Salmonella Food Poisoning in Dogs

Salmonella food poisoning in dogs occurs due to ingestion of salmonella bacteria. Salmonella food poisoning is also known as salmonellosis. Dogs can catch this type of bacterial infection from eating contaminated food, but it's also contagious to other dogs, cats and humans. Here's what you should know about salmonenella food poisoning in dogs.

Causes of Salmonellosis in Dogs

Dogs typically contract salmonellosis from eating contaminated food. They can also catch the disease from direct contact with the saliva or stool of an infected dog, cat or human. 

Foods that commonly cause salmonella poisoning include raw meat and raw eggs, both of which can carry salmonella bacteria. Raw chicken is particularly dangerous.

Dogs who eat trash or dead animals are at high risk for salmonella food poisoning. Birds often carry salmonella bacteria, and dogs can catch salmonellosis from eating infected birds or by having contact with bird feeders, bird houses or other objects that have come into contact with infected birds.

Symptoms of Salmonellosis in Dogs

Symptoms of salmonella food poisoning typically appear 6 to 72 hours after infection. The first symptom of salmonella poisoning in dogs is a high fever, usually accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs with salmonella poisoning may lose their appetites and may appear lethargic and depressed. Dogs with salmonella poisoning are risk for developing dehydration due to fluid loss through diarrhea and vomiting.

If your dog develops salmonella poisoning, contact your vet immediately. Keep your dog away from other dogs, cats and people. Use a solution of one part bleach in ten parts water to sterilize those areas with which your dog has had contact. Wash your dog's bedding, toys and other possessions in hot water and soap.

Treating Salmonellosis in Dogs

Your vet will perform a thorough physical exam and take a complete medical history before making a diagnosis of salmonella food poisoning. If your dog has eaten raw meat or raw eggs, tell your vet. If you know or suspect that your dog has eaten garbage, dead animals or dead birds, tell your vet. If your dog may have come into contact with infected birds, or if he's regularly exposed to bird feeders or bird houses, tell your vet.

Your vet may administer antibiotics to help treat salmonella food poisoning. Your dog may need to be hospitalized and undergo IV fluid therapy to treat the dehydration associated with salmonella infection. Dogs may take several weeks to recover from salmonella poisoning. However, salmonella food poisoning usually isn't fatal; adult dogs who generally enjoy good health typically recover from the infection.

Preventing Salmonella Poisoning in Dogs

You can help to prevent salmonella food poisoning by cooking any meat, bones or eggs you feed your dog. Meat, especially chicken, should be thoroughly cooked. Thaw meat in the refrigerator to minimize the risk of contamination. Eggs should be boiled for at least seven minutes to prevent salmonella infection.

Don't allow your dog to eat garbage, dead animals or birds. Keep your dog away from bird feeders and bird houses. Clean surfaces and cooking implements with soap and hot water to minimize the risk of contamination.