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Would Volunteering At An Animal Shelter Be Possible?
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I plan to start volunteering at my local animal shelter soon but have some concerns before signing up. The volunteer position entails playing with, walking, and talking to the cats and dogs in order to get them socialized and ready for adoption. It doesn't list feeding as one of the responsibilities but my guess is that I would be somewhat involved in feeding. I'm pretty sure the food that the shelter uses contains gluten. My cat's food has gluten but it's a little different when it's just her and I can scoop it, put it in her bowl, close the container, and wash my hands immediately after. If I was feeding a large number of animals or even just playing with them and trying to avoid kisses, it seems like it would be much harder. Do you think it's a possibility that I could still volunteer?

I don't really want to talk to the shelter people about it because I feel weird volunteering my time and then bringing up the whole gluten thing and making it all about me and my issue. I could ask to wear gloves when feeding but I wouldn't want to wear them around the animals in case they spooked them. If it were you would you feel uncomfortable bringing up your dietary issues or even be worried about the dog and cat food at all?

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abby03, I can't think of a reason why you should not volunteer. Yes, you should wash your hands (or anything else little doggie and kitty mouths touch), especially before you eat. And I wouldn't let animals lick me on the face (especially near my mouth) no matter how cute or loving - in case you haven't noticed, their mouths touch quite a few other things that you may not want to come in contact with besides gluten!

Just don't eat the food! :)

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I plan to start volunteering at my local animal shelter soon but have some concerns before signing up. The volunteer position entails playing with, walking, and talking to the cats and dogs in order to get them socialized and ready for adoption. It doesn't list feeding as one of the responsibilities but my guess is that I would be somewhat involved in feeding. I'm pretty sure the food that the shelter uses contains gluten. My cat's food has gluten but it's a little different when it's just her and I can scoop it, put it in her bowl, close the container, and wash my hands immediately after. If I was feeding a large number of animals or even just playing with them and trying to avoid kisses, it seems like it would be much harder. Do you think it's a possibility that I could still volunteer?

I don't really want to talk to the shelter people about it because I feel weird volunteering my time and then bringing up the whole gluten thing and making it all about me and my issue. I could ask to wear gloves when feeding but I wouldn't want to wear them around the animals in case they spooked them. If it were you would you feel uncomfortable bringing up your dietary issues or even be worried about the dog and cat food at all?

You know, Abby, the advice already given is good. This should not be an issue, more like overkill on a Celiac's part. I have been gluten-free for almost 8 years now, have had dogs and kitties for my entire life and it never was an issue. I am a very sensitive Celiac also. Unless you eat the dog/cat food yourself, you should be fine. :P In any thing you do, you need to wash hands often to avoid bacteria or germs a lot worse than a gluten hit. You should feel comfortable telling others that work there that you have Celiac and you need to be careful handling the food, if it does contain gluten, but other than that, don't worry about it.

I commend you for doing this.....I think you will really enjoy working with the critters!

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I work as a vet tech and have never had a problem at work. I do try to keep little critters from licking my face, and wash my hands frequently and never touch my mouth with my hands without washing them first. My pets are not on gluten free food and no problems at home either. The only time I have been glutened by animal feed was when I inhaled dusty pelleted food that i was mixing up for my sheep so I wear a mask now when I am working with it..

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I have been thinking of volunteering at a shelter, too. I agree with the above posters. I have never liked animals that lick me. I don't offer my face for that. But if I got licked on the lips accidentally, I wouldn't worry.

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Oh one thing I would ask about is if they use "Swheat" brand cat litter as it is made from wheat and is very dusty.

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I volunteer at our local shelter :) If you're unsure, just wear disposable gloves when feeding. I clean kennels, do laundry, stuff Kongs, sort toys, help potential adopters etc and I've never had a problem. I do wash my hands about a million times during my 4 hour shift, but that is to prevent illness between animals. If you pet a cat/dog and don't wash your hands when you go to the next animal, you can potentially infect the next animal. In our volunteer training it was drilled into us to NEVER touch an animal unless you've washed/sanitized first...

So volunteer! Just wash your hands.... a lot!

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My son and I have volunteered at a shetler for a couple years now and not had any problems. He just washes his hands before we leave. He give treats to the dogs all the time, he's just careful. As for "kisses", you wouldn't want to do that with shelter dogs anyway...you just don't know their temperment enough to risk a facial bite. That is what I worry about more with my son than getting glutened from a kiss! I am regularly reminding him not to get face to face with the dogs, because he's so used to doing that with our dogs.

Good for you for volunteering!! We love our time at the shelter! Have fun!

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