Diseases from Dogs

Many studies show the health benefits of dog ownership. Dogs not only provide comfort and companionship, but studies have found that dogs decrease stress and promote relaxation and have positive impacts on nearly all life stages. They influence social, emotional, and cognitive development in children, promote an active lifestyle, and have even been able to detect oncoming epileptic seizures or the presence of certain cancers. For all the positive benefits of keeping dogs, pet owners should be aware that dogs can carry germs that make people sick.

Although dogs can pass germs to people, you are not likely to get sick from touching or owning dogs. To best protect yourself from getting sick,

  • Wash your hands with soap and running water after contact with dogs, dog saliva, or dog stool. Be sure to assist children with handwashing. Thoroughly washing hands will reduce the risk of disease transmission to people.
  • Avoid bites and scratches from dogs. Dog bites might become seriously infected or might be a source of rabies. Be cautious with unfamiliar animals. Approach dogs with care, and ask their owner if it is ok to pet them, even if they seem friendly.
  • Pick up and dispose of dog stools, especially in areas where children might play. Cleaning up after your dog will help keep the area clean and reduce the risk of spreading disease to people or other animals.
  • Visit your veterinarian for routine evaluation and care to keep your dog healthy and to prevent infectious diseases.
  • If your dog becomes sick or dies soon after purchase or adoption, take your dog to the veterinarian promptly, and inform the pet store, breeder, or rescue organization about the pet's illness or death. Make sure to tell your veterinarian if the pet was adopted internationally. Thoroughly clean the area occupied by your pet.

More information may be found on the CDC website here:

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/animals/dogs.htm