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The many ways your dog can make you and your family sick.

Tummy bugs are up there with the worst! They leave you writhing in a sweat, unable to keep anything down, and unable to move more than a metre away from the toilet. And these kind of bugs spread quickly too so it's not uncommon to be sharing the commode with several other sick members of the family.

The next time you feel like blaming the dodgy pie you got from the gas station, consider the following – research shows that your dog might be the culprit. Findings recently released in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology, revealed that there is a definite link between human to dog transmission of bugs, with some dogs actually developing an immune response to the human norovirus. It is estimated that up to two million Australians are infected every year with this bug.

While the findings failed to find definite proof as to whether canine infection or transmission can be passed to humans or if human noroviruses can cause illnesses in dogs, it still brings up the pertinent points that all pets and pet owners should observe whenever any contagious disease starts to make the rounds. There are other unpleasant ailments that you can catch from your pet indirectly – from handling their contaminated waste, saliva or fur. This includes ringworm (which a dog can carry without displaying any symptoms), skin fungus, tapeworm and even tuberculosis!

The best way to prevent these ailments and to have better hygiene and health overall, is to regularly do the following:

  • Avoid letting your pet lick your face or hands
  • Regularly wash your hands
  • Regularly de-worm your pet
  • Monitor and treat any skin conditions immediately, and seek professional help if the condition worsens/returns
  • Wash your dog’s beds, blankets, and collars regularly with animal-friendly detergents. If your dog sheds, vacuum every other day
  • Wash your pet’s bowl and toys often with hot water and a pet-friendly disinfectant

Keep your pet clean, paying attention to their ears, eyes and snout. This is a job best left for professional groomers who have the necessary pet-friendly tools, cleaners, and equipment

Following these tips will go a long way to keeping your pet and family healthy and happy!