I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason. For example, there are many proven benefits for having dogs in office-based workplaces. These include:
- stress relief for employees
- a dog parent is more likely to be more productive and work longer hours if they are able to have their dog at work with them
- staff retention – a dog-friendly workplace is one of the best staff benefits you can get if you’re a dog parent – why would you leave?
- happy staff are more efficient and engaged with their workplace; dogs at work make for happy staff!
Yet, in the face of this growing body of evidence, many workplaces are still not dog-friendly.
The solution: a pandemic requiring people to work from home for an extended period of time.
For office-based jobs, how many of those staff will now ask to work from home a lot more – even when the pandemic has passed?
Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand
The answer is ‘yes’ but the risk and mode of transmission is poorly understood.
Researchers at Oregon State University and Iowa State University are studying reverse zoonosis. This is where disease goes from human to animal (rather than animal to human). There are documented cases of H1N1 being transmitted to 13 cats and 1 dog in the 2011-2012 period.
The research team is looking for more cases of human to animal transmission so they can better understand the risks to public health. “It’s reasonable to assume there are many more cases of this than we know about, and we want to learn more,” researcher Christiane Loehr said. “Any time you have infection of a virus into a new species, it’s a concern, a black box of uncertainty. We don’t know for sure what the implications might be, but we do think this deserves more attention.”
Any new movement of a virus from one species to another is a concern because viruses mutate and they can mutate into more virulent or easily transmittable forms.
If you think you have the flu, it’s probably a good idea to respect good hygiene practices with everyone in the household and that means keeping your distance from your dog as well. And if someone in your household has been unwell with influenza and your dog is experiencing respiratory symptoms, a visit to your vet is recommended.
Source: Oregon State University press release