterial infections from dogs. Dogs can carry a variety of bacteria, including E. coli, Campylobacter, and Salmonella, which can cause severe conditions in people. Therefore, washing your hands thoroughly after touching your dog and avoiding contact with their saliva, feces, or urine is essential. See a doctor immediately if you think a dog may have infected you.
What diseases can humans get from dogs?
There are a few diseases that humans can get from dogs. The most common is rabies, which is a deadly virus. Other conditions include canine brucellosis, which can cause fever, joint pain, and other symptoms; and toxocariasis, an infection caused by a parasitic roundworm that can affect the eyes, lungs, brain, or other organs.
Should you wash your hands after petting a dog?
Yes, you should always wash your hands after petting a dog, especially if the dog is not yours. Dog saliva can contain many bacteria, so cleaning your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with it is essential.