Let’s consider some additional things when deciding whether or not to allow strangers to touch your dog.
Think about pet hair dynamics. That surface is considered soft & it’s now been shown that hard surfaces are the ones likelier to be contaminant vectors. So, overall, if pets were to be a main virus contaminant, that would’ve been wholly evident by now.
Because of what’s been seen in the past, what with the so-called ‘swine flu’, people are still watchful. The official recommendation is to limit animal petting with strangers. The thinking here is, we still don’t know of any possible long-term effects.
So the jury’s still out on what to do with the petting issue. It ultimately lies with the owner’s peace of mind. Since a higher stress level has been linked to lower immunity protection, then by all means don’t allow petting if only to lower anxiety.
One could also reason it out. Do a risk-benefit assessment. Knowing that so far as anyone knows, risk of dog contamination & becoming a vector are extremely low when interacting with others, then allow the petting.
Maybe have it done more for those that have a higher potential to suffer more during these isolating days. Older folks & children come to mind; allowing them to pet your pooch may bring at least a certain level of normalcy back to their lives.
As already mentioned, the litmus test of when or not to allow is accepting the offer only of those that meant to ask permission first. If they’re asking just like formality that doesn’t need to be answered as they go to touch the animal, then feel free to take discretionary measures.
It should be obvious by now that the virus isn’t going away anytime soon. We need to strike a balance between being careful while continuing to reach out to others. As people still take their chances going out on a daily basis, that should also give one perspective on animal-human interactions.
Knowing how & when to say ‘no’ is to be a teaching moment for these times. It’s designed to build healthy communication boundaries. So this pandemic can now be seen as the perfect opportunity to further develop this needed life skill.
Knowing not just when to ask, but also how to ask so as to show due respect for the stranger at your door.