Can Dogs Spread Salmonella?

Dogs can spread Salmonella through their saliva. Yet, this is pretty rare. You’re more likely to catch this condition through contact with reptiles, rodents, and even chickens.

Jun 24, 2024bySara Payne

can dogs spread salmonella

If your dog ate raw chicken or interacted with a wild turtle, you may worry that they could catch Salmonella, an illness that causes extreme gastrointestinal distress. But can a dog spread this condition to humans?

It is uncommon for dogs to carry the Salmonella bacteria; however, they can have the disease with or without symptoms and spread it through their saliva.

Read on to learn more about Salmonella in dogs.

What Is Salmonella?

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Salmonella refers to bacteria that causes gastroenteritis with symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Most people recover without treatment, but severe cases can lead to hospitalization. The disease can even be fatal if Salmonella spreads to the bloodstream.

People with weak immune systems, children, the elderly, or those who are pregnant are at the highest risk of suffering severe symptoms. People can contract Salmonella by:

  • Eating contaminated food
  • Handling contaminated food and accidentally spreading it to their mouths
  • Handling or caring for animals that carry Salmonella

That is why cooking foods thoroughly and washing your hands with soap and water after handling animals or raw meat is important. Otherwise, you risk allowing dangerous bacteria into your body and causing serious illness.

Dogs Can Get Salmonella Like Humans

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Most Salmonella is host specific, meaning it only infects one type of animal. However, there are various types of Salmonella that affect dogs. Dogs can contract Salmonella by eating contaminated dog food or encountering contaminated feces. A dog may also develop Salmonella after eating a rat.

Dogs with Salmonella may show no symptoms. Puppies are more likely to get sick than older dogs. However, even if your dog has no symptoms of Salmonella, they may spread the disease through their saliva and feces to humans.

Symptoms of Salmonella in dogs are the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased activity

If you suspect your dog has Salmonella, go to the veterinarian. Vets will treat the illness based on how severe it is using fluid therapy, antibiotics, and anti-nausea medications. Dogs with mild cases usually recover within a few days. Severe infections may take several weeks of intense therapy for your dog to recover.

Ways to Protect Your Dog from Salmonella

raw chicken
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There are some ways to protect your dog from contracting Salmonella. The best thing you can do is to monitor what your dog eats. For example, prevent your dog from eating feces. Many animals carry Salmonella, and the bacteria is shed through excretion.

Another way to prevent Salmonella is to keep your dog from eating wild animals or drinking water from unknown sources, even seemingly clear lakes and ponds. If you feed your dog raw meals, be sure to prepare the food separately from where human food is consumed. Also, be sure to thoroughly disinfect surfaces to prevent spreading bacteria.

Many Different Animals Carry and Spread Salmonella

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The Salmonella bacteria lives in the intestinal tract of several different types of animals, such as livestock and domestic pets. These animals get Salmonella by eating contaminated food, interacting with the bacteria in their environment, or from their mother before they are born.

These animals include:

These animals often do not get sick from Salmonella and appear healthy and clean. However, the bacteria sheds inside their intestines and contaminates their feces. If they get the feces on their fur, feathers, or scales, they can easily spread it to anyone handling them.

If you have any of these animals, wash your hands after handling them. Experts recommend using soap and rinsing for 20 seconds to ensure you shed the bacteria from your hands.

What Other Diseases Can Dogs Spread to People?

sad boxer
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Besides Salmonella, dogs can spread a few other diseases. Some viral infections that dogs can pass to humans include rabies and norovirus, a common cause of gastroenteritis.

Other bacterial infections dogs can spread include:

  • Brucella (a foodborne illness usually in milk and cheese)
  • Yersinia enterocolita (a foodborne illness transmitted from raw or undercooked pork)
  • Campylobacter (causes diarrhea, transmitted through contaminated food and water)
  • Capnocytophaga (a bacteria that lives in a dog’s mouth)
  • Coxiella brunetii (aka Q Fever)
  • Leptospira (causes flu-like symptoms)
  • Staphylococcus intermedius (a rare foodborne illness)

Dogs may also spread parasites, such as hookworms and tapeworms, to humans. As noted, the best way to avoid contracting one of these illnesses is to always wash your hands with soap and water after dealing with any dog feces or urine. You should also make sure your dog gets regular vet checkups. Your veterinarian can screen for any diseases and offer a treatment that puts their health first.

Dogs Rarely Spread Salmonella

sad hound
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Salmonella is a foodborne bacterium that can cause mild or severe gastroenteritis. Many animals spread this disease, and although dogs can spread Salmonella, this is not a common occurrence. Always wash your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with your pet’s feces and urine and be sure to take your dog to the vet if they exhibit any symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, or changed behavior.

Sara Payne
bySara Payne

Sara is a mother of two and a high school English teacher who rediscovered her love of writing during the pandemic. She has 5 rescue cats: Neville and Luna, who are white cats with black and grey spots, and Ginny, Blue, and Fairy, who are calicos. Besides taking care of humans and fur babies, Sara enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time in nature.