Can Dogs Harbor Strep?

Some dogs carry Streptococcus pyogenes.
Image Source/Photodisc/Getty Images

Don't think that you can't catch any infections from your pet just because he walks on four legs instead of two. Some conditions are zoonotic, which means that they can spread between humans and other species. Streptococcal infection, which leads to strep throat, is just one of them.

Dogs as Strep Carriers

Dogs can be carriers of streptococcal bacteria, which is the cause behind strep throat in human beings. They can house the bacteria in their throats. Because of this, canines are indeed capable of passing the infections on to the people closest to them. If all of the people in your home keep getting strep throat over and over, it might be time to investigate the situation with your pet via a throat culture at the veterinarian's clinic. If it turns out that your dog actually is harboring strep, your veterinarian might recommend antibiotic management for him.

Lack of Symptoms

Don't assume that your pooch doesn't carry strep just because he's showing absolutely no hint of it. While strep throat in humans often means issues swallowing food, exhaustion, pesky aching throats and fever galore, that often isn't the case in the canine realm. It isn't unheard of dogs for to harbor the bacteria without displaying any visible symptoms of it, according to author Joan Hustace Walker of "Saint Bernards." Dogs sometimes do exhibit indications of strep, however, such as postnasal drip. When dogs have strep, they occasionally experience sore throats, too, although not intense ones.

Slim Chances

Although it's possible for your dog to give you strep, the chances are remote. Furthermore, canine germs in general usually don't pass on to people. If you're feeling under the weather, your poor innocent pooch should probably be the last individual you blame. The odds of you giving your pet strep are actually higher than the other way around, according to the American Animal Hospital Association's website.

Minimize Transmission Opportunities

If you're concerned about the zoonotic nature of strep, do all you can to stop transmission beforehand. This is especially important if you have young children in your home. As tough as it might be, refrain from kissing your pets on their mouths, for example. Avoid participating in direct mouth-to-mouth food switches with your dogs, as well. Also carefully monitor children to make sure they don't do any of these things. As soon as you suspect that anyone in your home is carrying strep, get medical attention for him, regardless of species.