Is it Possible to Get Sick From a Dog?

by Betty Lewis
    It's better to pet Buddy than to kiss him.

    It's better to pet Buddy than to kiss him.

    Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    If Buddy's sneezing or acting lethargic, don't worry about catching his cold. You won't pick up the flu from him, but there are diseases you can catch from your canine pal. Zoonotic illnesses are diseases humans can catch from animals, including dogs. Good hygiene reduces the risk of catching something from your pup.

    From Buddy to You

    Though it's possible to get sick from your pup, it's fairly uncommon. As Buddy goes about his daily business, he may bring you in contact with a variety of germs, some more common than others. Dog poop is a common carrier of zoonotic illness, and though you won't purposely allow yourself to come into direct contact with potentially infectious germs, it does happen. Sometimes it's as simple as stepping barefoot in some dog poo infected with parasites. You may pet Buddy after he's rolled around in something he shouldn't have and forget to wash your hands before spreading the germs. Zoonotic diseases dogs can transmit to people include rabies, hookworm, roundworm and tapeworm. You can minimize the risk of catching something from Buddy by washing your hands after you pet him, talking to your vet about good flea, tick and parasite control, and making sure you clean up after Buddy when he poops.

    Photo Credits

    • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Betty Lewis is a writer and editor specializing in pet care, animals, careers and emergency management. She previously ran an animal shelter, where she also served as a kennel attendant and dog trainer. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism, an M.B.A. and a master's degree in professional studies.

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