How Do Dogs Get Ringworm?

How Do Dogs Get Ringworm?

Ringworm, despite its name, is not caused by a worm. It’s a contagious fungal infection that can affect your beloved pet. As a caregiver, you’re likely wondering how your furry friend could contract this unwelcome intruder. We’re here to explore this topic in detail and help you protect your pet’s health.

1. Understanding Ringworm

Ringworm, known scientifically as ‘Dermatophytosis’, is a skin infection caused by a fungus. This fungus thrives on keratin, a protein found abundantly in the skin, nails, and hair of your dog.

  • The fungi multiply and spread, causing circular patches of hair loss.
  • The skin beneath these patches can appear red and scaly.

The fungus is zoonotic, which means it can easily spread from animals to humans and vice versa.

2. How Ringworm Spreads

Ringworm is highly contagious and can spread in various ways:

  1. Direct contact: Your dog can contract ringworm through direct contact with an infected animal.
  2. Indirect contact: The fungus can survive for a long time in the environment. If your dog comes into contact with objects or areas contaminated by an infected animal, such as bedding, grooming tools, or yard spaces, they can get infected.
  3. Humans to animals: Humans carrying the fungus can transmit it to their pets.

3. High-Risk Dogs

Certain factors can make your dog more susceptible to ringworm. These include:

  • Age: Puppies less than a year old are at higher risk.
  • Health status: Dogs with a weakened immune system due to illness or medication are more susceptible.
  • Breed: Certain breeds like Yorkshire Terriers are more predisposed to this infection.
Risk Factor Explanation
Age Puppies are at higher risk.
Health Status Dogs with weakened immune systems are more susceptible.
Breed Some breeds are more prone to infection.

4. Symptoms to Watch For

As a caregiver, you need to be vigilant about your pet’s health. Look out for these signs:

  • Circular patches of hair loss
  • Red, scaly skin under the hair loss patches
  • Changes in skin color
  • Persistent scratching

5. Preventing Ringworm

Prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to fungal infections like ringworm.

  • Regularly clean and disinfect your pet’s living environment.
  • Don’t share grooming tools between pets.
  • Regularly check your pet for signs of infection.


Q: Can humans contract ringworm from their dogs?

A: Yes, ringworm can spread from dogs to humans.

Q: How long does it take for ringworm to show up in dogs after exposure?

A: Symptoms typically appear 1-3 weeks after exposure.

Q: Can ringworm be prevented through vaccination?

A: Unfortunately, there is no vaccination for ringworm prevention.

Q: Is ringworm life-threatening to dogs?

A: No, but it can cause discomfort and potential secondary infections.

Remember, as a caregiver, you have the power to protect your pet’s health. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and you’ll be well equipped to keep ringworm at bay.