Have you wondered when your dog isn’t feeling top-notch, can I get sick from my dog?
There are some illnesses that you can catch from your dog, along with several things that might never bother your dog, but will cause problems for you. I’m going to take a look at what we can catch from our dog, how to prevent it from happening, and who is most at risk from getting sick from their dog.
Illnesses and Ailments Our Dog Can Give Us
Diseases you can contract from your dog are known as zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic are any diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans.
- Rabies – contracted by being bite by a rabid dog. It is also possible, but quite rare, that people may get rabies if infectious material from a rabid animal, such as saliva, gets directly into your eyes, nose, mouth or wound.
- Ringworm – is a fungal disease that you can get by having contact with the skin of an infected dog.
- Salmonellosis – caused by the salmonella bacteria, which is found in raw or under cooked meat. It can be transmitted to you from touching dog feces and not washing hands before touching your mouth or food.
- Leptospirosis – dogs become infected if their skin has a cut or scrape and they come into contact with infected urine, urine contaminated soil, water, food or bedding. It can be transmitted the same way to people.
- Campylobacter Infection – is a bacterial infection prevalent in puppies younger than six months old. Passed on through infected feces.
- Giardia – is a parasite. Dogs and people can become infected when they swallow the parasite. This can happen when drinking contaminated water, or grooming and people are infected through contaminated dog waste.
- Cryptosporidium Infection – this is a parasite. Humans and dogs can become infected when accidentally swallowing the parasite which is found in soil, food, and water.
- Roundworm – Heartworm medications will prevent this, worm eggs are excreted in dog feces, and after two weeks in the environment they become infectious to humans.
- Hookworms – larvae hatch from the eggs. Dogs may become infected when they inadvertently swallow hookworm larvae, often by grooming their feet. Humans can get by walking barefoot in infected areas.
- Scabies – this is a mite that is a highly contagious skin parasite. It can travel from dog to people.
A couple of other problems you could encounter that you might not of thought of.
- Lyme Disease – Although you can’t catch Lyme Disease from you dog, Dogs bring ticks into your home, and you could get bit by a deer tick and develop Lyme Disease. It is best to make sure you are treating your dog with some type of tick protection like Frontline or a Tick/Flea collar. Here is a review of a tick/flea collar that has worked very well for me.
- Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac – Although dogs don’t usually develop poison ivy, oak or sumac due to the thickness of their coats, they can carry oils from the plants on their hair. When you pet your furry friend, the oils transfer to your skin and cause the unmistakable itchy rash.
Using common sense can help prevent most of these ailments. Washing your hands, and avoiding direct contact with your dog’s urine or feces will take care of almost all of these. Here are a few other ideas to help keep your dog and you healthy.
- Make sure your dog’s illness is addressed . Don’t put off visits to the vet if your dog is showing signs of illness. If your dog is sick, wash your hands after handling them.
- Keep your dog clean – brushing regularly and baths when needed.
- De-worm your pup. Getting your dog on Heartworm Preventatives doesn’t only prevent Heartworm. It also prevents round worms and other parasites.
- Wash dog bedding often.
- Use Flea and Tick Preventatives regularly.
- Can I get a cold or flu from my dog? No, cold and flu viruses are species specific. The cold virus that affects humans is specific to humans. Dogs have a different strain of influenza virus that affect them.
- Can I get diarrhea from my dog? If the cause of your dog’s diarrhea is from salmonella, you can become infected if you have contact with the feces and don’t wash your hands before touching your mouth or touching food.
- Is dog saliva clean? No, though most organisms in your dog’s mouth are not harmful, cases of bacterial transmission to people have been reported, so it is not a good idea to let your dog lick your mouth, especially if you are immune-compromised.
Who is Most at Risk
The good news is, although it’s possible to catch a zoonotic disease from our dog, it is not likely. The risk does increase if you have a compromised immune system due to a preexisting disease or medical condition. Here is who is most at risk.
- Persons infected with HIV or suffering from AIDS
- Pregnant women
- Patients being treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Elderly people
- People with chronic diseases or congenital immune system deficiency
- People who have received organ/bone marrow transplants
You are far more likely to get sick from another person than from your dog, but you should still take precautions with your dog, especially if you have weakened immune system or are otherwise at a high risk.
Most of the problems you could potentially get from your dog are easily preventable. Wash your hands frequently, keep your dog clean, visit your veterinarian when needed, and use the preventable medicines like Frontline and Heartguard.
Don’t get rid of your dog if you are at a higher risk, lots of studies have proven that the benefits of having a pet are immeasurable. I can tell you from experience, I have had dogs for over 30 years, and I have never gotten sick from my dogs, and I do have a weakened immune system. It is a matter of keeping your dog healthy and clean and regular vet visits to keep all of you healthy.
So the answer to the question, “Can I get sick from my dog?” is maybe, but in most situations it is easily preventable with some common sense.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian. They are your best resource.
Please leave any questions or comments below. I am interested to know if any of you have experienced any of these ailments from your dog.