Do Dogs Get Colds?

It’s that time of the year again, when the flu is going around the house and your workplace. That tickle in your throat has superseded into a cold or the flu. You’ve begun avoiding contact with family members or more likely are being avoided by them. Indeed this raises the question, can dogs get sick? Do dogs get the flu or a cold? Of course, you love your pet and that’s why these red flags get raised. Let’s dig in with a quick overview of whether your dog can catch a cold or the flu and what you can do to help them get better!

What Are the Symptoms of Colds in Dogs?

The common cold in dogs are very similar to that of a human. Therefore, you’ll likely notice similar symptoms such as: 

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing 
  • Runny or congested nose 
  • Watery eyes

If these symptoms are noticed in your dog, you should contact a veterinarian and seek advice. Although these symptoms are usually a sign of the common cold in dogs. They could also be the result of more serious conditions, for example kennel cough, parainfluenza virus, bronchitis, influenza virus (dog flu), or even canine distemper. 

What is a Cold?

Generally speaking, when people talk about catching a cold, they are referring to a wide range of viruses that cause similar symptoms, such as runny eyes and nose, sneezing, and sore throat. According to WebMD, the most common colds in humans are the rhinovirus which accounts for more than 50% of colds people encounter, and also the respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, corona, and parainfluenmza virus.

For dogs, the causes of colds are very similar. There is no specific name for a cold virus, it is instead a number of viruses that produce symptoms which have been attributed to the cold. Some are more serious than others, but generally, they produce like symptoms. 

Is it a Cold or the Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is a highly infectious respiratory disease in dogs. Although serious, it is treatable, and most dogs recover, but it carries more severe consequences for puppies and older dogs with weakened immune systems. Kennel cough gets it’s name from it’s place of transmission-kennels. This is due to kennels having a large number of dogs in close vicinity with each other, making it easy for dogs to catch and transmit viruses. 

It’s important to be able to distinguish the difference between kennel cough and the common cold since the other symptoms of kennel cough are similar to those of the cold. These include sneezing, lethargy, a runny nose, appetite loss, and a low fever. therefore, it’s advisable to consult your veterinarian to get to the root of the problem. 

The most distinctive characteristic of kennel cough, is that the cough sounds like the honking of a goose. This honking cough is also very dry. 

Learn more about common diseases in dogs

How to Treat a Dog With a Cold?

Don’t go giving your dog over the counter cold medicine for humans! It’s crucial to contact your veterinarian, if you think your dogs condition is getting worse. As long as your dog is still drinking and eating, it is reasonable to comfort your dog and try some home remedies. 

Encourage your dog to eat, rest, and drink so that there immune system can continue to fight off infection. You can comfort your dog just by being around them, and if you feel its necessary, grab a damp warm cloth and wipe there nose and eyes. 

Just like we would do for ourselves, go ahead and grab a humidifier, or keep your dog in the bathroom while you take a hot shower. the humid, hot air will help to ease any congestion your dog is experiencing. 

Can Dogs Get Colds From Humans?

Dogs cannot normally catch human viruses nor can we catch theirs. Viruses are mostly species specific. This can only happen in very rare cases. However, There are indeed certain viruses like H1N1 that could become transmissible after evolving in the pigs lungs. This virus is capable of moving from ducks to pigs, then to humans. Read more about this here

Although dogs and humans are generally unable to exchange virus. Just as in humans dogs viruses are actually capable of transmitting from one dog to another. 

Can You Help Prevent Your Dog From Getting A Cold?

Unfortunately, just as there is no vaccine for the human cold, the dog cold has no vaccine either. This is due to viral evolution and the great number of viruses and that cause cold like symptoms. 

There are vaccines for kennel cough, distemper, and canine influenza viruses. It is generally recommended that you vaccinate your dog. Talk to your veterinarian about their recommendation for your dog!

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