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Salmonella In Dogs: What Are The Symptoms?

Written by Ella White


Poorly dog under blanket
  • Salmonella, or salmonellosis, is an illness that dogs can contract from salmonella bacteria. 
  • Like in humans, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • For dogs with weak or underdeveloped immune systems, like puppies and older dogs, the symptoms can be much worse. 
  • This bacteria can be spread between humans and other animals, and is relatively common. 
  • Since it’s so easily spread it’s important for dog owners to know the symptoms of salmonellosis and what they mean.

In this article we will look at the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatments for salmonella in dogs.

Symptoms Of Salmonella In Dogs

The way dogs react to salmonella bacteria depends on how severely they have contracted the disease. 

For this reason, the symptoms can vary from mild to deeply concerning. 

Salmonella is most commonly found in undercooked meat and contaminated food, and the saliva and stool of infected animals and humans. If you think your dog has come into contact with any of these contaminants, closely examine them for symptoms in the following days.

The most common symptoms of salmonella in dogs are:

  • Fever 
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea and sometimes mucus in poop
  • Anorexia or disinterest in food leading to weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Shock
  • Increased heart rate

More severe symptoms of salmonella in dogs include:

  • Skin disease
  • Swelling in the lymph nodes
  • Miscarriage in pregnant dogs 
  • Vaginal discharge in female dogs
  • Loss of blood
  • Infections 
  • Gastroenteritis 
  • Septicemia 

Causes Of Salmonella In Dogs

We’ve already mentioned that uncooked meat, eggs, contaminated dog food, and bodily fluids from infected animals and humans can all carry salmonella bacterium. But with over 2,000 different kinds of salmonella there are a range of different risk factors that can affect your dog.

Most healthy dogs have strong enough immune systems and guts to deal with this bacteria without causing diseases. For this reason, the illness is fairly uncommon in dogs.

However, dogs with weak or underdeveloped immune systems and gastrointestinal tracts are more likely to contract the salmonella disease as they’re less able to deal with the bacteria. So owners of puppies and older dogs should be vigilant.

How To Diagnose Salmonella In Dogs

If your dog is displaying symptoms of salmonella, the best course of action is to take them to the vet for a medical examination. Although some common symptoms, like diarrhea and vomiting, can pass in time, they could also lead to – or be indicators of – more severe conditions.

For example, if your dog is not eating, is lethargic, and has a high fever they could be suffering from gastroenteritis. This digestive disease can be caused by untreated salmonella and E. Coli bacteria. Other conditions with similar symptoms include food allergies, stress from toxins, and parasites.

When checking your dog for salmonella disease, vets will look at their albumin and platelet levels, their white blood cell count, and will check for anemia and electrolyte imbalances.

How To Treat Salmonella In Dogs

Salmonella bacteria is easily treated in dogs with rehydration and replacing electrolytes lost by vomiting, diarrhea, and anorexia. However, if the salmonella has developed into a more severe condition, like gastroenteritis or sepsis, more invasive treatment might be needed.

An IV drip might be needed for rehydration. Similarly, blood transfusions and steroid hormones might be recommended to replace fluids and lost albumin, or to help prevent shock.

However in the majority of cases, recovery is quick and easy.

Managing And Preventing Salmonella In Dogs

Because salmonella is zoonotic, meaning it can be transferred between animals and humans, some dogs might be separated from their owners for up to 48 hours to prevent the spread of salmonella bacteria. If you think your dog has salmonella, do not touch their stool or other bodily fluids, and avoid touching their infected food. Follow rigorous hygiene practices until your pet is given the all-clear.

As raw meat and eggs are a leading cause of salmonella disease, avoid feeding these foods to your dog and instead opt for high quality, nutritious pet food.

Front of the Pack dog food is packed with health-giving ingredients that provide your dog with all the nutrients they need in a day. From animal protein to postbiotics to fresh fruits and veggies, it’s the best way to feed your dog healthy, safe, and speedy meals with no nasties. And since it’s air-dried low and slow to lock in flavor and nutrients, you won’t have to worry about raw meat diets and the associated bacterial risks.