Can You Get Sick From Your Dog? 6 Illnesses Pets Can Give Their Humans

When you look at your pet, you see a cute and cuddly creature that could never do you any harm. But pets are capable of doing harm, sometimes inadvertently in the way of spreading illness. 

So, if you’re wondering, “can you get sick from your dog?”, rest assured, the answer is definitely yes. Curious as to the types of illnesses that dogs can spread and how to care for your sick dog. Here are 6 of the most prominent. 

1. Salmonella Poisoning

One illness that can be spread by pets is salmonella poisoning. Salmonella is a dangerous bacteria that spreads through feces. Should it find its way into your mouth (say, because you didn’t wash your hands after handling your pets’ poop), you could find yourself getting very sick. 

Some of the effects of salmonella poisoning include fevers, chills, blood clots, vomiting, and bloody stool. In rare cases (around 400 American cases every year), salmonella causes death. 

Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to avoid getting salmonella from your pets. It generally takes 4 to 6 weeks to form on pet feces, meaning that, if you dispose of your pets’ feces in a timely manner, you’ll never have to worry about coming into contact with it. 

Plus, if you wash your hands directly after handling the feces, you should eliminate any existing bacteria altogether. 

2. Toxoplasmosis

Similar to salmonella poisoning is toxoplasmosis, an infection that is transmitted through food as well as through cat feces. Derived from the parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, it remains on the feces of Toxoplasma-infected cats for up to 3 weeks. 

This condition is most concerning when it affects pregnant women, as it can lead to stillbirth, miscarriage, and baby brain development issues. 

How do you avoid toxoplasmosis? By getting rid of your cat’s poop as soon as possible. Failure to do so could result in your cat coming into contact with it, which could, in turn, result in your cat dragging it throughout your home. 

Oh, and wash your hands as soon as you’ve finished disposing of the poop. This will assist in killing the bacteria, reducing your risk of contracting the illness. 

3. Cat Scratch Fever

Another disease that can be transmitted by pets is cat scratch fever, a bacterial infection that is, in fact, carried by both cats and dogs. It’s caused specifically by a strain of bacteria called Bartonella. 

Generally speaking, this bacteria is spread through feces. The pet will step in his or her feces, then, at a later point, scratch a human being. The bacteria on the feces will enter the open wound, leading to the condition. 

There are a number of symptoms involved with cat scratch fever, including chills, fever, and, most notably, swollen lymph nodes. In most cases, these symptoms will go away on their own within a few weeks. 

Note, however, that more serious cases have been reported. In these cases, the affected suffered a range of different symptoms, including but not limited to pneumonia, spleen enlargement, and drastic weight loss. 

4. Rabies

You’ve probably heard this one before: rabies. Often transmitted to pets by wild animals like raccoons and rats (through biting), this infectious disease results in a number of symptoms, including confusion, paranoia, paralysis, aggression, and much more. Note, every case of rabies is different, with the affected presenting different symptoms. 

Now, rabies isn’t anywhere near as common as it used to be. Why? Because most cats and dogs are vaccinated for it early on in their lives. 

Make note, however, that there are still rabid domestic animals out there. And if you don’t get your new pets vaccinated, they could end up getting rabies as well.

In any case, keep an eye out for raccoons and other types of rodents, specifically those that are acting out of character. Even if these animals aren’t spreading rabies, they could still spread a number of other diseases. 

5. Scabies

Scabies is caused by parasites that burrow down into the fur of dogs and other such animals, causing them a range of unpleasant symptoms. These symptoms include hair loss, rashes, scabs, and the like. 

Unfortunately, this condition is not limited to furry animals alone. In some circumstances, humans can get it as well, either by coming into contact with it themselves or by coming into contact with animals that already have it. 

It’s often spread on clothing and bedsheets. So, if you were to, say, co-sleep with your dog, there’s a good chance that he or she could end up spreading the condition to you. 

Fortunately, this is fairly easy to treat (and not particularly dangerous either). However, it requires prescription medication. So, that will be a trip to the vet for your dog and a trip to the doctor for you. 

6. Coronavirus? 

Coronavirus is obviously a big fear right now. And you might be wondering: are your pets at risk?

Thus far, there is some evidence to show that pets can contract coronavirus; however, the rate of contraction seems low and the death rate might be non-existent. Ideally, you won’t have your pets around anyone with known coronavirus. That said, they don’t need to take the same precautions that humans do. 

Wondering if pets can transmit the virus? Though there’s still much research to be done, the evidence thus far suggests that they can’t. 

Can You Get Sick from Your Dog? You Betcha!

And there it is, an answer to the question of, “can you get sick from your dog?”. As you can see, there are a number of pet-borne illnesses to be cautious of. This doesn’t mean you need to avoid your furry friends, it just means that you need to be aware of their physical state as much as possible and take precautions when needed. 

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