Can Dogs Spread Germs to People?by Naomi Millburn
You love your pooch, that much is true. As squeaky clean and innocuous as your dog might look, however, he still has the ability to spread germs to human beings, whether you or to anyone else in your household. These germs sometimes can even lead to illness, so take note.
Dogs can sometimes make people sick by passing viruses, bacteria, parasites and the like. This can happen in a number of different ways. A pooch can scratch or bite a person, or a person can get exposed to the little guy's stool matter, skin flakes or saliva. Campylobacter is a specific example of a germ that young puppies can deliver to people. This germ appears in dogs' fecal matter. If a person for any reason gets exposure to it, it can lead to stomach issues such as diarrhea. A few examples of other conditions that dogs can spread to human beings are rabies, toxocariasis and salmonella. In short, dogs are fully capable of spreading germs to humans. "Zoonotic disease" is a term that describes an illness that a person can get from an animal.
Illnesses That Humans Can't Catch
Note that not all sicknesses prevalent in the canine world can be spread to humans. Heartworms and distemper are just two examples of health problems that are relatively typical in dogs. Fortunately, people cannot contract either of these conditions from their pooches.
Especially Vulnerable People
Some humans are a lot more vulnerable to the potential hazards of canine germs than others. Children who younger than 5 years of age are specifically vulnerable, as their immune systems are in the process of coming into fruition. This also applies to newborn babies. Other types of vulnerable people are include expectant mothers, cancer patients and those with HIV or AIDS.
Dogs can spread germs to you, but that doesn't mean that you can't be around the furry cuties. If you practice cautious hygiene, you should be good to go. Diligent hand washing is always a smart idea, whether after petting your pooch or cleaning up after his waste. Since dogs can spread germs through their saliva, it's also important to wash your hands if your dog just left a mountain of drool on them. Also make a point to get your dogs all of their necessary vaccinations.
- KidsHealth: Infections That Pets Carry
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Diseases from Dogs
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: How to Avoid the Diseases That Pets Can Spread to People
- Oregon Veterinary Medical Association: Zoonotic Diseases & Dogs
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Campylobacter Infection and Animals
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images