Even though we often call them man’s best friend, have you wondered before if you can get sick from your pet? I wondered this in the past with our dog Lulu so I decided to do some research into the topic as it pertains to pets including both cats and dogs.
There are many pet illnesses. And there are many human illnesses. How many are transmittable? Should you worry? How common or easy is it for the illness to transmit from pet to human? Today we will cover some well-known sicknesses that fall into this category.
Can You Get Sick
Can Your Pet Get You Sick?
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 and direct 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. During my research I was mainly looking at cats and dogs for this post.
Common Pet Diseases
Those diseases that can be transmitted between pets and humans 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.
Sick From Pet Dog or Cat
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.
Sick From Dog
Some disease can transmit from your pet. Most of these diseases are well-known, curable and not severe. There are also many sicknesses your pet can contract that will not pass to the owner. On the other hand humans can also get sick and not pass it to their pet.
It’s important to be aware of the above situations which are known ways disease can move from a dog or a cat to a person. The changes of these transmissions occurring are not great, but are possible and something to be aware of as a pet owner.
Do you have any questions about pets and illness?
*This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated and republished for accuracy and comprehensiveness.