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Can Dogs Get Sick from Humans?

Dogs and humans have a long history of coexisting and sharing their living spaces. As much as we enjoy the company of our furry friends, it’s important to consider the potential risks of transmitting illnesses between our species. One question that arises is whether dogs can get sick from humans.

Yes, dogs can get sick from humans. Many illnesses that affect humans, including bacterial and viral infections, can also infect dogs. Some examples of diseases that can be transmitted from humans to dogs include the common cold, influenza, streptococcal infections, and even COVID-19.

Can Dogs Catch the Flu from Us?

According to preliminary research, dogs can catch the flu from humans. It is, however, scarce. Furthermore, viruses change and evolve, which may explain why epidemics and pandemics do not occur continuously. This complicates virologists’ research because current results may differ over time.

During the peak of the H1N1 outbreak, the state of Oregon discovered that over ten domestic cats and one dog had contracted the virus. Researchers concluded that at least one of these pets had contracted it directly from their H1N1-infected owner because they had had no human or animal contact before their owner was admitted and quarantined.

In another study, researchers in Finland discovered that only four of 92 household dogs living in a contaminated home had contracted the stomach flu from their owners. The household in all four cases was a family with children, and more than one family member was currently ill.

Many veterinary and virologist professionals believe that cases of dogs catching influenza from their owners are rare but not impossible.

Symptoms and Causes of Flu in Dogs

While we may warn our children or partners to keep a safe distance when we cough and have a fever, we may not do so with our dogs. They must be OK. Take a look at those wagging tails and playful licks. There are specific symptoms to look for if your dog contracts the flu from you or another dog.


  • Appetite loss
  • Irregular sleeping patterns
  • Lethargy
  • Disinterest in traditional hobbies
  • Fever 
  • Coughing
  • Having trouble breathing


Dogs get the flu in the same way that humans do. Sharing water, food, kisses, or hugs with an infected person can cause a dog to get the flu. If your dog is older or taking medications that weaken the immune system, it may be more vulnerable.


Because flu symptoms can mimic those of various other illnesses, obtaining an official and accurate diagnosis is critical in treating canine influenza. A physical examination will occur once you arrive at the veterinarian’s office. Blood tests and a urinalysis may also be ordered.

How To Treat the Flu in Dogs?

If your dog does not currently have the flu, there are ways to prevent and treat it if it does occur.


Hydration is essential for cleansing the body of illnesses and keeping the immune system healthy and ready to fight them. If your dog enjoys running and napping in the sun, ensure their water bowl is always excellent, shady, and well-stocked. Keeping it out of the sun will reduce evaporation and encourage them to rest in a cooler location.

Make an appointment with your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has the flu and the symptoms last more than a week.


The flu is a fickle beast. It can sometimes last as little as a week or as long as a month. Flu-like symptoms should always be confirmed with a veterinarian, as they may discover that the dog is suffering from something else entirely and prescribe medications to hasten recovery.

Similarities and Differences of Flu on Dogs and Humans


Our pets can be just as miserable as when we are bedridden with a fever and throbbing head from the flu. Canine and human influenza are both:

  • Contagious
  • Inhaled via respiratory contact
  • Symptoms like coughing, fever, irregular sleeping, and loss of appetite are also common.


The main distinction between canine and human influenza is their ability to spread.

  • There have been no reports of humans contracting the flu from an infected dog.
  • Several reports of dogs becoming ill due to an influenza-infected human have been reported.

What Other Diseases Can Humans Pass To Dogs? 

Aside from the commonly occurring diseases, here are some other illness you may pass onto your pet if you have them.


If you or someone in your household has been infected with mumps, keep an eye out for symptoms in your dog. Mumps symptoms in dogs include fever, loss of appetite, and swelling of the salivary glands.

While there is no cure for canine mumps, you should work with your veterinarian to treat your dog’s symptoms and keep him comfortable while he recovers.


While this bacteria is frequently linked to “food poisoning,” it can also make your dog sick. Your pet, like you, can experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. To prevent the spread of salmonella, use safe handling techniques when handling raw meats and seafood.You should also ensure your pet isn’t drinking from the toilet or eating from the trash can, as both can be sources of salmonella.


Ringworm is a skin infection that affects both humans and animals. It may sound like the name of a parasite, but it is actually the name of a fungus. Ringworm can be transmitted from human to animal or through contaminated objects such as hair brushes or bath towels.


Giardia, a common waterborne illness, can make you and your pet sick. Diarrhea and weight loss are both symptoms. This protozoan is found in animal feces and is more likely to spread from dog to dog in shelters and puppy mills. Dogs in the southern United States are also more susceptible to giardia.

To diagnose, your veterinarian will examine a fecal sample from your dog. If positive, your pet should feel better immediately with an antibiotic prescription. In terms of transmission, pools, hot tubs, spas, and lakes can transmit giardia to humans. If you suspect you’ve been infected, see a doctor immediately; you don’t want to infect your pet or anyone else in your home.

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