Essay

Can Your Dog Catch Your Cold? Sicknesses That Pass Between Dogs and People

You probably avoid close contact with family and friends while you have a cold in order to prevent spreading the illness to them. Should you socially avoid your dog as well? This article will examine the diseases that can infect humans and dogs, how to prevent them, and how to treat them.

How Dogs Improve Your Health

Let’s speak about how dogs help you stay healthy before we discuss any diseases you can contract from your dog! Approximately 60% of homes in the West are home to pets, primarily dogs. The health benefits of well-maintained dogs on their owners are substantial.

Research has indicated that having a pet makes their owners more active, which lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and reduces heart problems. They boost their owners’ self-esteem and help them feel less stressed and anxious. In an era when anxiety and sadness are turning into worldwide health emergencies, this is a huge health advantage. Specially trained dogs can also help the police and armed forces, conduct search and rescue missions, and alert their owners to health issues.

How Can Your Dog Pass on Illnesses?

Sadly, there is a negative aspect to this dog-people romance. People contract bacterial and viral illnesses primarily from dogs. People can contract these from animals by stroking or sleeping with them, licking, drooling, or sharing food; aerosols from coughing or sneezing; urine or faeces from cleaning up accidents; or other types of contact with the animal.

These are a few of the most prevalent diseases that dogs can spread to people. These can be particularly harmful to young people, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.

Bacterial Diseases: Brucellosis, camphylobacteriosis, capnocytophaga, leptospirosis, MRSA, salmonellosis
Viral Diseases: Rabies
Fungal Diseases: Ringworm
Parasitic Diseases: Cryptosporidiosis, echinococcosis, giardiasis, hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm

How Can You Pass Illnesses to Your Dog?

These are illnesses that humans can give to dogs through a variety of similar channels, including bodily contact, aerosols, saliva, and faeces:

Salmonellosis
Campylobacteriosis
MRSA
Tuberculosis
COVID-19
Ringworm

A number of canines who were most likely acquired from their owners have tested positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, animals either exhibit minimal or no COVID symptoms. It is thought that there is little chance of infection spreading from dogs to humans in the other direction.

Diseases Not to Worry About

The good news is that none of the diseases on this list should concern you:

The flu: Canine influenza is caused by two different viruses, but humans cannot contract it. Certain human flu viruses, such as H1N1 and H3N2, can infect dogs, although they don’t cause illness in them.

Dogs can contract the common cold, however they do so due to a different virus than that which causes colds in humans. Humans and dogs cannot get colds from the same germs.

Dogs are not susceptible to catching bronchitis from humans. They get kennel cough from other dogs, which is their version of it. Although it is extremely rare, people can unintentionally contract kennel cough. Just wash your hands after handling animals and avoid kissing a coughing dog.

Cold sores: HSV-1 or HSV-2, the herpes simplex virus, is the cause of them. Dogs cannot contract this virus from humans. Although they cannot infect humans, dogs can contract the canine herpesvirus (CHV).

Mumps: Some studies indicate that dogs may contract the mumps from humans without becoming unwell. Nonetheless, mumps has all but disappeared in the US thanks to immunisations against humans.

What Are Common Signs of Illness in a Dog?

Dogs’ propensity to conceal disease symptoms is probably a survival strategy meant to keep them safe from predators. However, since you spend all day with your dog, you will be able to recognise abnormal behaviour in them. Observe the following warning signs:

Loss of appetite, weight loss
Bad breath or stinky ears or skin
Drinking a lot of water and urinating a lot
Difficulty urinating or defecating
Coughing, sneezing, panting
Lethargy, hiding under the furniture
Vomiting, diarrhea
Whining, crying
Difficulty walking or climbing stairs
A hot, dry nose can be a symptom of fever or dehydration

Get your dog to an emergency veterinarian as soon as you observe any of the following signs, as they may be life-threatening:

A firm, bulging abdomen
not being able to urinate
Breathing difficulties
severe diarrhoea or vomiting
Convulsions
clumsy or incapable of standing

How Do You Maintain Your Dog’s Health and Your Own?

The following actions can help you prevent infecting dogs or getting sick yourself:

Thoroughly clean up any pee and faeces and sanitise the area.

After handling your dog or cleaning up after them, wash your hands.

Numerous diseases can enter your body through your mouth, nose, or eyes. When playing with your dog, avoid touching your face, kissing it, or letting it lick your face in order to protect this area.

Regularly wash both your dog’s and your personal bedding in hot water.

Ensure that both you and your dog have received all the immunisations advised for your species.

For both you and your dog, maintain a healthy immune system by eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.

If one of you is sick and the other potentially get it, stay away from your dog.

Apply antimicrobial cream to any bites or scratches. If you notice any indications of illness, get antibiotics from a doctor.

Seek emergency medical assistance for possible rabies if you are bitten or scratched by a stray dog that is acting abnormally, such as staggering, drooling excessively, acting aggressively, or tilting its head to one side.

The Final Word

In summary, no, you cannot catch your dog’s cold or flu, and your dog cannot catch yours. Although they could potentially contract COVID-19 from you, animals do not have life-threatening symptoms. Furthermore, there’s no concrete evidence that you can get it from them. But there are a tonne of additional illnesses and parasites that can spread from dogs to people. We understand that this is a large request, but especially when one of you is ill, you need to find other methods to show your dog love without jumping in each other’s faces. Whether or not you own a dog, it’s a good idea to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face during the cold and flu season.