Just as diseases can jump from person to person, they can also jump from species to species—which means you can possibly get a bug from your dog (or cat). However, there is some good news! Often times these diseases can be prevented entirely through vaccinations and proper sanitation.
It must be said that it is very rare for diseases to be spread between you and your dog, but it is important to be aware for the sake of your health and your dog’s health.
This is not a medical guide; if you have any questions, please ask your veterinarian and your physician.
Despite the name, this has nothing to do with worms. This is a fungal infection, often found in pools and gyms. These can also be found on your dog. To look for ringworm on your dog, look for a reddish ring with a possible darker edge. Keep an eye out for red, scaly, or itchy patches of skin, or for blisters. This condition is easily treatable with skin ointments.
Often associated with raw products, you can catch salmonella from your dog. Though your dog may not be symptomatic, they may still be contagious. As salmonella is an infection of the GI track, it is spread through feces. Small bits can get on the dog’s fur, which then can get spread to you. Spread of the disease can be easily prevented by regularly washing your hands after petting your dog.
Rabies is a disease affecting the central nervous system (brain and spine) and is extremely rare with domesticated animals due to the advent of the rabies vaccine. You will most likely never see it, but you will need to pay attention to this when coming across wild animals. Prevention is simple: keep up-to-date with your pet’s vaccines and avoid encountering wild animals.
Cat Scratch Fever
Though we don’t often talk about cats, this one is worth mentioning. This can come from cats scratching you, biting you, or licking an open wound. You’ll experience swelling around the wound as well as flu-like symptoms. To prevent disease spread, make sure to actively avoid being scratched by your cat or being bitten (cat claw covers are a great, humane way to prevent scratches from your cat claws).
You can catch Lyme disease from ticks that are hiding in your dog’s fur from being outdoors. If you get Lyme disease, you’ll see a bullseye-like sore around the tick bite area. If you see this, seek immediate medical treatment. To prevent this, avoid thick, grassy areas with your pet during the spring and summer, and when you come back home, check yourself and your dog for ticks. This can be easily done with a fine-tooth comb and a flashlight. If you do find a tick on your dog, take them to your local vet.
With these tips, you can help yourself and your pet from catching diseases!