January is underway and I have definitely read more “I’ve been sick” posts than posts about New Year’s Goals. Cold season is in full swing. This got me to thinking… can you get sick from your pet? I know Lulu wouldn’t mean it, but if she became ill, could I catch her cold? I did a little research to find out. The quick answer is…
Yes, you can get sick from your pet.
Now here’s the longer answer. The good news is a lot of diseases are not communicable between humans and pets (mainly looking at cats and dogs for this post). But those that can be are called zoonotic diseases, according to a report by CBS News. Common examples include:
Rabies: Can be spread through contact or a bit. This is why it’s so important for your pet to receive an annual rabies vaccine. Rabies is deadly for pets.
Bartonellosis: Also known as “cat scratch disease” this one is passed between felines to people usually through cat bites and scratches. Solutions include controlling fleas and thoroughly washing any skin broken by the animal. Also, tell kitty to play more friendly next time.
Ringworm / Roundworm / Hookworm: These just sound awful to begin with. These skin diseases are carried on the coats of cats and dogs. Cleanliness is key in prevention. Be sure to bathe Fido, and even Fluffy, regularly.
Lyme Disease: This is often passed by ticks. Again, flea and tick treatments are important for your pets in controlling this disease and others.
Diseases Passed Through Fecal Matter: There are quite a few. Again, keeping pets clean is important along with the spaces they use to defecate. For dog owners, clean up your yard and dog paws regularly when they come inside. For kitty this means keeping the litter box in tip top shape. Children especially should be encouraged to wash their hands after playing with pets.
There are other diseases transmittable from pet to human, but these are some of the main players I found through my research. Fortunately there wasn’t much evidence of a dog getting a cold and coughing on a human and transmitting it.
Additional tips for keeping your pet, home and yourself safe include keeping your pet’s space clean such as bedding and toys. These can be washed regularly in hot water to disinfect.
Keeping pets away from raw or spoiled foods that can cause certain diseases such as salmonella poisoning is also important, and always take your pet to the veterinarian on a regular basis (annual check up at least) to ensure they are in good health and you don’t get sick from your pet.