When you get sick, you may be concerned about spreading an illness to your loved ones, and that includes pets. While some viruses can spread from humans to dogs, many, like strep throat, do not transfer, or if your dog contracts them, they may not make him symptomatic. Keep your dog healthy by staying up to date on veterinarian visits and inoculations. Getting adequate exercise, proper grooming, and eating a good diet can help your dog stay healthy.
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Viruses dogs get from humans
Strep throat in humans is caused by streptococcus pyogenes. While this causes tonsillitis in humans, canines won't pick up the same virus from the bacteria that causes strep throat in humans. However, they can contract an infection from being around their sick human, so they should be given antibiotics if throat swelling or discomfort occurs.
While dogs can get canine influenza, the flu virus humans get is not the same strain. They can contract the flu when we get it, but they don't tend to become ill from it. Dogs can also get COVID-19 from humans, but the evidence so far has shown that dogs experience only mild illness, and serious illness is very rare.
Humans can spread other illnesses to their dogs. Salmonella, campylobacteriosis, MRSA (staph infection), and tuberculosis are among the symptomatic viruses that dogs get from humans. If you have one of these illnesses, try to quarantine away from your dog if possible, having someone else care for her, or wear a face mask and practice good hygiene to keep her safe.
The importance of vaccinations
Getting vaccinations for yourself and your dog is one of the biggest ways you can keep your dog healthy. Dogs have annual shots to prevent illness. You can do the same for yourself to prevent dogs from getting viruses, especially illnesses that you could potentially spread to them.
Highly contagious dog illnesses, like canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD, commonly known as kennel cough), can spread to dogs during boarding or when playing with unfamiliar canines. Making sure your dog is vaccinated against CIRD and anything else your veterinarian recommends can help prevent him from getting sick.
Additional methods of prevention
Keeping your pet's immunity up during illness season can help her avoid catching a virus or getting sick from one. Having your dog eat healthy foods and exercise is important to her immunity, as obesity can lower it, as a 2019 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences makes clear. Keeping your dog clean is also important to help her stay healthy. Proper grooming keeps your pet in good shape and can also help you catch an issue early.
Ask your veterinarian about giving your dog probiotics for an additional immunity boost. Probiotics work by balancing out the body's bad bacteria with the good. There are specific formulas of probiotics designed for dogs in tablet or treat form. They can also get probiotics from eating plain yogurt.
Treating a dog throat infection
If your dog does get sick, contact your veterinarian. In dogs, sore throat and tonsillitis are often caused by a buildup of tartar or may be caused by your dog licking infected anal glands. If your dog is coughing, shaking his head, or pacing or if he has a big change in appetite, a dog throat infection could likely be the cause.
To treat a dog throat infection, the vet may prescribe antibiotics depending on the cause. Pain medication may also be given to soothe your dog's throat. Be sure to give your dog plenty of fluids through canned food or by adding water to kibble.
Honey, apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil are household items that can help soothe a dog's sore throat. Mix a half teaspoon of honey into a bowl of water for your dog to coat his throat. Apple cider vinegar can be mixed with honey to make it more appealing to your pet.
- VCA Hospitals: Tonsillitis in Dogs
- Healthline: Can Dogs Get Sick from Humans?
- American Kennel Club: Boosting Your Dog’s Digestive Tract and Immune System With Probiotics
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention: What You Should Know About COVID-19 and Pets
- Merck Manual Veterinary Manual: Tonsillitis in Dogs
- Veterinary Secrets: Sore Throat Remedy for Cats and Dogs
- Michigan State University Today: Ask the Expert: Understanding Kennel Cough — and How COVID-19 Contributed to its Outbreak
- Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute Open Access Journals: Leptin and Immunological Profile in Obesity and Its Associated Diseases in Dogs
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Dog Grooming Tips