Dog Walkers Should be Cautious of Canine Flu

The recent outbreak of canine flu in parts of New York have dog walkers flustered. Combining the multiple dog factor of walking services with the virulence of the canine flu risks a worsening of the problem. It’s rough for people who run dog walking services, who now have to make sure they’re not encouraging the spread of canine flu while still making sure that the dogs are cared for.

The virus is not transmittable to humans, but can still be spread to other dogs via contact with bodily substances that may get on human skin, clothing or footwear. Canine flu is not normally a life threatening illness in healthy dogs, but it could possibly be hazardous to puppies, elderly dogs and those with weak immune systems.

Symptoms of Canine Flu

Symptoms of canine flu come in one of three forms: Mild, severe and none. Mild symptoms usually consist of coughing, a green, viscous discharge from the nose, mild fever and fatigue. Severe symptoms include a high fever, as well as the threat of pneumonia and worsened cough. Some dogs may be infected, but show no outward symptoms at all.

Tips for handling the canine flu outbreak

1. Don’t let dogs share toys or food and water dishes unless they’re from the same household.

2. Clean up after the dogs. Excrement carrying the virus can be tracked into homes via paws and shoes.

3. You may wish to avoid taking dogs to places like pet stores with a “pets welcome” policy, dog parks and anyplace else there is likely to be a lot of other dogs running around freely.

4. Recommend the newly available vaccine to your clients.

5. Don’t allow dogs to drink from public water bodies such as ponds, fountain or puddles. Sick dogs may have been drinking there.

6. Finally, be selective about the dogs you walk. If one of your charges shows any obvious symptoms of canine flu, it’s best to have him or her stay home until they’re better.