Is Strep Throat a Possible Illness for Dogs?

If you’re feeling under the weather, snuggling with your dog can be a comforting way to lift your spirits. But what happens if you have a sore throat and end up with a strep diagnosis? Can dogs also get strep throat? And if they do, is it contagious to humans?

Strep throat, characterized by swollen tonsils and difficulty swallowing, is highly contagious among humans. Find out more about the possibility of dogs getting strep throat, whether it can be passed to humans, common symptoms to watch out for, and how veterinarians treat strep throat in dogs.

Can Dogs Contract Strep Throat?

Yes, dogs can indeed get strep throat. According to Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the AKC, strep throat in dogs is caused by an infection of the Streptococcus bacterium Group G, similar to how it occurs in humans. However, the specific bacterium responsible for strep throat in dogs is different from the one that affects humans, known as Streptococcus pyogenes Group A.

While it is possible for a dog to pass a streptococcal infection to a person through close contact, the chances are rare due to the different strains of the bacteria involved.

Senior Welsh Springer Spaniel laying down on a white blanket.
(c) 2018 PradeepGK/Shutterstock

Dr. Klein recommends maintaining good hygiene practices around pets, particularly when someone in the household is ill. “Practicing good hygiene in the home is always advised, especially in households with young children or individuals with weakened immune systems,” he explains. This precaution applies regardless of whether the sickness is COVID-19, roundworms, or any other transmissible pathogens like bacteria, viruses, or parasites.”

Symptoms of Strep Throat in Dogs

If your dog has been exposed to strep throat, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Swollen throat leading to difficulty swallowing.
  • Fever.
  • Coughing or gagging due to throat pain.
  • Lethargy.
  • Loss of appetite.

Treatment and Prevention of Strep Throat in Dogs

To treat strep throat in dogs, antibiotics are usually prescribed to combat the bacterial infection. Rest is also crucial for your dog while their body fights the illness.

Ensure your pet stays hydrated during this period, even if they find it painful to swallow. Encourage them to drink water and offer warm salt-free broth or moist foods to aid in recovery.

Dachshund with its owner getting checked by a veterinarian.Dachshund with its owner getting checked by a veterinarian.
Alexander Raths via Getty Images

Since dogs usually contract strep throat from other animals rather than humans, it’s essential to isolate any infected pets in a multi-dog household to prevent the spread of the illness. Avoid sharing food, water bowls, beds, and toys to reduce the risk of transmitting germs. Thoroughly wash any bedding used by the infected dog during their recovery period.

There is no known preventive measure or vaccine for strep throat in dogs. The condition is more commonly seen in very young puppies and senior dogs, as their immune systems are either underdeveloped or weakened. However, Dr. Klein emphasizes that poor dental hygiene is a significant factor in throat infections in dogs. Regular tooth brushing can help prevent such infections, along with practicing good hygiene and ensuring your dog is vaccinated against other respiratory diseases to minimize the risk of streptococcal outbreaks.

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Is Strep Throat a Possible Illness for Dogs?

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