Can Dogs Get Sick from Humans?
As a dog owner, it is completely normal for you to wonder whether your dog can get sick from you. Experts estimate that about 38 percent of households in the United States have one or more dogs, so the above question is common in homes with dogs, especially during the cold season. Like humans, dogs can contract several illnesses, but the most important question is if they can get sick from people.
The answer to this question is yes, dogs can get sick from people, but it does not happen very often. The chances of passing an illness to your dog are very rare, but you should still be aware of the different sicknesses you can pass to your dog and how to prevent them from spreading in your home.
This article covers everything you need to know about dogs getting sick from humans. We will also touch base on viruses that dogs can pass to humans as well. So, keep reading for more information.
Can Your Dog Catch a Cold or the Flu from You?
The major question that most dog owners ask is whether their dog can contract a cold or the flu from them – the flu is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. The good thing is that dogs cannot get the flu from humans. However, dogs have their version of this common infectious disease called dog flu or canine influenza.
Research conducted in 2014 and 2015 showed that dogs could be infected with human influenza viruses – specifically the 2009 H3N2 and H1N1 strains. Dogs can get infected with some human influenza viruses, but they will not become sick, which is why it is stated above that giving your dog your cold is nearly impossible.
There have been no reported cases of canine influenza in humans. Still, the cases in dogs have been on the rise in recent years, and the dog flu can cause many symptoms, including runny nose, cough, loss of appetite, fever, respiratory infection, and lethargy. If you notice these symptoms lasting more than two days, you should contact your veterinarian. They will prescribe medications to relieve your dog, and your furry friend will feel better in about seven to ten days.
The Diseases Your Dog Can Get from You
As stated above, it is very unlikely for your dog to contract an illness from you, but some cases are reported.
Bacterial Infections Your Dog Can Get from People
- Campylobacteriosis: The transmission of the campylobacter jejuni is fecal-oral and causes infection in humans and dogs. Some of the symptoms in dogs are loss of appetite and watery diarrhea.
- Tuberculosis: This is caused by the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis bacteria, and there are cases of humans transmitting this illness to dogs. It is a respiratory illness that causes symptoms of an active infection in humans, like shortness of breath and fever. The symptoms in dogs include weight loss and vomiting.
- Salmonellosis: You can pass the salmonella bacteria to your dog by touching your furry friend’s face or mouth if you have salmonellosis. The transmission of this bacteria is fecal-oral, leading to sickness in humans and dogs. Some symptoms of being infected are vomiting and fever.
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): Dogs can potentially contract MRSA from human beings with the bacteria on their skin, which usually causes infections of the urinary and respiratory tract and the skin. For humans, MRSA does not cause symptoms, but severe skin infections can happen if the MRSA bacteria enter through an opening in the skin.
Other Diseases that Dogs Can Get from Humans
- Mumps: It is very unlikely that your dog can contract mumps from you because of vaccination – the cases in the United States have declined by 99 percent – but it should still be discussed. Research has shown that the mumps virus can infect dogs due to the antibodies of the virus found in dogs, but they will not become sick.
- Ringworm: Ringworm is mainly spread from animals to people, but dogs can potentially get it from humans. This fungal infection infects the nails, skin, or hair and is spread when one comes in contact with the fungus. Dogs with ringworms could have scaly and bald patches on their tail, ears, or face.
Diseases That Humans Can Get from Dogs
Now that you know that your dog can contract some illnesses from you, you should also know that there are so many illnesses you can get from your dog. We have listed some of them below.
- Rabies is one of the diseases you can get from your dog, and you can contract this disease through a scratch or bite from an infected dog. This disease is extremely severe, and by the time symptoms appear, it may be too late for treatment. Because of this, you should ensure that your dog is properly vaccinated.
- MRSA: Just like dogs can get MRSA from humans; humans can also get MRSA from dogs. You can get infected through direct contact with a dog that has the bacteria. As stated above, it could cause severe skin infections if the bacteria goes through a break in the skin.
- Leptospirosis: This bacterial disease causes symptoms like digestive discomfort and high fever in humans and is spread through an infected dog’s urine.
- Brucellosis: It is very rare to contact brucellosis, but it is spread when you come in contact with an infected dog and causes a sickness similar to the flu in humans.
- Salmonellosis: Just like dogs can get salmonellosis from humans, humans can also get this bacterial disease from dogs. You can contract this disease when you come in contact with an infected dog’s feces or the dog itself, and it causes symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting.
- Tapeworm: When human beings have tapeworm, there are barely any symptoms to show for it, but this parasitic disease infects the digestive tract. It is spread through taking in infested fleas.
- Hookworm: Humans can get hookworm when their skin touches soil that has been contaminated with dog poop. Dog hookworms can cause a condition in humans called cutaneous larva migrans.
- Giardiasis: Humans can get giardiasis from an infected dog’s poop, and it causes symptoms like abdominal pain and diarrhea.
How to Prevent Illnesses from Spreading in Your Home
Visit Your Veterinarian Regularly
Take your dog for regular checkups to ensure that your dog does not have any illness. Going for regular checkups will help you detect health problems at an early stage.
Clean Up After Your Dog
Always pick up your dog’s poo and dispose of using sealed bags. Do not leave your dog’s feces lying around for too long.
When you and your dog are up to date with your vaccinations, you can rest assured that there are less illnesses you both can contract. Always communicate with your vet to know the vaccinations your dog needs.
Every time you handle your dog’s toys, poop, or anything related to them, be sure you wash your hands with warm water and soap afterward.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Sick
- Ensure your dog has plenty of water to drink, as water helps flush unwanted elements and toxins out of a dog’s body, just like humans.
- Ensure your dog’s diet contains all the necessary nutrients to keep them strong and healthy.
- It is never a bad idea for your dog to exercise once in a while – take your pup on frequent walks as this will help boost their immune system.
- When your dog is exposed to cold or wet areas, their immune function decreases, so be sure your pup is exposed to these environments as little as possible.
Now that you are aware of the different illnesses you and your dog can get from each other, it is essential that you apply all the necessary safety measures to keep you and your furry friend safe. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, so do not hesitate to follow the guidelines written above.
Even long after they’re gone, we never forget our beloved pets. They make our families whole and bring so much joy to our lives. Our veterinarians and staff in Auburndale, FL know that the human-animal bond is sacred. To protect that bond, we aim to provide the highest level of medicine and the kindest, most compassionate care we can. Our goal is to help you help your pet stay healthy and happy for as long as possible. With wellness and preventative care, medical care for illnesses and injuries, routine surgery, dentistry and more, you can rest assured that all your pet’s needs are being met.