3 Illnesses You Could Catch From Your Dog

Posted on: 25 October 2017

Most people have caught an infectious illness from a family member in their lifetime, but many are unaware that furry family members can make you sick too. There are many zoonotic diseases (illnesses that can transfer from animals to people) that your dog could contract, and if you don't treat them quickly, you and your non-furry family could end up catching them too. Here are 3 health issues to look out for.


Contrary to popular believe, ringworm isn't a worm--or any kind of parasite at all. It's actually a fungal infection that causes the ring-shaped marks on the skin. While the marks may not be visible on your dog, you'll often notice reddening and dryness or scaliness if ringworm is present, alongside itching and hair loss. Your dog's skin may also look inflamed or have oozing lesions. Ringworm is unpleasant for dogs, but you could end up feeling the uncomfortable effects yourself if you don't get the infection treated when you see it. 


While ringworm is not parasitic in nature, many parasites can be transferred from dogs to humans. Some of the most common parasites are roundworms, hookworms, and giardia. These parasites usually enter a dog's system when they drink contaminated water, eat contaminated food, or come into contact with infected urine or fecal matter. The parasites transfer from dogs to humans in the same way; stroking your dog and then eating without washing your hands is all it takes. Different parasites have different symptoms; common signs you may notice in both pets and humans include itchy skin, vomiting and nausea, diarrhoea, or flu-like symptoms.

Bacterial Diseases

Like fungi and parasites, some bacteria can also be transferred between dogs and humans. Two of the more well-known zoonotic bacterial diseases are MRSA and  leptospirosis. MRSA usually gets into a dog's system when they come into contact with a person who has the disease, but leptospirosis can be contracted when your pup comes into contact with contaminated, stagnant water. The latter is especially likely for those who live in Australia's tropical, wet regions where flooding and muddiness is common on dog walking trails. Signs of bacterial infections include fever, vomiting and appetite loss, flu or cold symptoms, and skin rashes or irritation. Once your dog has the bacterial infection, you could get it by coming into contact with their bodily secretions.

If your dog is not himself lately and appears to be ill, book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. Catching these problems early reduces the risk of them transferring to you and your family. A vet can diagnose and treat these problems and provide advice on possible quarantining procedures.