Can Humans Get Fleas from Dogs?

Can Humans Get Fleas from Dogs?

If your dog is infested with fleas, you might be wondering if you’re at risk of getting bitten, and the question, «Can humans get fleas?» is on your mind. Altogether, there are more than 2,000 species of flea, but only one that can live on humans. Fleas that typically infect canines cannot live on humans, as they cannot survive on human blood, but these species of fleas can ride on human clothes or hair and can be transmitted to other dogs. Fleas are very difficult to get rid of, as they hatch and reproduce at alarming rates and can also travel easily from one host to the other by taking huge leaps.

The History of Fleas

Some scientists believe that fleas have been on earth for more than 55 million years, and ancient amber has been found with fleas inside. These scientists think fleas started off by feeding on tree sap and plant juice, but later developed to suck on the blood of birds, animals and humans. The oldest known species of flea is the snow flea.

Fleas that Live on Humans

From all the flea species on earth, the only one that lives on humans is known as Pulex irritans, and this one feeds on human blood. It can live on cat or dog blood also. The Pulex irritans flea looks like the other types of fleas, but has fewer mouth bristles. Fleas are dark brown or black and are very small, having the shape of a tear.

The bites of fleas on humans are mostly on the head area, but the arms and legs may also be affected. The bites tend to be several in a row and the bite spot will swell and be itchy. If you’re allergic to flea saliva you will also have a red halo around the bite.

Dog Fleas

The fleas that are hosted by dogs cannot be transmitted to humans, unless they are Pulex irritans, in which case they were initially transmitted from humans.

  • Fleas on dogs can be eliminated, as they cause a lot of itchiness and the dog is not comfortable. Puppies and weaker dogs are susceptible to anemia if exposed to fleas for an extended period of time, as fleas feed on blood.
  • Talk to your vet about some anti flea products. You can opt for anti-flea shampoos that will relieve the itchiness and also contain insecticides that will eliminate the fleas. You can also choose sprays or powders that contain insecticides.
  • If the dog is allergic to the flea bites, the vet will prescribe a cortisone ointment.
  • Fleas can easily be eliminated from the dog’s skin but the problem is that the fleas hatch and they can lay eggs in the dog’s environment, which can re-infect the dog.
  • Flea eggs can be eliminated with bleach or other household products. You can also vacuum to absorb the eggs and get rid of the vacuum bag, as fleas can develop in this environment also. Clean your garden, as fleas may thrive in moist environments.

9 Diseases Dogs Can Transfer to Humans

There are many diseases unique to the animal world which are not zoonotic, i.e. they can’t be passed on to human beings. Your dog is able to carry certain diseases in this way. Sometimes, they may have a disease which both humans and dogs can contract, such as influenza. Although both canines and humans can get the flu, but they may not be able to get the same strain. This means that a sick dog can be well cared for without having to worry about its effects on us.

However, this isn’t always the case and there are some which will be of concern. This is why AnimalWised brings you 9 diseases dogs can transfer to humans. In doing so, we can help protect the health of the human members of our family, at the same time best meeting the needs of our beloved canine members.

Intestinal parasites in dogs transmitted to humans

Of the number of diseases transmitted to humans from dogs, we begin with those caused by internal parasites. The majority of these are intestinal parasites which result in gastrointestinal disorders. However, they also include parasites such as heartworm which we will discuss in the next section. Intestinal parasites which can be transmitted from dogs to humans include:

  • Roundworm: nematodes (the scientific name for roundworm) are one of the most widespread in dogs. Contagion is made possible through the placenta or breast milk of a mother dog to their young as well as being ingested from the ground or an infested animal carcass. These symptoms do no usually produce symptoms in healthy animals, but can cause vomiting and diarrhea in younger animals. In humans they are responsible for a disorder known as visceral larva migrans.
  • Giardia: in an infestation of giardia, we can face protozoa responsible for symptoms such as profuse diarrhea. As always, an infestation will have a much greater impact on vulnerable animals such as those with a weakened immune system. It is believed that some genotypes are able to infest humans, although the most common cause in humans is due to contaminated water. Giardia is not always detected by examining a single stool sample, as excretion of them is intermittent. Samples, therefore, need to be taken over a few days.
  • Tapeworms: there are many different varieties of tapeworm such as Dipylidium or Echinococcus. Fleas can transmit them to our dogs and they are then passed on to us. Children may become infected if they ingest flea eggs directly, often from eating something they shouldn’t have. Infestation can come from ingesting eggs found in contaminated food, water or materials in a dog’s environment. Taeniasis is a parasitic disease caused by infection of tapeworms and it can be asymptomatic. However, we can sometimes see proglottids around the anus area of the dog. These are broken segments of the tapeworm itself which look a lot like little grains of rice and often cause irritation. Echinococcosis is more common in dogs, but is rare in humans. If it is contracted by humans, it can result in hydatid cysts in the liver, lungs and brain.
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The transmission of parasites from dogs to humans can occur in different ways. One of the most common is when the animal sniffs infested stool or other material, licks our hands and then we transfer it to our own mouths. If a dog infested with parasites defecates in the home or garden and the stool is left for some time, transfer can be made if we don’t take the correct hygiene precautions. The same can happen when we take our dogs outside and they come in contact with infested material. In general, young children are most susceptible because they often put things in their mouths which they should not.

An up to date internal and external deworming schedule is the best way we can prevent infestation of these intestinal parasites. This is especially the case in vulnerable animals such as puppies. Because we love our dogs and want what’s best for them, we need to take our dog to the vet to see what is the best deworming schedule in your area.

Filariasis in dogs and humans

Among communicable diseases between dogs and humans, we now highlight one which is becoming increasingly more important. Filariasis is a parasitic disease caused by a roundworm infection. In dogs, one particular type of roundworm called Dirofilaria immitis is known as heartworm and it is particularly dangerous as it can result in acute heart failure. The vector of this disease is the mosquito which transmits the heartworm eggs through its buccal (mouth) organs. This means a dog can become infested with a mosquito bite.

The filaria eggs will go through different stages of maturation until they end up lodging in the pulmonary arteries, the right side of the heart or in the venae cavae or hepatic veins. Additionally, females release into the blood microfilariae which can be passed on to another mosquito through a bite. This mosquito can then go on to infect more dogs.

As we can see, it is not possible for the dog to directly infect humans with the disease. However, we can become infested if the mosquito bites the dog and then transfers it to us. Thus, the dog acts as a reservoir for the disease. It is still relatively uncommon in humans and when it does occur, can be aysmptomatic. In dogs, however, heartworm can have dire consequences. This is because they can cause great damage to fundamental organs such as the heart, lungs or live, often resulting in death.

Infestation affecting the aforementioned vital organs in this way complicates treatment, especially when the worms are adult. This, once again, makes prevention so imperative. Finding out about your local mosquito rates and using protection against them is a good first start. You need to establish general guidelines which limit the exposure of your dog to potentially infectious insects. Internal anti-parasitics will also help to prevent the heartworm from completing their growth cycle. Deworming is important everywhere, but it takes on extra gravity when you live in an area where the disease is endemic such as the Spanish Canary Islands.

Skin diseases dogs can transmit to people

Scabies and ringworm are the most common skin diseases a dog can pass on to people. Both are well-known diseases and have obvious symptoms. Their characteristics include:

  • Ringworm: also known as dermatophytosis, this disease is caused by a fungus (not an actual worm) which leads to circular patches on the skin. Spores from this fungus makes its way into a shared environment, infecting other dogs, other cats and even humans.
  • Scabies: this is caused by a mite which burrows into the skin producing pruritus (pus) and areas which develop into wounds and cause alopecia. When the mite is in the environment, it can be very contagious especially with young or immunosuppressed dogs. Not all types of scabies are considered zoonoses. The most common one in dogs is known as sarcoptic mange and is cause by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei.

Preventing these diseases most commonly involves hygiene. Aspiration of areas, disinfection and regular washing of bedding and other material which comes in contact with the dog is vital. It is also important to keep the dog under close observation and take it to the veterinarian when you see any initial symptoms.

Rabies passed on from dogs to humans

Although the disease is practically eradicated in certain parts of the world such as Western Europe and North America, it is important to have it on this list of communicable diseases between dogs and humans. It still causes numerous human deaths in other parts of the world such as Asia and Africa. In Central and South America we can find high risk regions as well as those which have long established vaccination programs, making cases less likely.

Rabies is a viral disease which affects the brain. There is a vaccine which is the only way to fight it, both in terms of prevention and in fighting infection. Rabies affects the central nervous system and is fatal once symptoms appear. It is transmitted through saliva, so is passed on from dogs to humans through bites. If the anti-rabies medication is not given before the viral infection reaches the brain, the person or dog will die. This is why immediate action is so necessary.

Other diseases dogs can transmit to people

In addition to the above diseases, humans can also contract leishmaniasis or leptospirosis from dogs. Below we explain how:

Leishmaniasis in dogs and humans

This parasitic disease has considerable scope, hence its inclusion on this list. As with dirofilariasis, the dog dos not infect humans directly, but acts as a reservoir for the disease which is also transmitted by mosquito bites.

The symptoms are varied as it is divided into different types, but they all will form some sort of skin legion whether sores or ulcers. Treatment is essential as some forms of leishmaniasis can be fatal if left untreated. Vaccination against the disease is available, but prevention is the most important method of treatment.

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Leptospirosis in dogs and humans

After reviewing the main pathologies which can be passed on from dogs to people, we end with leptospirosis. This is a bacterial disease for which there is no vaccine. The symptoms it produces are varied and can affect the digestive system, the liver or kidneys. The bacteria spreads through the urine of dogs and can remain in the ground for a period of months. Both other dogs and humans can be infected by coming in contact with this material. Infected material can also get into the body through an open wound or by drinking contaminated water. This disease requires veterinary treatment.

External parasites transmitted from dogs to humans

Fleas, ticks and live are all parasites which can easily transfer from a dog’s skin to our own. Although a change of host does not necessarily constitute the spread of disease, these parasites can pass on disease through their bites, eggs and droppings. These disease may be some of the ones written about above, but they can also pass on diseases such as Lyme disease.

In general, these external parasites can lead to symptoms such as itching, rashes, open sores and even gastrointestinal problems. To avoid a possible infestation, we need to ensure the hygiene of our home and perform regular examinations of our dogs, especially if they have been somewhere where these parasites are likely to inhabit.

Precautionary measures

As we have seen, there are many diseases, infections, parasites and conditions which can be transmitted from canines to humans. To best prevent this from happening, there are some precautionary measures you can take:

  • Internal and external deworming with regular top ups and knowing the particular hazards in your area.
  • Maintaining an appropriate vaccination schedule.
  • Avoid walking during times when mosquitoes are most prevalent.
  • Regularly cleaning and disinfecting the places our dog likes to spend their time, especially if we have more than one.
  • Washing our hands when we touch our dog and their toys, especially if we are eating. You have to be careful with children in particular when they handle dogs.
  • Go the veterinarian for regular check ups.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to 9 Diseases Dogs Can Transfer to Humans, we recommend you visit our Prevention category.

Can Dogs Get Fleas From Cats?

Fleas—nasty little critters that are famous for infesting your pets, your home and sometimes having the nerve to jump on and bite you as well—have been annoying people and pets for centuries. They jump, up to several inches, between hosts and bite their victims to obtain a blood meal. There are over 2,000 different types of flea species in the world. Some can only survive on certain species others thrive on several species, but most will bite anyone available whether they can survive off their blood or not. To make matters a bit more confusing, cat fleas, the species Ctenocephalides felis are the common flea found in North America, and Ctenocephalides canis , or dog fleas are more common in Europe. But, both species infest cats and dogs and can even bite you if their favorite furry friends are not available.

Can Dogs Get Fleas From Cats?

Indeed, your dog can get fleas from cats, especially if they live in North America, where “cat” fleas are the most common type of flea and frequently infect both cats and dogs. This may seem odd, that the most prevalent type of flea is called cat fleas and they infect dogs and cats alike, but this is the one thing that our cats and dogs can agree on, “Fleas Suck!”

Does My Dog Have Fleas?

You may at first notice your furry friend has fleas when they start itching excessively. If infestation becomes excessive, continued scratching can result in secondary infections. In addition, fleas can cause an allergic dermatitis reactions in your dog. Fleas are 2-3 mm in length, wingless, and have flat bodies. Their larvae are slightly bigger and dirty white in color. Infestation is not just a result of adults being present, but eggs, which are more or less invisible, will also be present on your dog, in your home, or in your yard.

Visible small red or black insects on your dog’s coat

Flea dirt, from flea droppings, resemble little black specks on your dog’s coat and skin

Scratching, licking, biting due to itchiness

Hair loss, scabs, sores and hot spots on your dog’s skin

Pale gums from anemia

Tapeworms, which may be transmitted from flea bites

Your dog can acquire fleas from another infected animal, either cat or dog, or from contaminated soil or debris. Feral cats are common sources of transmitting fleas, as there is little barrier to their spreading the pesky creature far and wide.

Determining what type of flea your dog has usually requires microscopic analysis, and may be irrelevant, as regardless of the type of flea present, the goal will be to remove them as soon as possible!

You can read more on flea infestations in your dog at Fleas in Dogs and Flea Control Allergies in Dogs .

How Do I Treat My Dog’s “Cat” Fleas?

To treat a flea infestation in your dog, there are several steps to ensure complete eradication of the unwelcome guests. Your veterinarian can provide you information on what to do and ensure fleas are addressed, and recommend several products to aid you.

First you will want to kill the adult fleas on your dog. This can be done by:

Using a commercially available or natural flea dip, and/or shampoo. Follow the directions on the package or from a holistic veterinarian. Usually dips are not rinsed off your dog, and both dips and shampoos need to be left on your dog for several minutes or longer to be effective. These treatments usually need to be repeated in several days as eggs hatch and a new generation of blood sucking pests infects your pet.

Flea powders and flea collars can be used to prevent or kill fleas

Oral medication in the form of tablets

Topical medication that absorbs through the skin is also available to eradicate fleas in your dog

All cats and dogs in your home will need to be treated because if one is infected, you can bet they all are. Medication may need to be repeated several times as new generations hatch out.

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The next step is removing fleas and their larvae from your home and yard. A variety of options are available:

Hiring a professional exterminator

Clean your home and yard of all fleas, eggs, and larvae by vacuuming—sprinkling boric acid on carpets prior to vacuuming may help

Clean bedding in hot water frequently

Remove debris in yard, mow lawn

Hang mats, rugs etc. in direct sunlight to make fleas flee.

Use several commercially available products to kill or inhibit flea development

Use commercially available flea traps

Use Nylar around your home periodically to inhibit flea development

Check out a variety of natural remedies that are available to discourage fleas

How Are Fleas Similar in Dogs, Cats and Humans?

Fleas will bite humans as well as cats and dogs, causing itchy, red spots where bites occurred.

Humans, dogs, and cats should refrain from itching or interfering with flea bites so as not to cause secondary infections.

Anesthetic creams will reduce discomfort and antihistamines may reduce allergic symptoms to flea bites in all animals

How Are Fleas Different in Dogs, Cats and Humans?

Although fleas will bite humans, they can not thrive on human blood and therefore do not infest or reside long term on human hosts like they do their preferred furry victims.

The location fleas are found on can vary between hosts. Cat fleas tend to infest the head and neck area of cats, whereas they are more often found on the hindquarters of dogs. Humans often get bitten on the lower legs.

Case Study

A pet owner has two small terriers who love to play outside in their fenced in yard and have made friends with the local stray cat. Feeling sorry for the wayward kitty, the pet owner even puts out food for him. The stray makes himself at home in the terriers’ yard— unfortunately, so do the cat fleas he his harboring, who quickly infest the pile of yard waste waiting to be disposed of, and jump from kitty to the terriers while lounging with his newfound friends. Soon the terriers are scratching, and there are fleas in their bedding in the house. The vigilant pet owner treats her terriers with flea dips and medications, cleans her house and pet bedding, removes debris from the yard, and calls a local cat rescue, where our stray kitty is taken in to be treated for his fleas and find a forever home.

Can you get worms from dogs? Symptoms in humans & prevention

Table of Contents

Can you get worms from dogs? Symptoms in humans & prevention

Can you get worms from dogs? How to prevent symptoms of infection from most common worms as tapeworm, roundworms & hookworm in humans?

Are you a dog owner? Do you wonder can people get worms from dogs?

Yes, it is very much possible for you to get infected with hookworms, tapeworms or roundworms from your dog.

Here is what you should know about this.

Worms in dogs

#1 Hookworms in dogs

Hookworms from dogs can enter a human host usually from their skin. Such an infection can happen to you if you walk over contaminated soil using your bare feet.

This can even happen if you touch soil where your dog has urinated or excreted. Hookworms infest your dog’s intestines, while if it infects you, it will live under your skin and cause painful rashes which itch terribly.

Hookworms generally stay under your body’s skin until they die. But at times they can also travel to your intestines and even your lungs.

Hookworm symptoms in humans

Symptoms of hookworm infestation are you getting a wheezing cough, diarrhea, pain in some particular area, anemia resulting in weight loss.

Occasionally hookworm infection can even cause death.

#2 Dog tapeworm in humans

Tapeworm is yet another type of worm, which can spread from your dog to you. These worms get their name as they are flat in nature and have a ribbon-like appearance.

These happen to be one of the most common parasites which live in the intestines of your dogs.

Tapeworm infection in dogs results by swallowing infected fleas. If you, in turn, swallow infected fleas, you are at risk of infection.

Tapeworm symptoms in humans

Symptoms of tapeworm infection in humans are nausea, diarrhea, pain in your abdomen, weakness, excessive hunger or loss of appetite.

Tapeworm infection in humans can lead to intestinal blockages. If untreated, complications include affecting your heart, eyes, brain and liver. It can become life-threatening to humans if not treated.

#3 Roundworms in dogs

Roundworms look like a strand of spaghetti. They live in your dog’s intestines too.

If your dog has roundworms and defecates on the ground, the eggs of the roundworms pass into the soil. If you touch the infected soil with your bare hands, you can get infected.

Roundworm eggs have a two week gestation period after which they can lead to infections in humans. Once inside your body, the worms can migrate to your lungs, eyes, brains and liver.

Symptoms of roundworms in humans

The signs of roundworm infection in humans depend on which part of your body the worms travel to. There have been cases of permanent vision loss happening in the case of eye infection due to ringworms.

Lung infections due to ringworms cause coughing and asthma-like symptoms.

Worm prevention for humans

Precautions and cure due to worm infection from dogs:

Make sure your dog goes through regular worming treatment and flea control. After playing with your dog, be sure to wash your hands and feet properly.

Do not kiss your dog and do not allow your dog to lick you or other humans on the face.

Take care to remove any dog feces in a prompt fashion using either gloves or a plastic bag and ensure you avoid any contact between your skin and the dog feces.
If you have young children, try to prevent them from eating grass or soil, especially if your dog plays outdoors.

In case you see any symptoms of infection in your children or your family, consult your doctor immediately.

Can you get worms from dogs? Symptoms in humans & prevention

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