8 Diseases You Can Spread to Your Dog

tired staffordshire terrier puppy under a blanket

Diseases and sicknesses that affect humans are usually not transmittable to dogs. Even for the diseases you can spread to your dog, making your dog sick is usually pretty rare. Normally, the stuff you do to prevent other people around you from catching your sickness, like washing your hands and reducing contact, is enough to keep your dog from catching it.

It’s also a good idea to keep the toilet covers down, so your dog is not tempted to drink water from it. Keeping in mind that passing diseases from humans to dogs is rare, these are a few of the diseases you can spread to your dog:

1. Flu

The flu you come down with has similar symptoms to dog flu. Although canine influenza and human influenza are completely different strains, it is possible for you to pass your flu symptoms to your dog.

It may not necessarily be a strain of the dog flu, but your pooch could start to experience flu symptoms like feeling achy, coughing, and sneezing should they catch something from you. If they start exhibiting flu-like symptoms, you’ll want to take your dog to the vet to make sure it’s not the dog flu.

2. Lung Cancer

This one is specific for smokers. Just as smoking and second-hand smoke increase the risk of lung cancer for you, they also can cause lung cancer in your dog.

Not only will your dog be more sensitive to pollutants in the air, like smoke, the pollutants may also be more damaging to their health. In this case, it’s not a case of a disease passing from humans to dogs, but of human actions causing a serious disease in dogs.

3. Tuberculosis

It’s relatively rare for a human to come down with Tuberculosis and it’s even rarer for it to be passed on to a dog. The transfer would be ridiculously difficult to prove, but it is possible. If a human has TB and a dog is close to their face when they cough, they could transmit TB to the dog.

Other ways that infection could be transferred are if a dog licks a hand that has just been coughed in or they have licked an area with a trace of infected mucus on it. Again, although an infection from a human to a dog is possible, it is also extremely rare.

4. Ringworm

Ringworm is a common fungal infection that appears as a red circular rash that is raised and is also sometimes flaky and itchy. It is spread by direct contact with the infected skin and scratching can cause it to spread on the infected person as well. If you are infected in an area that is usually exposed, like an arm, it can be transmitted to your dog if they happen to rub against the infected area.

5. Salmonella

Salmonella is a bacterial infection. Although it is commonly understood as coming from consuming undercooked, raw, or contaminated meat and dairy, it can come from other sources too. For example, fruits and veggies that had contaminated fertilizer used on them can contain salmonella and it can be transmitted to you if those foods were not thoroughly washed before consuming.

The symptoms are similar for both humans and dogs. Symptoms include low energy, vomiting, diarrhea, and also a fever at times. Infection from human to dog can occur from a dog licking hands that weren’t impeccably washed or from drinking toilet water.

6. Staph

A staph infection or MRSA is resistant to antibiotics. It is not common for it to be transmitted to dogs, but it is possible. If your dog licks one of your infected wounds and they happen to have a wound that they lick after licking you, they can end up contracting MRSA from the interaction. Even though transmittance is not common, it’s still a good idea to keep some distance from your dog if you have a staph infection and avoid letting them lick you.

7. Giardia

Giardia is an intestinal parasite that is most commonly contracted by drinking contaminated water, like untreated or improperly treated water from a lake or a stream. The main symptoms include an upset stomach and diarrhea.

If your dog has a bad habit of drinking out of the toilet, it’s important to keep them from doing it because they can infect themselves with giardia that way. Cross-Infection could also happen if a dog licks an unwashed or improperly washed hand.

8. Mumps

Vaccination against mumps has caused cases of it to drop significantly in the United States. However, if you or your children are not or cannot be vaccinated against it, you can pass it on to your dog. It’s a virus that is spread through infected saliva, so your dog is susceptible.

There is no treatment for the mumps virus itself in dogs, just for the symptoms. A dog that has become infected with mumps can experience discomfort in general, swelling of the salivary glands, and sometimes a fever as well.

Although it’s rare for human infections to spread to dogs, the fact that it can sometimes happen is reason enough to be careful. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to help reduce the chance of it happening even further.

If you, unfortunately, find yourself suffering from any of these infections, you can keep them from spreading to your dog by regularly and thoroughly washing your hands, keeping your distance and stopping your dog from licking you, and putting the toilet seat down so they can’t drink from the bowl.