Can Dogs Get Disease From Pet Turtles?


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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I have two dogs and several turtles in my home. It’s hard to handle both pets in the same house. However, I worry about their activities, as monitoring them for 24 hours is impossible. The common question is, can dogs get diseases from pet turtles?

Turtles can transmit bacteria, parasites, and viruses to dogs if they are in direct contact. As turtles are the carriers of zoonotic bacteria and fungal diseases, they can transmit it to dogs through their saliva, urine, and water.

Are all turtles harmful to turtles? What diseases turtle can give to dogs? Can dogs and turtles get along? Keep reading to get the answers to all of these queries.

Key Highlights

  • Dogs can get various transmittable diseases from pet turtles.
  • Mostly, dogs can be affected by salmonella, and dogs can pass it to humans.
  • Besides these, diseases like Campylobacteriosis, Leptospirosis, Paratyphoid, and Mycoplasmosis can affect dogs.
  • Dogs can get salmonella if they lick or bite the turtles.
  • You need to consult the vet when the dogs lick or bite turtles and eat the baby turtles.
  • It takes 7 to 30 days to treat salmonella in dogs.
  • Turtles and dogs can share a home but don’t get along.
  • You can prevent diseases from turtles in dogs by following some hygiene tips.

Salmonella is a common bacteria that both turtles and their environments can carry. The CDC estimates that reptiles and amphibians are responsible for thousands of salmonella infections in the United States each year. Salmonella can be transmitted to dogs that lick their owners’ hands after handling a turtle or turtle supplies.

Can Dogs Get Diseases From Pet Turtles?

Dogs can get diseases from pet turtles. As humans can get bacterial infections, viruses, and parasites from turtles through direct contact, dogs can be affected by them.

See also  What Pets Get Along With Turtles? (Cats, Dogs, And?)

If your dogs are directly in touch with turtles, they can get contagious diseases like salmonella from them.

Salmonella in dogs is common these days. When a dog licks or bites a turtle, there’s a high chance of the dog getting salmonella. It can spread through eating contaminated food or water from a turtle’s tank.

What Diseases Turtles Can Transmit To Dogs?

DiseaseTransmission to dogsSymptomsTreatment
SalmonellaDirect contact with turtles and drinking polluted water of turtle tankVomiting, high fever,  diarrhea,  lazinessAntibiotics, isolating the infected dogs, follow vet’s guidance
CampylobacteriosisIn touch with turtle fecesAbdominal pain and diarrheaKeep your dogs on constant medication and maintain a proper hygiene routine
LeptospirosisDrinking polluted water or urine of affected turtlesKidney failure, muscle pain,  feverVaccinate your dogs, avoid keeping them near turtles
ParatyphoidAbsorbing contaminated water and foodFever and diarrheaThe vet suggested medication, keep changing their water and food
MycoplasmosisAirborne dropletsCough, nasal discharge and breathing issuesConsult vet and follow the instructions

How Turtles Can Give Dogs Salmonella?

In accordance with some studies, the most common disease turtles can give dogs is salmonella.

Unfortunately, they can transmit it to humans and other animals. Not only dogs but any pet animal can be the target of salmonella.

However, it’s quite hard to understand the signs of salmonella in dogs. No matter how we try, keeping your dogs away from turtle areas is impossible. I’ve tried but couldn’t stop my dogs from being around the turtles.

In spite of monitoring my dogs all the time, sometimes they always came close to the turtles out of curiosity, drinking water from the tank. One of my dogs was sick for many days, I thought it was a small health issue for dogs.

But when I consulted the vet, he said my dogs get salmonella from reptiles by licking them. With the vet’s instructions, I kept my turtles in a separate room and away from the dogs. Additionally, I try to keep the door shut whenever I get into the turtle’s living area.

Capillaria aerophila is a parasitic nematode (roundworm) that can infect dogs, cats, and humans. It is commonly transmitted through the ingestion of turtle or snake feces.

What Are The Salmonella Symptoms In Dogs?

When my dog had the salmonella infection, he used to vomit and poop continuously. Along with these, he suffered from severe fever. My dog couldn’t eat anything for many days.

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The most common symptoms of salmonella in dogs are fever, lethargy, constant vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and fever. My dog’s health condition was worsening over time.

Usually, the Salmonella bacteria dissolves within 2 to 7 days, depending on the temperature and humidity. I think taking your dog to the vet is essential as soon as you notice the poor health condition.

How To Treat Salmonella In Dogs?

Salmonella can be harmful to dogs in many ways. It can even give them a lifetime health issue. The best way to get rid of salmonella from turtles is to keep your dogs away. That’s the only way you can prevent these bacterial reactions in dogs.

But the good news is you can cure salmonella-infected dogs with supportive care, vet instructions, and proper medicine.

Curing the dog is challenging as they don’t like having medicines. Curing salmonella from your dogs takes more than 7 days to 21 days.

Can A Dog Get Sick From Licking A Turtle?

A dog can get sick from licking a turtle. It doesn’t matter if the turtles are clean or living in a healthy tank, still, they can contain bacteria. If your dog licks the turtle, they can get the bacteria from them, making them sick. Dogs lick turtles to play, but it isn’t safe.

Most vets recommend not to let your dogs come near the tank when you aren’t around.

If your turtles are affected by salmonella, you need to isolate them in a different tank and far from your dogs. Even if your turtles aren’t sick, stopping your dogs from licking them is better.

Here’s a table outlining some of these diseases that can transmit to dogs from turtles, along with a brief description and their symptoms in dogs:

DiseaseDescriptionSymptoms in Dogs
SalmonellosisCaused by Salmonella bacteria, often found in reptiles. Dogs can get infected through direct contact with turtles or their habitat.Fever, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, dehydration.
CampylobacteriosisBacterial infection caused by Campylobacter species. Transmission occurs through contact with contaminated turtle feces.Diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting, fever, abdominal pain.
LeptospirosisA bacterial disease that can be transmitted through urine of infected animals, including turtles. Dogs can be infected by contact with contaminated water.Fever, muscle tenderness, lethargy, jaundice, kidney failure, liver failure.
Parasitic InfectionsTurtles can carry various parasites like roundworms, which can be transmitted to dogs.Varies based on the parasite, but may include gastrointestinal symptoms, weight loss, anemia.

What Should I Do If My Dog Licked A Turtle?

First of all, you need to monitor your dog’s activities. If you notice the dog is vomiting and not playing like before, take it to the vet as soon as possible. Thus, you should follow the vet’s instructions for the dog’s quick recovery.

See also  Can Turtles & Dogs Get Along?

Besides your dog, you must check up on your turtles as well. If the dog gets sick, the turtle also needs treatment. In that case, you should consult the vet for your turtles, clean their living area, and medicate them.

Mycoplasma is a bacterial infection that can affect the respiratory system of turtles, dogs and humans. It is spread through direct contact and contact with contaminated surfaces.

What Happens If My Dog Eats A Turtle Shell?

Dogs are curious by nature, so they can mistakenly eat raw turtle shells. It’s risky for their health and can even lead to death in severe cases. However, it’s dangerous not only for turtles but also for other animals.

Turtle shells are hard to crack and can directly affect dogs’ digestive tracts due to the sharp corners. In addition to that, it can be life-threatening for dogs and damage gastronomical organs. Also, it can affect the calcium level of a dog’s regular diet plan.

Do Dogs And Turtles Get Along As Pets?

Turtles and dogs can live in the same house but can’t get along. It needs cautious supervision.

Dogs can bite baby turtles and eat their shells. On the other hand, snapping turtles can bite puppies or attack them.

Besides, you can train your dogs to behave well with turtles. But you can’t train your turtles not to hurt the dogs.

According to my experience, you shouldn’t let them live in the same room. Dogs find turtles attractive for their unique look and hurt them due to their curious mind.

How To Prevent Diseases From Turtles In Dogs?

Prevention is quite difficult in dogs getting diseases from turtles. But following some necessary tips can help you save your dogs. Here are some ways to keep your dog’s safe from turtle diseases.

  • Wash your hands after handling the turtles and before petting your dogs.
  • Clean the turtle tank water at least four times a month.
  • Avoid keeping the turtles open when your dogs are roaming around.
  • Provide fresh food and water to dogs.
  • Consult a vet for proper medication for every health issue of dogs and turtles.
  • Monitor both pets so they can’t get along without your supervision.
  • Practice healthy hygiene for dogs and turtles.

different turtle species vs degree disease transmission risk

Here is a table detailing different types of turtles and their potential to transmit diseases to dogs:

Turtle TypePotential to Transmit Diseases to Dogs
Red-eared sliderHigh potential. Red-eared sliders commonly carry Salmonella which they can spread to dogs.
Painted turtleMedium potential. Painted turtles occasionally test positive for Salmonella but may be less likely carriers than red-eared sliders.
Snapping turtleLow potential. Snapping turtles do not typically make good pets due to their aggression. However, if kept as a pet there is still a risk of Salmonella transmission.
Box turtleMedium potential. While box turtles can carry Salmonella, their risk of transmitting it may be lower since they are generally less prone to stress than other turtle species.
Musk turtleLow potential. Musk turtles are often found to be Salmonella-free in testing. Their small size also means less chance of contact and transmission to dogs.

veterinary recommendations for dogs living with turtles

Here is a table summarizing veterinary recommendations for dogs living with turtles:

Keep turtles and dogs separateDon’t allow dogs to interact directly with or lick turtles to avoid disease transmission.
Wash hands thoroughlyWash hands with soap and water after handling turtles before touching dogs or their food/water.
Clean living areas wellThoroughly clean where turtles are kept and where dogs play to remove traces of Salmonella bacteria.
Don’t share equipmentUse separate bowls, toys, leashes for each pet to prevent indirect contact and cross-contamination.
Monitor pet healthBe aware of signs of illness in both pets and see a vet promptly if issues like diarrhea or loss of appetite arise.
Consider pet insuranceDiseases from turtles can require expensive treatment; insurance can help cover costs if a pet gets sick.
Spay/neuter petsAlleviates risks of pets fighting or spreading diseases through bites from aggression or mating behaviors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Dogs Pass Salmonella To Humans?

Dogs can pass salmonella to humans through their saliva. When dogs lick their owners, they can get the bacteria from dogs. It causes fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. You must consult a specialized doctor to cure salmonella if you get it from the dogs.

Are Turtles Harmful To Dogs?

Turtles aren’t harmful to dogs until you keep them separately. Otherwise, they can bite dogs, a severe health problem. It’s also unsafe for turtles because dogs can lick, bite, and eat them.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate A Baby Turtle?

Dogs sometimes eat baby turtles as their potential food source. Also, the shells of baby turtles aren’t strong like the adult ones. But you need to take your dogs to the vet and medicate them with antibiotics. If you don’t treat the dogs immediately, it can damage their digestive tracts.

Before You Go…

Now, as you know, dogs can get diseases from turtles, you should keep this in mind to save both your pets. These pets are not meant to live together. 

But if they share the same home, you need to be extra careful for their safety. Otherwise, you can lose one of your pets, which will be your loss in both ways.

You can go through the articles below to learn more about the relationship between dogs and turtles.

Can Turtles Eat Cat/Dog Food?

Can A Snapping Turtle Kill Your Pet Dog?

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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