5 Diseases Dogs Can Pass to Their Owners

More on PawNation: Dogs, Health, Safety
It's no secret that dogs give us companionship and fulfillment. After all, that's two of the many reasons dogs are so loved. Unfortunately, if we're not careful we can get more than love from our dogs. By this I mean diseases. Because dogs can transmit various conditions and diseases to humans, you should think twice before sharing an ice cream cone with your dog or kissing him.

Even though there are many diseases we can contract from our dogs, I've listed 5 below that are very common.

Let's first start with the three R's: Ringworm, Roundworms and Rabies.

1. Ringworm

If you notice hairless round patches on your dog, he may have a ringworm condition. Ringworm is caused by a fungus that can be easily transmitted from dogs to humans. To keep from contracting this condition from your infected dog, be sure to always wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap after petting him. If your dog develops this condition, don't worry. It can be easily treated with proper medication. If you happen to contract this condition from your dog, you can get rid of it with a special anti-fungal cream.

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2. Roundworms

In case you're not familiar with roundworms, they're spaghetti-looking parasites that are often found in a dog's digestive system. Roundworms are very serious because they can cause blindness. You may be asking, ìHow can they cause someone to go blind?î Well, here's an example: If a dog that's infected with roundworms defecates outside, several eggs can be deposited into the soil. Children love playing in dirt, but they also love sticking their dirty hands into their mouth. If they do this, they could accidentally ingest some of the roundworm eggs. The eggs will then develop into larvae and establish themselves in their eye(s), causing blindness. This is just one of the many reasons that dogs needs to be given de-wormers on a regular basis.

3. Rabies

We've all heard of rabies. This condition is so serious that it's now required in most states that dogs receive the rabies vaccination. In order for a dog owner to contract rabies from their pet, the dog must first be bit by a rabid animal and then their dog must bite them. Another way a human can contract this condition from their infected dog is if their dog's saliva gets into contact with an open wound they may have. Rabies is a potentially fatal condition and should always be treated seriously. If your dog has been bitten by another dog or any type of wildlife, you need to report it to the proper authorities so your dog can be quarantined to help prevent a rabies outbreak in case it did happen to contract the condition after getting bit.

RELATED: The Importance of Micro-Chipping Your Dog

4. Lyme Disease

Even though dogs can't transmit Lyme disease to humans, we can still contract this condition through our dogs. How is this possible? One word: TICKS! Ticks are carriers of Lyme disease and since they can often be found on dogs, owners can develop the disease if they're bitten by an infected tick. Within 2 weeks of developing Lyme disease, you may notice a rash that resembles a bulls-eye target. You may also run a fever. Some infected people may not ever show any early symptoms. The best thing to do to avoid this from happening in the first place is to avoid areas that are infested with ticks. If you live in an area where it's impossible to avoid ticks, consult with your dog's veterinarian regarding the issue so he can prescribe a special tick preventative for your dog. Just remember to stay on schedule with the preventative and to not forget to give it to your dog.

5. Scabies

Scabies are the result of your dog itching and developing scabs all over his body. What causes this is when a mite burrows itself in the skin and causes constant itching, scabs and hair loss. Luckily, if humans contract this condition from their dogs, the itchiness will only last a few weeks and then go away on its own, without the need for medication. The itchiness doesn't last a long time because dogs are the mites' main host, not humans.

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So, as you can see, there are ways to contract conditions from our dogs. There are actually many more than I've listed above. The best things you can do to help keep yourself protected from contracting diseases from your dog are the following:

  • Keep vaccinations up-to-date.
  • Use flea, tick and heartworm preventative, and stay on schedule.
  • Keep your yard clean of dog feces.
  • Always wash your hands after petting your dog, or any dog for that matter.

If you suspect that your dog has contracted any of the conditions listed above, consult with your dog's veterinarian immediately. Don't wait until it's too late. The ultimate goal is prevention, but when a condition does develop, the new ultimate goal is to get it taken care of as soon as possible.

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Sherry Dilligard

I live in a complex we have patio's mine is next to my neighbors she has 2 dogs that are never walked they use their patio as a bathroom and their owner never cleans the poop. It smells horrile I often smell it in my house what can I do?

October 24 2014 at 10:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joy Hudson Campbell


October 22 2014 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Can't forget about leptospirosis. This can be prevented by giving them their vaccinations.

April 17 2014 at 9:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hello!! I have Multiple Sclerosis and when I was first diagnosed in 1972 & Again in 1982, both Neurologists said that the "professional's" are beginning to think that Dogs can carry the disease & pass it on to humans while the "child" is still young! I was raised with dogs - always. So I do not know the answer to this issue. They both said the theory came after WWII when an Island which had never had dogs, OR MS, and the Veterans that came to live there after WWII brought their beloved dogs....suddenly MS started popping up on this previously ."dog free" Island . Also if you become a dog owner after a certain age in a person's "young" life......not too young and not too old. I don't have any idea if this is true, but my German Shepherd came down suddenly with; what was diagnosed as either MS or a stroke, while I was away at college. (my Dad had her put to sleep so she wouldn't suffer)
The Neurologists of this world may have ruled this out, because I have never heard this 'theory' since!

January 12 2014 at 10:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I tend to think there are many more diseases that can be passed on from dogs to humans -- many more than just those mentioned here in this article. Years ago I had to put down my beloved Great Dane because of mycotic pneumonua. This disease can be passed on from pet to human.

November 18 2013 at 7:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good common-sense guidelines for the dog owner. Thanks!

While Rabies is a serious disease which requires preventaive vaccination in dogs, it should not be described as a "very common" infection/ disease in domestic dogs. It's quite rare...Raccoons constitute approximately 50% of the approximately eight thousand documented non-human rabies cases in the United States. Skunks and bats are other well-documented rabies vectors. But domestic animals (dogs, cats, etc) constitute only 8% of the (relatively few) rabies cases. Statistically speaking, that's very "uncommon." Cats tend to have more interactions with wild mammals than domestic dogs- and the incidence of rabies in house cats is on the rise.

December 27 2012 at 10:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just found a site that vouched that Chagas disease can be spread from dogs to humans. It did not state how. I suppose from the feces. So, this is a very dangerous emerging disease in North America.

April 03 2012 at 7:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you live in Texas near the border, you may want to consider Chagas disease too. Dogs can become infected and can carry the rejuvid insect indoors. Don't really know if that disease will pass from dogs to humans from their feces, saliva or bite. Chagas is transmitted by the rejuvid kissing bug. The one that infects humans are south of the border and defecates on the wound immediately after a blood meal. When scratched, the human is infected. The rejuvid kissing bugs North of the border don't do this, so Chagas is normally not transmitted to humans in North America. The parasite lives in the lower third of the rejuvid's adomen. Infected rejuvid feces cause disease if ingested. Many Gulf Coast wild , dogs, cats, rats, mice, opossums, armadillos and bats are known reservoirs.

April 03 2012 at 6:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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