Skip to main content
Girl with dog on bad

Can C. diff bacteria infect dogs?

Q: My dog Tammy must take an antibiotic for a few weeks for her skin infection. The one time I took an antibiotic I developed diarrhea due to C. diff bacteria. Do dogs get C. diff diarrhea too, and can Tammy pass it to me?

A: Some dogs do develop diarrhea after antibiotic therapy, and they can carry C. diff bacteria on their bodies and excrete them in their feces.

However, it’s not clear whether dogs can transmit the bacteria to humans. To be safe, you should wash your hands before and after contact with animals, especially if your immune system is compromised.

Clostridium difficile bacteria, nicknamed C. diff, live almost everywhere. In fact, Clostridium species are part of the normal bacterial population of dogs’ intestines.

Surprisingly, C. diff bacteria are found in the same proportions in dogs, whether they are healthy or have diarrhea. So, it’s unclear how much of a role the bacteria play in causing disease in dogs.

Still, infection and diarrhea may occur after dogs ingest contaminated meat or raw meat, even commercially frozen raw-meat canine diets. In addition, overgrowth of C. diff bacteria sometimes occurs after treatment with antibiotics or immunosuppressive drugs.

Talk with your veterinarian about whether Tammy should take a probiotic—the “good” bacteria—to help decrease her risk of diarrhea.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com.

Protect your pet from the unexpected with Figo Pet Insurance, rated “Best Pet Insurance” by Reviews.com since 2017.

Man sitting on bench with his dog

We believe that seeking out the best...

Small dog being examined by veterinarian

At Figo, we hear this question often...

What do the Cockapoo, the Puggle, the...

Dog receiving treat from woman

August 8th is #NationalCBD day! At Figo...

Advertisement for pet insurance.

More From Figo Blog
Puppy crate training in progress

There are many tools I utilize when training...

Cat scratching on a cat post

You may have heard the phrase, “Cats can’t...

Labrador Retriever retrieving a blue frisbee from the yard

One of the best things about owning a dog is...

Kristin Levine with dog

We recently had the opportunity to interview...

Dog and pet parent listening to music in front of speaker

Whether you’re rocking out to your favorite...

Woman drinking coffee and holding small cat near

On any given day, between 50 and 70 million...

Woman with dog looking at tablet

Since 2017 Americans have spent between $17...