Can Dog Diseases be Transmitted to Humans?

Dog diseases can be caused by numerous viruses, bacteria, fungi or other factors. While these diseases can be easily transmitted among dogs and sometimes to other animals as well, not all dog diseases can be transmitted to humans. There are a few diseases, known as zoonotic diseases, that you need to know about and take extra measures to prevent yourself and your loved ones.


Even though rabies is a very uncommon disease in dogs, especially domesticated dogs, you need to know about this infection, as it can cause severe neurological problems and can be fatal in humans. Rabies can be contracted from dogs that haven't been vaccinated. The rabies vaccine is compulsory for all pets and is administered as early as six weeks. If a dog bites you, you need to find out whether he was vaccinated. If cannot find out, you need to get an antirabies shot just to be sure. A shot of antirabies is effective for 5 years. Any dog bite should be treated with soap and disinfectant and antibiotics, to prevent an infection of the wound.

Fungal Infections

There is a fungal infection that may be transmitted from dogs to humans. This infection is known as ringworm and it is caused by fungi, not worms as suggested by the name. The ringworm infection is common and will manifest through itchiness, hair loss in round patches and irritated skin. In humans, the ringworm fungi can cause skin rashes and nail infections.

The infection can be contracted by touching an infected dog or infested feces (i.e., from soil or sand). Special care should be taken when handling dog feces, regardless if the dog is healthy or not. Surgical gloves should be worn and the feces should be closed in a plastic bag and discarded safely. Always wash your hands after playing with your pet or other pets and after handling dog feces or urine.

Internal Parasites

Not all internal parasites can be transmitted to humans, but there are three that are zoonotic. Tapeworms, hookworms and roundworms can be contracted from an infected dog. The intestinal worms can be contagious and you need to avoid direct contact with dog saliva and feces, which can contain worm larvae and eggs. If your pet has any of these worms, you should be cautious and wash the dog's environment with bleach, which will destroy all eggs and larvae. Meanwhile, dewormers should be administered. Typically, worms can be treated within one week.


Bacterial infections are not contagious from dogs to humans. However, there is one exception: leptispirosis. The bacteria are present in the dog's urine and can cause severe internal damage in people.

Preventing zoonotic diseases is easy if you follow a few common sense hygiene rules. Wash your hands after playing with your pet, never touch feces or urine without gloves and clean your home. Monitor your dog's behavior and look out for infection or parasite symptoms and keep your pet healthy.