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Diseases Humans May Get From Dogs

Updated on January 27, 2009

Can your dog make you sick?

Owners share many precious moments with their dogs. From walks in the park, to cozy evenings by the fireplace, these precious moments surely strengthen the dog and human bond. However, in some cases, dogs and humans share much more than precious memories, and owners may get more from their dogs than what they initially wished. Technically known as "zoonoses" dogs may transmit to humans various conditions and diseases that may cause owners to think twice before sharing that ice cream with their canine friend.


Should your dog present various areas of hairless round patches, you should suspect a case of ringworm. Ringworm is a skin disorder caused by a fungus which can be transmitted from dogs to humans. Humans may prevent this condition by practicing good hygiene measures such as thorough hand washing after petting a dog possibly affected by ringworm. Ringworm is treated in humans by using specific anti-fungal creams while dogs must undergo lime dips or a course of medication.


These are parasites resembling spaghetti often found in the digestive system of dogs. When a dog has a bowel movement several eggs may be deposited in the soil causing an egg infested area to develop. Children are particularly vulnerable since they often play in the dirt and then may bring their fingers to the mouth ingesting the eggs. The eggs then develop into larvae and because these larvae where not really meant to be in humans, they tend to migrate (larvae migrans) often establishing themselves in the eye causing blindness. All dogs should be properly dewormed and given de-wormers on a regular basis.


Puppies may often have this bacterial disease and typically develop diarrhea. Humans get the disease upon getting in contact with the dog's stool or with the dog in general. Hand washing after such exposure is very important. A dog may have licked its anal area or may have ingested its own stools and may contaminate humans thereafter upon licking them. Affected owners will develop bloody diarrhea,fever, nausea and vomiting.


The affected dog will itch and develop scabs throughout the body. The culprit is a mite that burrows itself in the skin causing persistent itching, the presence of scabs and hair loss. Fortunately, when humans are affected by Scabies the itchiness will mainly last for a few weeks going away on its own because humans are not their main host. However, continuous exposure to dogs affected by Scabies may cause continuous skin rashes, as more and more mites are transferred to humans.

-Lyme disease

Dog really are unable to transmit Lyme disease to humans, however ticks are often found on dogs and since ticks are vectors of Lyme disease, owners can ultimately get the disease if bit by an infected tick. For this reason, owners should be careful not to allow their dogs from getting ticks in the first place. This may be accomplished by using special topical products that are available by prescription.


Because Rabies is such a serious condition, it is now mandated by law in most States. In order to contract rabies the dog must be bit by a rabid animal and then the owner must be bit by the dog or the dog's saliva must somehow get in contact with an open wound. The disease is potentially fatal and owners of dogs bitten by wild life that are not vaccinated should report such instances promptly so the dog can be quarantined to rule out a rabies outbreak.

Of course there are many other diseases that dogs may transmit to humans. However, surprisingly the common cold is not one of them. In any case, just because there are various zoonoses doesn't mean that you cannot enjoy your pet. Simply use good hygienic measures by practising common sense. You will still be able the share the good things of life while leaving the nasty ones behind..

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to replace professional veterinarian advice and nor as a diagnostic tool. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly.


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      Dogone 3 years ago

      Can a human catch anything from non immunized stray dogs and puppies fouling their garden or swimming or drinking in their swimming pool? I have just been informed that these homeless non-inoculated dogs who have been on my property daily for 3 months -have Distemper and look very ill and skinny - Am I in danger of catching anything or my kitten?

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      karigal 5 years ago

      Can humans and dogs get a yeast infection from the same source?

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      Well if you pet a dog with ringworm you can get it too for instance.

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      Des 5 years ago

      What disease can humans get from dog hairs?

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      Steve 5 years ago

      Amber, more than likely you are blowing the situation way out of proportion. Children, first of all, are prone to become sick for a variety of reasons. Secondly, children have traditionally been physically close to dogs and all of their goings on for decades. The fact that a health notice has not been issued should be enough to disuade you from any paranoia you might have. I know that it might be gross to some to have dogs behave that way around children, but I assure toddlers have their fair share of disgusting things to attribute sickness to.

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      amber 5 years ago

      I have this one question? I have a friens and she has a little girl and her and her child stay in their bedroom all the time with their two dog. this room stinks all the time and the poop and pea in the floors and in the bed THE CHILDS BED!! I along with several people have cleaned this room and as always it does not stay clean.. i am worried about this child's health conditions.. her little 2 year old girl was in the hospital for being sick. i thought it could have been the dogs urinating in the room that caused this.. i hope i am wrong but can someone tell me what dogs can do to humans or where can i go to check on this?

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      Yosh 6 years ago

      Tally Dog Lady, Sha and other tonto perras are disgusting! That's why I would never talk to a female in love with animals! This is a real perra Tally Ho!

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      mary ann 6 years ago

      thank you for the good article, and thank you for posting this.. ^_^

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      SHA 6 years ago



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      Tally Dog Lady 6 years ago


      The sores on your mouth are probably NOT related to your french kiss with a husky. Dogs are not able to transmit a herpes virus from canine to human. My suggestion is that you keep a log of other places your tongue has been? Possibly a dog of another kind?

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      chrisy 7 years ago

      I was in a dog store recently and bent down to see this husky, when I did the dog licked my mouth[not uncommon. 3 days later I developed sores in my mouth and on my tongue went to the doctor she said it was bacterial and gave me this magic mouthwash. I didn't use the mouthwash and the mouth lesions went away but now i have scars on my tongue where the lesions were. Does anyone know what this could have been. I slightly felt sick while having this but just slightly. tx

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      Debra Allen 8 years ago from West By God

      Thank you for this article! My daughter allows her cogs to lick her in the mouth! I think it is dangerous and gross and so do others of her family, but she will not listen.

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 8 years ago from USA

      Both dogs and humans can get herpes virus but in both cases the disease is a different one. In other words, the family is the same but in the dog or in the human they are specially adapted to one type of host.

      Here is some literature from the ASPCA

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      BJ 8 years ago

      Can a dog have herpes? if so can he give it to humans?