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Published: Jun 29, 2012

Many owners today have welcomed their pets into all aspects of their lives - including their beds, couches and other spaces once reserved for human lounging only. As owners share more with their dogs, the likelihood of spreading zoonoses - diseases that can be transmitted between species - increases. However, there are easy ways to prevent the most common illnesses, keeping both human and canine members of the family safe and healthy.

Rabies is the most serious disease humans and animals can pass to each other, according to Some states, like Pennsylvania, require the rabies vaccine for all pets. Even if it is not required, it is the best way to prevent rabies in dogs and cats, and all animals should be vaccinated between the ages of 12 and 16 weeks old, according to VCA Animal Hospitals.

Parasites like ticks on dogs can spread zoonotic diseases like Lyme disease, according to the news outlet. Although a dog cannot directly transmit this disease to a human, it can carry ticks into the house and onto human beds and couches, where they can hitch onto people and spread disease. The best way to reduce the risk of ticks and tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease is to keep dogs on flea and tick preventative medications and check them for ticks when returning from a walk outside.

Other more common parasites such as worms in dogs and cats and other intestinal parasites such as Giardia in dogs and cats can also be spread to humans and routine checking of fecal samples is recommended to avoid spreading these zoonotic diseases. It is important for all pets to be on monthly pet parasite protection in order to protect them and your family from these diseases. Always practice good hygiene when dealing with your pet - don't allow them to lick your face or hands and always wash your hands thoroughly after handling your pet and picking up pet waste.