Can dogs catch stomach viruses from humans? It might sound surprising but the truth is that dogs can catch viruses from humans.
Although the symptoms of various diseases in dogs can also be due to other reasons like food allergies or reactions to some medicines.
So, you can not safely conclude that human contact is the causal agent and you should visit a veterinarian for a better understanding.
Now let us understand how dogs get diseases from humans.
1. Norovirus in Humans and Dogs
Initially, it was believed that the type of Norovirus that affects humans is not the same as dogs, as this form can not be transmitted.
However, after many studies, it actually showed otherwise.
Studies were conducted in Finland and Thailand which showed conclusive results.
In one case dogs were kept in homes with people who were infected with Norovirus, and in the second case, a pregnant dog was exposed to a household with infected humans.
Turned out that in both cases the Norovirus had been transmitted to the dogs, although not a 100% transmission.
Norovirus basically spreads through oral contact with the virus particles, so if you’re consuming contaminated food or drinks that have the virus, or unknowingly touching surfaces that are contaminated and placing your hand in your mouth.
2. Can People Get Sick from Dogs?
Illnesses that can pass between humans and animals are called zoonotic diseases and these can spread from pet animals like cats and dogs but also from wild animals or farm animals.
Household pets can be responsible for infecting humans with stomach bugs, diarrhea, minor skin infections, bacterial infections, and sometimes serious health issues.
This is because of the close contact that pet owners maintain with their pets. Norovirus is among the top that can transmit across the species.
Humans can get illnesses from dogs in the following ways –
- Contaminated food, treats, water bowls, or other surfaces.
- Your eyes or mouth come in contact with your dog’s poop.
- If the dog’s tongue is carrying some infection and it licks you.
- If your dog and you share the same bed.
- If your dog bites or scratches you, such that it breaks the skin.
3. How do I Know if my Dog has a Stomach Virus?
- If your dog is experiencing intermittent periods of vomiting and diarrhea, or very frequent diarrhea.
- If your dog starts gagging heavily after water or food consumption.
- If its activity reduces, it feels fatigued and has a reduced appetite.
- Your dog may be experiencing low-grade fever, bloating, and some abdominal tenderness.
4. How do I Treat It?
If your dog is experiencing symptoms of a stomach virus, do not try to be the doctor yourself instead visit the veterinarian; the primary treatment will be rehydration and restoration of the lost electrolytes from the body and other support treatments like –
- Oral, intravenous, or subcutaneous fluid administration and if the causal agent is a bacterial infection, antibiotics come to the rescue.
- After the intestinal obstruction has been cleared, they are given drugs to ease the intestinal activity.
- Food and water are also withheld during initial treatment processing, and then slowly reintroduced into the diet when the body stabilizes.
- Bland food and lesser portions are suggested so that digestion is easy and quick.
5. How to Prevent Zoonotic Disease Infection from Your Dog?
You can reduce the risk of getting infected with zoonotic diseases from your dog by following some easy measures of good hygiene and cleanliness.
5.1. Clean the Dog Waste
Once your dog has pooped make sure you clear after it in a reasonable time.
Dispose of it in a sealed bag, make sure you are not coming in too much contact and your clothes or hands are not getting directly exposed.
5.2. Wash Hands Regularly
Always wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling your dog’s food, water, and excreta.
Even the dog’s toys or other things where his saliva might have reached.
5.3. Doggo Kisses
Don’t let your dog kiss you on your face specifically near your mouth, eyes, and nose.
However, if the dog becomes insistent and comes into close contact then wash yourself very nicely and disinfect yourself.
Make sure that all the necessary vaccinations are actively applied to both you and your dog.
For the dog especially take care of the following – rabies, kennel cough, canine parvovirus, and distemper.
5.5. Visit the Vet
Visit your pet’s veterinarian regularly.
Regular checkups will keep you updated on your dog’s health and diseases if any, both chronic and infectious.
It will also prevent you from catching it with timely treatment.
5.6. Scratches and Bites
Before you pet any dog other than your own, make sure they’re not scared or angry. Try not to approach unfamiliar dogs a lot.
Dogs on the streets and parks can be stray with no vaccination or are already infected.
If in case you get a scratch or a bite; wash that area and immediately disinfect it and seek medical help if you see any more symptoms.
6. Is the Virus the Same in Dogs, Humans, and Other Pets?
As we have seen above Norovirus can be transmitted between humans and dogs, cats are not really susceptible to these.
Other viruses like rotavirus however are transferable between species.
One big difference however is that when a dog or a cat gets an infection they can get blood in the feces.
However, if you find blood in human feces it is a lot more difficult and a serious situation that requires immediate attention and medical help.
The symptoms of the stomach flu in humans/animals are very similar, and some of them are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, appetite loss, dehydration, abdominal pain, and fever.
7. Final Thoughts
It can be safely said that dogs can increase your risk of catching some diseases that are related to ticks, as they carry them on their bodies and we come in contact with our dogs all the time.
It is therefore advised that we maintain appropriate hygiene practices for better safety.