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Can You Catch Illnesses From Your Pet, and Vice Versa?

You may think that since people and pets are so different that they shouldn’t be able to catch diseases from each other. Getting rabies from an animal makes sense, as that comes from being bitten. But getting sick because your dog sneezed on you? That can actually happen! Read on to learn about how you can Catch Illnesses From your Pet!

Can You Catch Illnesses From Your Pet, and Vice Versa

Can You Catch Illnesses From Your Pet, and Vice Versa?

How Illnesses Spread

Illnesses spread between you and your pet the same way they tend to spread between you and other people. They come from the germs in a cough or sneeze being inhaled by you or your pet. Or you (or your pet) can get sick from touching infected bodily fluids (with rabies, it’s saliva that spreads the disease). Some diseases also come from skin contact, which is why you should wash your hands after touching pets, especially if they’re sick. And yet other diseases can come from fleas on your pet.

How to Prevent Sharing Illnesses

If you don’t want to catch illnesses from your pet or give them your own sicknesses, then you need to take preventative action. If your pet is sick, be extra careful to wash your hands after interacting with them. And definitely don’t give them a kiss on the nose until they’re better! You may also want to try to avoid being directly in front of your pet if s/he has a cold, as dogs and cats have no qualms about sneezing right in your face! Aside from that, the best thing you can do is keep your pet up to date on their vaccinations and give them their flea, tick, and parasite prevention medications. Also ensure that they only drink clean water (giardia can come from drinking lake water) and only eat fresh food (double-check those expiration dates and watch for recalls!). If you’re ever bitten or scratched by a pet, especially one that’s not your own, watch out for any fevers, infections, or general illness symptoms, and see a doctor if they appear.

If you’re sick, you can reduce the chance of your pet getting your illness by reducing your contact with them. Even though it may make you feel better, don’t cover your dog with kisses, and don’t let your cat lounge all around your face as you lay in bed. And definitely try to prevent them licking your face or any skin infections.

Illnesses That Are Transferable

Even with the best intentions, you may catch illnesses from your pets, or may give them your illnesses. A number of different diseases are transferable. These include the common cold, the flu, hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, ringworms, rabies, giardia, toxoplasmosis, salmonella, and Lyme disease, among several others. You could even get the bubonic plague from a flea on your pet, though its very rare.

Illnesses That Are Not Transferable

While you can catch illnesses from your pet, you are safe from some diseases. People cannot get feline leukemia or feline herpes, nor can they get canine influenza.

What to Do If You or Your Pet Share an Illness

If you infect your pet or your pet infects you, take the sick party to a medical professional. For you, that’s the doctor, for your pet, that’s the vet. It may help speed up the doctor/vet’s diagnosis if you explain that you/your pet also had/still have an illness. They can then help give you the medical help you need, so that both you and your pet are feeling good again!

Have you ever caught an illness from your pet, or vice versa?



Monday 8th of January 2018

Always wondered about this, thanks for clearing it up

Elizabeth Brooks

Sunday 19th of February 2017

Washing your hands is very impotent


Friday 5th of August 2016

Thank you for this post; I'm glad to have spied it! I have two indoor adopted/rescue cats (7 and 8 years old), and am so thankful that neither has ever gotten sick. I do try to gather as much information as I can about feline health and wellness, to ensure that my little guys stay happy and healthy.


Saturday 4th of June 2016

Interesting to think about. I once got very sick from a cat bite when I rescued a cat that had been injured.. Not the cats fault, taught me to be more careful in that situation but luckily a strong antibiotic took care of things.

Gone to the Snow Dogs

Wednesday 25th of May 2016

Thankfully I have never caught any illnesses from my pet, but I did get my front tooth shifted behind my other tooth by getting head butted once! hehehe Always wash your hands when playing with animals!! And bites and scratches need extra care s well!! Thanks for the information!

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