Can Dogs Carry Strep?

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Introduction

You know how miserable it can be to have strep throat - that scratchy, achy, horrible feeling plaguing you every time you swallow. You hate having it. But did you know that your dog can suffer from it, too? 

It's true! Strep throat is a zoonotic condition, which means that it can easily spread between humans and other species. That means your poor, little pup can both carry strep throat and catch it from you! 

Pups can house bacteria in their throats just like people can, so it's fairly easy for the strep infection to get caught in there. Because of this, they're definitely capable of passing it to other animals or people close to them. Want to know what signs your dog might be exhibiting to let you know he's got the infection? Want to know how to look out for his well-being and how to avoid getting and giving strep from and to your pup?

You're in luck! We've laid out a doggy-strep guide below that should be of help! 

Signs Your Dog Has Strep or is Carrying the Infection

Odds are, if your dog has strep, he's showing you some symptoms. However, that's not always the case, so make sure you're staying in tune with your dog's behaviors, as strep-like symptoms aren't always manifested in dogs the way they are in humans. 

One of the biggest indicators of doggy strep is a postnasal drip - if you have an extra-snotty or mucusy dog, it might be time to consider that he has strep or is carrying the infection. Check out your dog's tonsils, too. Do you notice they're larger or spotted? This can happen to your dog when they get strep, just like with humans. 

You might also notice your dog struggling to breathe normally, having a hard time swallowing, or gagging a bit. If your dog is struggling eat, refusing to eat, or seems disinterested in treats, this is also an indicator that something is wrong. Excessive lip-licking is also a big sign that hetheirs not feeling up-to-snuff.

Body Language

Your dog is probably giving you some very basic body language signals to let you know something is up. Look for things like:
  • Panting
  • Weakness
  • Lip licking
  • Raspy panting
  • Drooling
  • Nose licking
  • Tongue hanging

Other Signs

There are more things to be on the lookout for, though. Check your dog for any of these symptoms:
  • Inactivity
  • Refusing to Swallow
  • Weight Loss
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Coughing or Choking
  • Discolored Tonsils
  • Mucus or Discharge from Nose or Mouth

Historic Causes of Strep Throat in Dogs

Most often, doggy strep throat can be caused by a lot of the same things that human strep can. If your pup's immune system is down from the weather, a previous illness, or something else, he's definitely at risk of contracting a bacterial infection from another dog or person. 

Because your dog can harbor strep in his throat just like a person, it's definitely possible for your pooch to get sick from giving puppy-dog kisses to the infected. If you have strep and want to spare your pup, keep your distance from him!

The Science Behind the Strep Infection in Dogs

As we said before, strep is a zoonotic condition, so it can be transferred between animals and humans. While it's not incredibly likely that you and your dog will catch strep from each other, the possibility is there.

Zoonotic conditions are diseases that can be transmitted between humans and animals, and although strep falls under that category, it's not the most likely situation. Canine germs are usually hard to pass onto people, but if you're feeling under the weather, it's always possible that your sick doggo could have given it to you. 

It's actually far more likely that you pass the strep onto your doggo, so if you're sick, make sure you're keeping your distance. By keeping away from your dog during this time, you're saving them a lot of discomfort. Even more important, refrain from giving your dog any food or treats you've put your mouth on first. 

How to Train Your Dog to Deal With Strep

The first step to dealing with doggy strep is making sure that your pup is comfortable with the vet - you're definitely going to need to visit the dog-tor to help him heal. Make sure that you're associating the vet with positive reinforcements so he has a good experience! 
It's likely your pup is going to need to take antibiotics to help him recover, so it's important he knows how to take medication easily and calmly. For excitable dogs, teach them a throw-and-catch game. For dogs who prefer a calmer method, teach them to take medicine from your hand or mix it into their food. 

You'll also want to train your dog to enjoy some alone time while they recover, as their condition is very contagious! Reward them immensely once they've healed with a lot of bonding time, attention, and outside playing!

How to React if You or Your Dog Have Strep Throat

  • Talk to your vet.
  • Consider switching to wet food while your dog's throat recovers.
  • If your vet okays it, give your dog a teaspoon of honey for their throat.
  • Add water to your dog's food to make it easier for them to swallow.
  • Give them any medicine your vet sees fit.
  • Monitor your kids and other animals to make sure they don't get the infection.
  • Avoid sharing treats with your dog.
  • Avoid sharing kisses with your dog.

Tell Us About Your Dog's Dealings with Strep Throat