When you feel ill, having your furry companion snuggle up with you can be a great comfort. Fortunately, you do not have to worry about passing germs to your dog.
Viruses and Bacteria
Viruses and bacteria generally evolve to live inside specific hosts. This means the rhinovirus causing your cold may attempt to infect your dog, because his immune system will make quick work of the intruder better than yours -- for that particular virus. The cold, most types of the flu, stomach viruses and even diseases like mononucleosis cannot make the jump from humans to canines. There are some diseases called zoonoses, however, that have the ability to transfer from one species to another. Rabies is a zoonotic illness, as it can infect people and animals with equal severity.
Your dog can't catch your cold, but that doesn't mean your dog is immune to catching a cold. Many of the virus- or bacteria-borne illnesses in humans have an equivalent form for canines, and your pup may come down with a runny nose and sneezing if he happens to spend time with another sick dog. Fortunately, these illnesses are usually minor and clear up without intervention. If your dog is sick for an extended period or develops a loud, honking cough, take him to the vet to rule out a serious illness.
Milton Kazmeyer has worked in the insurance, financial and manufacturing fields and also served as a federal contractor. He began his writing career in 2007 and now works full-time as a writer and transcriptionist. His primary fields of expertise include computers, astronomy, alternative energy sources and the environment.