Your dog just finished playing outside, and he is still full of excitement. When he sees you he jumps up on you and starts licking your face. The last thing you’re thinking about in that moment is catching salmonella, mange, E. coli, or ringworm.
Just like you can contract the cold or flu through friends and family, pets can also pass diseases to their owners. Among the most common diseases transmitted from pets to humans are intestinal parasites. This includes roundworms and hookworms. “While parasites can cause gastrointestinal upset in pets, they can cause blindness and very serious skin irritation in people,” Christie Long, chief veterinarian for PetCoach, says.
*Related: Hidden Dangers Summer Can Bring to Pets
Humans are also likely to suffer from allergies caused by pet dander — tiny pieces of skin shed by animals including cats, dogs, and even birds. According to the American Lung Association, “these bits of skin can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers.” If you are someone who suffers from allergies, it is common to experience upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms due to pet dander.
It’s important to educate yourself on the ways your pet may make you sick and take the necessary precautions to ensure that you and your best friend remain safe and healthy. This means keeping them vaccinated, watching them closely while they are outside, and checking them for ticks and fleas.