Sometimes my dog has had to have antibiotics. This made me wonder whether my family could also get any antimicrobial resistance from my dog or vice versa?


Antibiotic resistance can affect the health of both people and animals. In fact, many microbes (germs) do not recognise these types of boundaries, and the same bacteria, virus and fungi can be found in different types of animals, and humans. This includes our pets, such as dogs who can also get bacterial illness, sometimes requiring treatment with antibiotics. Veterinarians are becoming more focused on their use of antibiotics and significant improvements have been made by vets to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics to decrease the risk of antimicrobial resistance in the future.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria that transfer from an animal to a human, is called ‘zoonotic’ – this just means it can adapt and survive on animals and humans. Therefore, it is possible for you to get a bacterial infection from one of your pets that is resistant to antibiotics. This doesn’t mean stop loving and caring for your pets – but it does mean that you need to take some additional basic hygiene precautions, including hand washing after touching the dog, and avoiding close contact when you are eating to reduce the risk of resistant bacteria passing from your dog and into your gut. Talk to your veterinarian if you are concerned.

Under no circumstances must you ever use medication intended for your dog, or vice versa. Even though the same types (classes) of antibiotics are commonly used on humans and animals, the doses, strength and duration will usually differ markedly.