Can I Catch This From My Dog?

Zoonotic Diseases

Earlier this week, I was talking to my friend who has two dogs of her own.

Her largest dog, whom she affectionately refers to as “the big orange dog” because he is a very large and very orange Rhodesian Ridgeback, was feeling a little under the weather.

Incidentally, my friend was also feeling under the weather which is what prompted her to ask me if certain things could be passed between humans and their dogs.

And so came the topic for today’s post.


Zoonotic Diseases


The term we are looking for is “zoonotic disease.”

A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be spread between animals and humans.

There are more than a handful of zoonotic diseases that can be passed between humans and their dogs, but there are far fewer than you might expect.

Plus, even if a disease is zoonotic, you will not necessarily contract it.

Whether or not you contract a zoonotic disease depends on a wide variety of factors including your health, your handling of your dog, and treatment of your dog’s illness.

But what are the zoonotic diseases that can be spread between humans and their dogs?


Anaplasma phagocytophilium (rickettsia)
Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria
Ciguatera Fish Poisoning
Colorado Tick Fever
Dermatophytosis (Ringworm)
Domoic Acid Poisoning (Amnesic Shellfish
Echinococcosis (Hydatid Disease)
Encephalitis (specify etiology)
Escherichia coli 0157:H7 Infection
Food borne disease
Francisella tularensis bacteria
Hantavirus Infections
Influenza (Including H1N1 and H5N1)
Lyme Disease
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis
Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning
Plague, Human or Animal
Q Fever
Rabies, Human or Animal
Rickettsia rickettsii (rickettsia)
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Salmonellosis (Other than Typhoid Fever)
Scombroid Fish Poisoning
Sore throat
Swimmer’s Itch (Schistosomal Dermatitis)
Toxocara canis (roundworm)
Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (e.g., Crimean-Congo, Ebola, Lassa and Marburg viruses)
Water-associated Disease
Yellow Fever


So how do you avoid getting one of these diseases from your dog or passing them to your dog?

  • Practice proper hygiene – this goes without saying, but ensure that you regularly wash your hands particularly when handling waste material, raw meat, or if you come into contact with bodily fluids of an infected pet.
  • Address any symptoms of illness that either you or your dog exhibit as soon as possible.
  • Educate yourself about an illness, find out if it is zoonotic and if so, how you can minimize your exposure or your pet’s exposure.
  • Follow instructions on treatment for any illness or disease to ensure that it is treated successfully.
  • Wash your dog’s bedding/clothing/toys regularly.
  • Wash your dog’s bowls after every use.
  • Maintain regular vaccinations and preventative medications (this includes rabies vaccinations and worming treatments.)
  • Regularly check your dog for parasites or signs of parasite activity.
  • Avoid any animal that looks diseased or disturbed in any way (a sign of potential rabies infection.)
  • ALWAYS pick up after your dog! If your dog is carrying a disease that can be contracted by humans or other animals, find out how you can sanitize the area where your dog has used the bathroom.
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