Zoonosis is classed as any infectious disease that may be transmitted from other animals, both wild and domestic, to humans or from humans to animals.
Dogs can transmit some diseases, although most of their diseases are specific to dogs. Here are a couple of examples:
Rabies is caused by a virus transmitted through animal saliva. Signs of rabies include a lack of co-ordination, difficulty swallowing, seizures, and death. There is currently no cure in man or animals for the disease, but Britain remains a rabies free country. It is not necessary to have your animals vaccinated against rabies if they are staying in the UK; however there are laws about which countries dogs can travel to and then return from. If you decide to take your dog abroad, other than to Ireland, you will need to have him vaccinated against rabies.
Ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease to animals and people. Protect yourself when out walking in fields by wearing long sleeves and long trousers. You can also use tick repellent on yourself and your pets. Look for any ticks on your dog regularly and remove any that you find.
Dogs can also carry a variety of other diseases although infection of humans is unusual. However the risk makes it very important that you practice good hygiene such as washing hands after handling your dog. This is particularly important for children.
For more information on diseases contact your vet who can guide you further, or contact The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to learn more about zoonotic diseases that might come from abroad.
To read more about the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) on the DEFRA website.