What’s cleaner than the soles of your shoes? A recent study suggests that the answer is your dog’s paws.
Researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands took samples from the paws of 50 assistance dogs and the shoe soles of their handlers. They did the same for an equal number of pet dogs and their people, in each case examining the samples for poop bacteria (Enterobacteriaceae), which are common outdoors, and for an important diarrheal bacteria (Clostridium difficile).
“The dogs’ paws turned out to be cleaner than the soles of the shoes,” says master’s student Jasmijn Vos. They concluded that paw hygiene was no reason to ban assistance dogs from hospitals.
There’s more – including a guide to giving pet medications – in Pet Connection, the weekly nationally syndicated pet feature I co-write with Kim Campbell Thornton and my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker.