Can My Dog or Cat Give Me a Cold Sore?

While an owner’s bond with his or her pet can never be understated, neither can the importance of general health. This is especially true when to comes to the topic of cats, dogs, and cold sores.

Are you concerned that your pet could give you the herpes simplex virus? Will being licked or kissed by your dog result in a health problem for you? Do dogs get cold sores? Are you concerned that you could be at risk?

If you have those questions on your mind, and potentially much more, this material could be of benefit to you. This is especially true if you are worried about how cold sores are transmitted.

Although many of us love our pets and treat them like family, there could be a price to pay. Being licked or kissed by your dog or cat can potentially result in an unwelcome infection or virus.

Can Animals Get HSV-1?

Although pets can carry a plethora of viruses and contagious bacteria they do not carry HSV-1. Due to this fact it is indeed impossible to get a cold sore from your pet. It is important to understand that HSV-1 can only be transmitted from person-to-person, not from person to animal.

While both dogs and cats can carry herpes, as will be detailed shortly, HSV-1 is unique to humans. Your lovable animal(s) can lick your face, and you will never be at risk of developing a cold sore.

What are the risks if you have an existing cold sore? To your family pet, the risks are zero, however, the risk of additional infection is problematic for you. Your pet can indeed worsen your cold sore.

What are the final takeaways? Below are three important facts about cold sores and animals. These points are vital when it comes to answering questions related to animals, cold sores, and HSV-1.

  • Animals cannot carry or acquire HSV-1. This means your dog or cat cannot give you a cold sore. Additionally, this also means that you cannot pass a cold sore to a pet.
  • Animals can carry herpes and get cold sores. These are both vital points that will be discussed in detail shortly. However, it is critical to note this is not due to HSV-1.
  • Your pet can give you bacteria and germs through saliva. If you have any existing wounds, they can become infected. If you have an active sore, your pet can make your condition worse.

What Happens If Dogs Lick Cold Sores?

While cats, simply by their nature, are not as likely to lick your face, but dogs are a different story. Although their affection is adorable and charming, it is important to be on your guard. This is especially true if you are trying to heal a cold sore.

If you are enduring a cold sore outbreak and a dog licks your face negative results can occur.  Essentially reinfecting the area with germs and bacteria, treatment will be required ASAP. The biggest pitfall can involve a prolonged period of recovery.

Once you can clean the sore, it will be critical to medicate the area. Additionally, consumption of water and beverages high in vitamins and minerals will be important. Once your sore has been compromised, the objective is to build up your immune system.

Here are a few simple steps you can take if your dog has licked your cold sore.

  • Clean the sore and surrounding areas. The use of warm water with anti-bacterial soap can eliminate germs. This is critical after your animal has licked your cold sore and mouth region.
  • Apply treatment. Creams, ointments, etc. Many valuable products to treat cold sores have been detailed and reviewed on this site.
  • Re-hydrate your body. Consume plenty of fluids to strengthen your immune system. This will allow your body to heal the cold sore naturally. Various foods can also serve as treatment aids to HSV-1.

Diseases That Are Passed from Animal to Human

Whether you carry HSV-1 or not, allowing your dog to kiss you can create some serious issues. If the transmission of disease is a major concern, this section will be vital to you.

Allowing your dog to kiss and lick you is simply unsanitary. Allowing germs and bacteria to spread in this fashion can cause illness. Dog-to-human diseases are unfortunately quite common, and many can be avoided.

What about cats? While cats licking your face is quite rare, both dogs and cats can make you sick. In some cases, animals can transmit some very serious diseases to humans.

List of Common Animal-to-Human Diseases

  • Regarded as one of the most contagious, ringworm can be quite troublesome. Red patches on the skin are typically the main symptom in humans. Often treated with various creams and ointments, ringworm can lay dormant for months. One way to avoid it is to wash your animal’s bedding and toys.
  • Roundworm is the most common internal parasite found in cats. Kittens are often infected by their mother’s milk. Older cats usually contract roundworm from consuming dead prey. Coughing, stomach pain, shortness of breath, and bloody stool are common symptoms in humans. It is estimated that over 10,000 children are infected each year. Treated with antibiotics, keeping your cat indoors is one way to fight roundworm.
  • Cat scratch disease. Known as the Bartonella germ, this problematic bacteria can be found on the nails of a cat. Transmitted to humans through biting and scratching, this disease can be serious. Some symptoms in humans can include red bumps near the infected area, headache, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. Joint pain and weight loss can also manifest. Sometimes antibiotics are needed for treatment. Keeping your cat’s nails short are essential to prevent this disease.

While a host of other illnesses do exist, the three listed above should serve as a warning. Although your furry friend is unable to give you a cold sore, they can potentially give you much worse. It is important to always stay informed.

Does kissing a dog increase the risk of cold sores?

What Is Feline Herpes?

Quite different from HSV-1, your cat can carry the feline herpes virus. In fact, the herpes virus in cats is one of the most common causes of upper respiratory illness in felines.

Here is a brief overview on what you need to know about cats, herpes, and how it can impact you.

  • Feline viral rhinopneumonitis (FVR) and rhinotracheitis virus and feline herpes virus type 1 (FHV-1), are the formal names. Most cats are exposed to herpes at some point in their life.
  • Discharge from a cat’s infected eye, mouth, or nose is the most common form of transmission. Sharing litter boxes and food can also spread the virus from cat-to-cat.
  • An infected mother can spread herpes to her unborn. It is common for catteries and households with multiple cats to be a contagious zone for herpes.
  • Humans are not at risk. It is important to recognize classifications. Herpes comes in different forms. This is the case for humans as well as animals. FVR and FHV-1 will not give you a cold sore.
  • Most cats that acquire herpes never get rid of the virus. Similar to humans in this regard, treatment is available although the virus remains. Medications and antibiotics are available to cats in virtually the same way they are to humans.

Although not addressed in detail within this section, dogs can get herpes as well. Known as the canine herpes virus or CHV, herpes can be potentially fatal in puppies. This virus cannot be transmitted to humans.

Pets, Cold Sores, and Education

While many of us do treat our animals like people it is important always to be careful and vigilant. This is paramount when it comes to infection and disease. Just because your dog or cat cannot give you a cold sore does not mean all is well.

Although this material essentially blurs the line between human health and pet health, there is a common ground. Understanding pet health can be critical to protecting your health.

If you are currently lacking the proper knowledge as it relates to cold sores this site is here to help. Understanding that animals cannot transmit HSV-1 is only a small part of keeping you and your family safe.