Can Dogs Get Chickenpox?



Can dogs get chickenpox? No. It is species-specific. Chickenpox is only known to affect humans. It is passed through human to human contact. Dogs, or any other animals, cannot carry, or get chickenpox. Chickenpox and shingles are caused by varicella zoster virus. 


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What Is Chickenpox? 10 Questions and Facts For Humans



  • Who does chickenpox affect? Chickenpox commonly affects children, but it is possible to get it at any age.
  • What does chickenpox look like? It is characterized by red, itchy spots that will blister over. They can be anywhere on the body.
  • How do you get chickenpox? By being in contact with someone who has it. This can be by the burst spots or blisters, coughing, and sneezing.
  • Can you get chickenpox twice? Once you have had chickenpox once, it is rare to get it again.
  • Is chickenpox contagious? It is highly contagious, so you should stay away from people who have not had it before.
  • How long is chickenpox contagious for? It is contagious from a few days before the spots appear, until after they have scabbed over.
  • What are other symptoms of chickenpox? It can cause high temperatures and flu-like symptoms.
  • Is chickenpox dangerous? It can be more severe in infants, adults, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems.
  • What should I do if my child has chickenpox? Chickenpox should heal itself within a week to 10 days if a child gets it.
  • Is there a vaccine? Yes, there is a chickenpox vaccine available.
  • Can I go out with chickenpox? No, you should stay at home until you are no longer contagious. This is when all of the spots have blistered over.


Does My Dog Have Chickenpox?



No, dogs cannot get chickenpox. However, your dog may have symptoms that look similar to chickenpox. 
If your dog has a rash, spots, blistering, or something which looks like chickenpox it may be one of the following:

Dog Pox or Canine Herpes Virus (CHV)

CHV is commonly called dog pox, which can be confused for chickenpox. However, they are not related. CHV comes from the herpes virus.
Adults - In adult dogs, it is visible as raised sores around the genital area. Your dog may also have respiratory symptoms, like coughing. It is transmitted through sexual activity, birth, and nasal discharge. It is also transmitted by sneezing and coughing as the virus is airborne. 
Puppies - Also known as fading puppy syndrome, CHV in puppies is transmitted from the mother or other discharges by infected dogs but not by air. CHV can be fatal in puppies under three weeks. It has a variety of symptoms, including weakness and being unable to suckle. Sadly, the mortality rate is incredibly high. 
How to treat my dog:
Prevention is the best way to avoid CHV. 
Adults - Adult dogs usually only experience mild symptoms that will improve without treatment. However, if required, your vet may be able to help manage symptoms.
Puppies - Keep the area clean and disinfected. Make sure your hands are clean before touching the mother or puppies. Do not go to busy areas, which could have the possibility to spread to a dam (pregnant bitch).
If you suspect your puppies have CHV, the puppies must be checked by a vet immediately for a treatment plan to begin. This normally includes anti-viral medication. Keep the puppies warm. There is also a vaccine available in Europe to the dam.


Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks can cause raised red bumps on infected dogs. These may be mistaken for chickenpox. 
Fleas and ticks are visible to the human eye. Excessive itching can also be a sign your dog is infected.
How to treat my dog:
Prevention is the best way to prevent fleas and ticks, spot-on treatments and tablets are available.
Tick - If your dog has a tick, do not pull out the tick as you may leave half of it in there. You can buy special tools to help remove them. 
Flea - Treatments can be purchased online, at pet stores, or from the vet. Make sure to deep clean the house if your pet has had fleas as they can infect furniture and flooring. 


Hot Spots or Acute Moist Dermatitis

Hot spots can occur for a variety of reasons, including an allergy, cut, or bug bite. 
Hot spots can occur anywhere on the body, but they are most common on the limbs. The spots are then aggravated by your dog licking or chewing at the area. This can cause a minor spot to become red and sore. These spots may be confused with chickenpox. 
How to treat my dog:
The best treatment is preventing your dog from aggravating the area. Cover the area or use a collar/cone to stop your dog from getting to it. You may also want to shave or trim the area to keep it clean (with warm salt water) and allow it to heal quicker. If it persists, your vet may be able to prescribe some steroid cream.



Folliculitis is infection and inflammation of the hair follicles. It can result in red spots on the skin.
How to treat my dog:
The treatment depends on the cause, a skin scraping can be done by your veterinarian to determine the stimuli. Medication may be required, or alternative antimicrobial shampoos can be prescribed.



An allergy can cause a rash or inflammation of the skin; this can commonly be mistaken for chickenpox. Dogs can be allergic to just about anything, similar to humans. This can include food (beef, chicken, wheat, dairy, soy, egg, etc.), grass, bug-bites, dust, mold, etc. Other symptoms of allergies include excessive itching, sneezing, and swelling.
How to treat my dog:
First, you must determine the cause. This can be done by the process of elimination (e.g., remove a specific type of food and see if the symptoms persist) or through a test with your veterinarian. Once you determine the cause, this can be removed from the dog’s life. If this is not possible, your vet may be able to prescribe something to help alleviate the symptoms.


Puppy Impetigo or Pyoderma

Impetigo is a skin condition that most commonly affects puppies under the age of one. It is a red rash that appears on hairless areas. The symptoms include spots that can blister, rashes, itchiness, and dry skin.
How to treat my dog:
Antibacterial shampoo may be recommended by your veterinarian.


Fly Bites

Common as the season changes, dogs can get bitten by flies. The bites may result in red spots and blemishes, similar to the look of chickenpox. 
However, they are not pox and, therefore, not contagious. 
Your dog should also not experience any further symptoms, such as a raised temperature. 
How to treat my dog:
Fly bits do not need treatment, they should heal on their own. However, if they bother your dog or become infected, you may need to visit a vet.
This post from a veterinary practice near Edmonton, Canada, shows a picture of these black fly bites.






Can dogs get shingles?
No. Shingles and chickenpox are part of the same virus. They are species-specific, meaning they only affect humans. Dogs are not carriers and cannot be infected.


Can chickenpox affect animals?
No, chickenpox only affects humans.


Can cats get chicken pox?
No. As it is species-specific, cats, cows, horses, and any other animal are not at risk of chickenpox.


Can dogs get colds or flu from humans?
No, again, these are species-specific.
However, dogs do have their own versions of a cold with similar symptoms to those we would have, including sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes.
Dogs can pass colds between their own species, so if your dog has a cold, keep them away from other dogs in the park.


Can dogs get measles?
No. Dogs cannot carry or get measles. It is a human virus that is species-specific.
However, they can get canine distemper, which is in the same family as measles. Symptoms can include coughing, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite, among others.



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Disclaimer: Each dog is different, and every circumstance is different. All efforts have been made to provide accurate information. However, it is not provided by a qualified Veterinarian, Veterinarian Surgeon, or Behaviorist. The information provided is purely educational. The information should not be used as an alternative or substitute for medical care. If you have any health or medical concerns, contact a qualified Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinarian immediately.


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