Salmonella In Dogs

Salmonella is a bacteria that can impact humans and animals alike.

Though we often associate this agent with infecting humans through food poisoning, our canine friends can fall victim to this same fate as well.

Dogs may not get as sick as you and I, but they still can acquire this common GI bacteria.

In this article we will get into the details of salmonella infections in dogs, and help you better understand how you can protect everyone in the home moving forward.

Salmonella In Dogs

What Is Salmonella?

Salmonella is a Gram-negative bacteria that is a member of the Enterobacteriaceae family.

There are over 2,000 types of salmonella bacteria in the world, but all of them typically occur within the intestines.

Salmonella can be found in every corner of the globe, typically infecting items ranging from poultry to bodily wastes.

Can Dogs Get A Salmonella Infection?

Yes, our dogs can fall victim to salmonella infections.

It is less common for salmonella to cause illness in dogs as it does in humans, but it can certainly happen in dogs that are compromised in any way.

If a dog consumes an item that is contaminated with the bacteria, there is always a chance of developing a GI infection.

Is Salmonella Infection Common In Dogs?

Salmonella infections are not particularly common in dogs, but they can still occur.

A dog’s intestinal anatomy is designed to protect them against harmful bacteria, as they have a much shorter digestive tract than we do.

Most salmonella infections in humans develop due to having so much time to replicate in the intestines, so their short digestive tract limits this complication.

Dogs also have a lower pH of the acid that resides in their stomach.

Some experts believe that this makes it more challenging for bacteria to thrive, potentially decreasing the risk of infection altogether.

These traits may aid in protecting dogs from bacterial infections, but they are not full proof.

Any form of immune compromise can make it easy for these pathogens to replicate, ranging from forms of stress to underlying illnesses.

Due to this, you should never rule out the possibility of salmonella infections in dogs.

Causes Of Salmonella In Dogs

It is rare for salmonella infections to occur in healthy dogs, as their immune systems and digestive tracts are typically strong enough to tackle any harmful agents.

However, there are a few situations in which salmonella can lead to illness in certain pups.

Dogs with compromised immune systems are more likely to develop disease as a result of salmonella exposure.

This includes dogs that are under 6 months of age, dogs in their senior years, dogs that are in stressful situations, and any dogs with an underlying illness.

Each of these scenarios can lead to a disturbance in GI health, making it easier for the bacteria to wreak havoc.

If your dog falls under any of the categories mentioned above, there are a few ways in which they can be exposed to the bacteria.

Some of the most common ways that dogs are exposed to salmonella include:

  • Raw meat, especially poultry
  • Raw eggs
  • Infected water
  • Wet food left at room temperature
  • Stool of infected dogs
  • Saliva from infected dogs

If you think your dog may have come in contact with any of the items listed above, we suggest reaching out to your vet for further guidance.

Symptoms of Salmonella In Dogs

Salmonella will typically impact the digestive tract, so you can expect symptoms of GI illness if your dog is experiencing a salmonella infection.

Some of the most common symptoms of GI upset from salmonella poisoning include:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
  • Bloody diarrhea

Just like any other form of bacterial infection, some dogs will experience severe forms of the disease.

Dogs with a severe form of salmonella illness may experience weight loss, change in heart rate, swollen lymph nodes, chronic diarrhea, and sepsis.

If your dog is experiencing a severe salmonella infection, your veterinarian will likely lean toward aggressive forms of treatment.

Treating Salmonella Infection In Dogs

When it comes to the treatment of salmonella infections in dogs, each case will vary based on severity.

For example, if your dog consumed raw chicken and has developed a mild case of diarrhea, your veterinarian may be able to treat your pup on an outpatient basis.

Some dogs will only require a 24 hour fast and fluid therapy, allowing them to return to their normal selves within a few days.

However, if your dog is experiencing a severe form of GI upset, your veterinarian may suggest aggressive care.

This may involve time in the hospital on IV fluids, medication for GI upset, as well as treatment for any other symptoms they have developed due to the bacteria.

Treating salmonella in dogs is not a one size fits all situation, so we suggest trusting your vet’s guidance based on your dog’s illness.

Should I Give My Dog Raw Meat?

Raw meat is a common vector of salmonella infections in humans and animals.

Due to this, many wonder if it’s safe to offer your dog a raw diet.

While you will get many opinions on this question when doing online research, most veterinary experts will vote against it.

Multiple studies from 2011 to 2021 state how dangerous it can be to offer your dog raw meat.

Not only can it cause illness in our canine friends, but it is considered a major health concern for humans as well.

A 2021 study states that feeding pets raw diets could be one of the factors fueling the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in humans.

At the end of the day, the potential benefits of raw feeding will never outweigh the dangers that are on the table with this diet choice.

If you still have any questions about feeding raw meat to your dog, we suggest speaking with your veterinarian.

Can Dogs Give Humans Salmonella?

Dogs can give humans salmonella if their owners come in contact with any contaminated stool or saliva.

Infected dogs can shed the bacteria in their stool for 4-6 weeks after infection, increasing the risk of potential contact when owners clean up their dog’s waste.

While much of the risk is diminished with standard hygiene practices, you can never rule it out completely.

Can Dogs Give Other Dogs Salmonella?

Dogs can spread the salmonella bacteria to other dogs if their contaminated waste is left behind.

The bacteria can be spread in their stool and saliva for weeks after their initial infection, making contact with other dogs risky during this time period.

This is why it is so important to keep your dog away from any animal wastes when possible, and refraining from playing with unknown canine friends.

If your dog has been infected with salmonella within the last 6 weeks, we suggest keeping them away from other furry friends when possible, or at least removing their stool from any areas shared with other dogs.

Can You Prevent Salmonella Infection In Dogs?

We can’t always prevent our dogs from being exposed to bacteria, but there are a few ways to limit their exposure going forward.

Some of the best ways to prevent salmonella infections in your dog include:

  • Not offering your dog any raw meat
  • Contacting your vet immediately if your dog consumes raw meat
  • Not offering your dog raw eggs
  • Keeping your dog away from any animal waste
  • Avoiding interaction with unknown dogs

Final Thoughts

Salmonella infections may not be as common in dogs as they are in humans, but the risk is never off the table.

Be sure to avoid any high risk activities when it comes to preventing salmonella exposure, and your dog should be safe from this dangerous pathogen.

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