10 Contageous Dog Diseases You Can Get From Your Pet

 These are contageous dog diseases that we can get from them.

1. Tapeworm

This parasite can be transmitted from accidentally ingesting a flea from your dog or cat. Symptoms of flea tapeworm infection include stomach aches, diarrhea, and an itchy butt.

2. Ringworm

Often confused with another zoonotic disease called roundworm, ringworm is a fungus that is fairly common in dogs and cats. It is often found in shelters and can be passed to people who pet an infected animal. It usually leaves people with an uncomfortable skin rash.

I got ringworm from some dogs I was boarding.  Not pretty, but easily treated with apple cider  vinegar applied continuously.  Yes, vinegar does the trick!

3. Roundworm

This parasite is found in almost every puppy and kitten. It is usually transmitted by their mother before they’re born, or from drinking their mother’s milk. The puppies and kittens then spread it through their poop. People can accidentally ingest roundworms if they handle dirt (or poop) containing nasty roundworm eggs and forget to wash their hands (or don’t wash thoroughly) before eating. Fortunately, most people don’t get horrible symptoms, but for those that do, symptoms can include stomach problems, vision problems, and seizures. It can also lead to death, but it is rare.   WASH HANDS THOROUGHLY!    Note the difference between the two.  One is a fungus, the other is a parasite.

4. Hookworm

Like roundworms, the hookworm is another parasite that can be spread through animal poop. It infects people through direct skin contact, like when walking outside in bare feet on contaminated dirt or sand. Because hookworms feed on blood in the intestinal tract, symptoms can range from gastrointestinal discomfort to blood loss leading to anemia and protein loss. In severe untreated cases, hookworm infection can result in stunted growth and cognitive dysfunction in children and in the developing feoteuses of pregnant women. In rare instances, hookworm infections can lead to death due to anemia and malnutrition.

5. Cat Scratch Disease

So called because the disease spreads when a cat that is infected with the bacterium Bartonella henselae bites or scratches a person hard enough to break the surface of the skin, or licks a person’s open wound. According to the CDC, cats can get infected with B. henselae from flea bites and flea dirt (droppings) getting into their wounds. By scratching and biting at the fleas, cats pick up the infected flea dirt under their nails and between their teeth. For people, there’s usually a mild infection associated with cat scratch fever where the injury occurs, but it can also cause swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, and a poor appetite. The full impact of Bartonella infections in people is just beginning to be explored.

6. Leptospira

Leptospira bacteria can be found in the urine of dogs. People can develop many symptoms similar to that of a cold (fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea), after which they feel better and then get sick again with severe kidney or liver disease, or infection of the brain (Weil’s disease). People can die from severe cases of leptospirosis.

8. Plague

While you may think this is no longer a real fear, the plague is still around in some parts of the world — possibly even your backyard. It is caused by a bacterium (Yersinia pestis) that infects fleas, which commonly attach themselves to dogs and cats and are then brought indoors. If bitten by the infected flea, you, in turn, can also become infected. If left untreated, this can lead to death.

9. Rabies

Rabies is a fairly well known virus that is transmitted through the exchange of blood or saliva (typically, a bite) from an infected animal. People with rabies can display signs such as fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting; it can even become fatal. Thankfully, it is no longer common in dogs or cats because of successful rabies vaccination programs.

10. Lyme Disease

Lyme disease, so called because it was originally discovered in Old Lyme, CT, is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world. It is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is frequently brought indoors by our pets, unbeknownst to them. Clinical signs of Lyme disease include red, expanding rash, fatigue, chills, fever, joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated, it can lead to facial palsy, heart palpitations, and even meningitis.

Ok, so here they are.  A few, roundworm and hookworm, can be transmitted through poop.   Leptospira, a bacteria, can be found in  dog urine.  Wash hands!!!!

Ticks carry plague,  fleas can cause cat scratch disease (or fever), and tapeworm.

The obvious conclusion is that you should maintain cleanliness at all times when dealing with your furry kids.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

310 919 9372




Hyperactivity in Dogs

Let’s look at some conditions that can be confused with hyper-activity.

  • Normal Puppy Behavior. Many young pups appear overly active, disobedient and uncontrollable. That’s because they are. Young pups take a while to learn voice commands and appropriate responses. In fact, they have so much energy and exuberance they can barely contain themselves during instructional sessions. For this reason, educating young pups should be done in short 15-minute sessions with realistic expectations of the level of attention that can be achieved. Expect your puppy to “crash” after a bout of physical activity (or a rigorous training session).
  • Overactive Adult Dogs. Certain breeds, especially those developed for fieldwork, seem as if they’re in perpetual motion. In the typical domestic situation, such dogs may appear to have boundless energy even as they approach late middle age. These dogs are displaying high activity levels, a quality for which they were originally developed. Normal everyday life is just not enough for such highly tuned individuals. Owners often find that they have to engage in high energy, extra-curricular work like fly ball or agility training to help such dogs blow off excess steam.
  • Pseudo-hyperactivity. Some dogs of medium-to-high activity level may appear to be hyperactive or overactive if they don’t get enough physical or mental stimulation. This cabin fever-like situation arises in dogs that spend many hours confined, sometimes in crates or in single rooms of the house, while both “parents” work and later sleep. These dogs may behave as if they are trying to cram 24 hours of fun into a one- or two-hour window of time, which is close to the truth.For such dogs, reorganizing their lifestyle to provide appropriate exercise and entertainment can go a long way toward resolving this version of “hyperactivity.”
  • Highly Reactive Dogs. Certain breeds of dog are more reactive than others. Breeds that might have been considered reactive have changed somewhat since early days but, nonetheless, reactive dogs still abound. The reactive dog, as opposed to the hyperactive dog, is one that reacts to every miniscule event in his environment with extraordinary (and only slowly waning) bursts of energy. If an icicle falls, leaves blow, or footsteps are heard on the path, such dogs go practically berserk, careening around the house, leaping up on couches, barking wildly, flailing and jumping in extraordinary kinetic displays and never seems to slow down. For some of these dogs, the pseudo-overactivity explanation may be part of the problem, too.
  • Attention-seeking Behavior. Dogs can learn to behave in almost any conceivable way if they are rewarded for it by their owners. If you pay attention to a dog only when he is barking, jumping, or otherwise making a nuisance of himself, that’s the behavior you will encourage. Basically, you are reinforcing unwanted behaviors. And remember, any attention is better than no attention for a needy dog – even when its in the form of scolding. The way to reverse learned “hyperactive” behavior is to reverse the reward schedule – paying attention to your dog when he is being good and ignoring him when he is misbehaving. Sometimes a bridging stimulus, such as a duck-call, will help focus a dog’s attention prior to you taking no further notice of him. Employing this technique will expedite the results of attention-withdrawal.
  • ADHD. Dogs this condition must (by definition) show poor attention span and have high levels of motor activity despite an apparently appropriate environment and lifestyle. In the home setting and in the clinic, they are virtually in constant motion, jumping around and reacting to even the mildest environmental perturbation. The only time they’re quiet is when they’re asleep – and even then they may twitch a lot. The energy level of these dogs is practically breathtaking both for the dog and observer. If a dog with a provisional diagnosis of hyperactivity comes into a veterinarian’s consulting room and falls asleep on the floor, it does not have ADHD. A fairly easy way for a veterinarian to make a provisional diagnosis of hyperactivity is to see how he feels after the consultation. If he is glad to get out of the room – because the dog’s behavior was so difficult to endure – then the dog may have hyperactivity. If a veterinarian finds he can tolerate the dog quite well, then the dog probably does not have the condition. Dogs with true hyperactivity may not be presented with that as the description of their behavior. Instead, owners may report that the dog runs in circles, is always jumping around like a kangaroo, or barks incessantly. Aggression and pushy attention-seeking behavior are other behaviors often associated with hyperactivity.The true test of ADHD is to give the dog a stimulant, say methylphenidate (Ritalin®) or D-amphetamine (Dexedrine®), under controlled clinical conditions, and to observe changes in heart rate, respiratory rate, and behavior. For a dog with ADHD, all these parameters will be reduced.Long-term management of these patients is by appropriate management coupled with treatment with psychostimulants. Longer acting stimulants are useful because of the dog’s rapid metabolic rate and exceptional detoxification abilities. While Ritalin® and Dexedrine® are sometimes effective, newer drugs, like Adderall®, may prove even more effective.Hyperactivity (or ADHD), as we currently understand it, is a genetic condition. It is rare and can only be diagnosed by a veterinarian or a behaviorist. If your dog seems hyperactive, you should first look at lifestyle issues, his environment, management, and rewards. Most likely one or more of these factors will underlie the “hyperactive” behavior – but if not, ADHD remains a remote possibility.

I think the best thing to do is if you are faced with a rambunctious puppy or adult dog is to find a vet who is knowledgeable about canine behavior or find a certified canine behaviorist {these people are not vets, but study behavior of dogs}.  One thing to remember is that puppy behavior diminishes with age.  I notice a difference in Bailey since he was 3 months old.  It’s so interesting watching him grow up and see his behavior change with maturity.


Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

310 919 9372



Dangerous Mistakes With Your Pet Medicine

Do you have a drawer or cabinet full of half-used, perhaps expired pet medications? We all know that we are supposed to dispose of “extra” medications, not keep them around “just in case,” but if you’re anything like me, frugality makes getting rid of something that might be useful in the future awfully hard.
When you pet isn’t feeling well, you want to call your vet, and then think of the cost.   Having some meds at home may be useful instead of a vet visit.  You’re trying  to avoid going to the clinic.  However, if you “treat” your pet with the meds at home, something may go wrong with your pet’s health.  This would be terrible.
We will continue to try to medicate our pets without going to the vet.   Here are some things to keep in mind.  Important to read!!
Oral Antibiotics

What are you doing with “leftover” oral antibiotics anyway? Weren’t you told to give your pet the entire prescription? Anyway… do not be tempted to give your pet whatever is lying around when a new problem arises. Antibiotics have no efficacy against viruses, fungi, or any disease that isn’t caused, at least in part, by a bacterial infection. Also, a particular type of antibiotic is only active against a certain subset of bacteria. What are the chances that the antibiotic you have on hand is the ideal one for treating the infection your pet now has? Finally, expired antibiotics can lose their effectiveness. Giving your pet an antibiotic when it is not needed, the wrong type of antibiotic, or an expired antibiotic can result in antibiotic resistant infections that are very difficult to treat.


Avoid giving your pet any medication that contains a corticosteroid unless it has been prescribed by your veterinarian to treat your pet’s current medical problem. Corticosteroids suppress the immune system (among other things) and if your pet has an infection of any sort, they can make your pet’s condition worse rather than better. Prednisone, prednisolone, cortisone, hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, betamethasone, flumethasone, isoflupredone, methylprednisolone, and triamcinolone are all commonly prescribed corticosteroids. Check the medication label. If you see any of these listed as an active ingredient (any other ingredients that end in “-one” are suspect also) do not give that medication to your pet. This applies to both oral and topically applied medications.

Eye Medications

Unless your pet has a chronic eye condition and you are 100% sure you know that is what you are treating with previously prescribed medications, never put anything in your pet’s eyes without first consulting a veterinarian. Most eye injuries/disorders cause pets to have similar symptoms (redness, drainage, and squinting). Without an exam and a few simple tests, it is virtually impossible to know what is going on. Problems affecting the eyes have a disturbing tendency to go from bad to worse VERY quickly, particularly if they are treated with the wrong medication.


Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

310 919 9372



Dangerous Dog Treats that can Kill Your Dog

There is one thing on this list that I didn’t know about, and I should have,…..cheese.  This is due to the dog possibly being lactose intolerant.  So, like people, you know you are lactose intolerant after eating cheese and reacting to it.  Let’s not experiment with our doggies.   Lots of people use cheese as a vehicle to administer pills.  There are other ways:  pill pockets for one; or splitting or crushing pill and give in canned food.

  1. Chocolate:

As humans we might love chocolate, but for dogs it can be a killer. The toxic agent in chocolate is Theobromine and appears in all kinds of chocolate. Dark chocolate is the worst due to the concentrated Cocoa. Chocolate can cause dehydration and vomiting and is one of the most common causes of Canine poisoning.

  1. Cheese:

You might be surprised to learn that cheese is not good for many dogs. Apart from the fat content (obesity is growing in dogs) your dog could be Lactose intolerant which could lead to vomiting and diarrhea. This also applies to other dairy products too.

  1. Raw Fish and Meat:

Raw meat and raw fish can contain bacteria which can lead to food poisoning with certain types of fish such as Salmon can contain a parasite. If your dog eats affected food then this can lead to vomiting, fever and swollen Lymph Nodes. If not treated then this can be fatal within two weeks.

  1. Alcohol:

Giving your dog beer, wine or any type of alcohol can be life threatening. Symptoms are vomiting, dehydration, breathing difficulties and death. You should even stay away from desserts that contain alcohol too.

  1. Candy or Sweets:

Candy or anything that contains Xylitol (a common sweetener) can cause a sudden drop in your dog’s blood sugar, loss of coordination and seizures. If your dog is left untreated the they could die.

Keep your dog’s food simple and consistent.  They don’t have our digestive system, and they can’t tell us if they have a tummy ache.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

310 919 9372