A number of the diseases that infect dogs and cats can be passed on to humans and make them sick as well. These are called zoonotic diseases. Rabies is among the most dangerous of these, but many others also have serious health consequences--especially for infants, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.
Some intestinal parasites can be transmitted by contact with infected animals or their bodily waste products. Roundworms and hookworms are known to be zoonotic, for example, can be spread by contact with contaminated soil or sand. The potential for disease transmission, zoonotic or otherwise, is why many municipalities have laws requiring you to pick up and properly dispose of your dog's waste. You should always clean up after your animal. It's not just the law, it helps to protect your health and that of others. Thorough hand washing after handling animals can help prevent infection by roundworms and hookworms, especially among children who are more likely to put their hands in their mouths.
Protecting animals through the use of vaccinations and preventatives helps protect you and your family against zoonotic diseases. Bring your pets to a SNAP wellness clinic near you for wellness examinations and to keep their vaccinations and preventatives current. No appointment is required.