We share a lot of things with our dogs. And let's be honest: For many dog lovers, some of those things are germs.
Does that mean that if you have a cold, your dog could catch it from you?
We come bearing good news: No, you can't give your cold to your dog.
What illnesses can dogs catch from humans and other dogs?
Dogs and humans can both be affected by cold viruses, but we can't catch those viruses from each other. Dogs can catch colds from other dogs, though. If you have multiple dogs and one of them develops symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, or coughing, it's best to take them to the vet as soon as possible. If it's a cold, it can spread quickly to your other dog(s). Plus, with any symptoms like that, it's wise to have a vet rule out other possibilities, like more serious infections.
While the common cold isn't one of them, there are certain illnesses that dogs can catch from humans. These illnesses include mumps, ringworm, and some strains of the flu (though that's rare).
What illnesses can humans catch from dogs?
Zoonotic diseases refer to diseases that can spread between humans and animals. These diseases can spread through direct contact with an animal's bodily fluids, or indirect contact, when a person comes into contact with a contaminated animal habitat (such as an aquarium or chicken coop, or by touching an infected food bowl).
The Center for Disease Control has a handy list of the illnesses you can technically contract from your dog. These illnesses include tapeworm, hookworm, and rabies.
Your chances of contracting a zoonotic disease are very low, though. You're more at risk if you're over age 65, under age 5, or have a weakened immune system. But if none of these conditions apply to you, you probably don't need to worry too much about catching a disease from your dog.
So if you have a cold and your dog wants to keep you company while you watch 97 straight hours of Netflix in bed, let him! You won't make him sick, and he'll probably enjoy the cuddle time.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.