Can Dogs Get Colds?

sick dogJust like humans, dogs, too, can catch a cold. As a dog owner, you may sometimes not be aware of the symptoms as they are not easily noticeable unlike when a human being catches a cold.

As a result, you need to be watchful and give your canine friends all the love and care they require when they are under the weather. Rest assured, you are not putting your health at risk while doing so. Alternatively, dogs cannot catch a cold from humans either simply because it is very rare that a virus from a dog can get transferred to a human or vice versa.

The common cold associated with human beings has been around for millennia and is suited to the environment and life of a person who is different altogether from that of a dog. Having said that, even though the virus is an entirely different one, the symptoms remain similar.

Keep an eye for the symptoms of the dog cold

puppy cough and sneezingThe symptoms that manifest are very akin to those seen in human beings, although it does take a fair bit of attention from the pet owner to spot that their pet has a cold.

The most common symptoms to look for are the upper respiratory infections which reside around the upper bronchi, trachea, throat and nose. You will notice lethargic behavior, congestion, sneezing and in some cases a cough.

If the cold is mild, you will notice occasional coughing or mild sneezing. When the flu is severe, the symptoms are more pronounced or dramatic. Keep a lookout for a runny nose and eyes, congestion and trouble breathing. A loss of appetite is also an indication of the possibility of a cold.

If you have other dogs at home, make sure that you separate the pet that has caught a cold from the rest as canine flu is infectious to others dogs even if does not affect humans. Also keep in mind to not mistake the occasional sneeze for a cold as those could be from dust and allergies in the air as well.

Bordetella is the bacterium that is transmitted from dog to dog; therefore you must quarantine the pet if you have other dogs in the house.

How serious can a dog flu get?

dog cold symptomsIf your dog catches a cold, you can effectively treat it at home without any veterinary intervention. If the dog is otherwise healthy, it will take around a week to recover.

However, if the condition persists, it is recommended that you do not ignore it and seek the assistance of a trained vet.

Many vets often say that a cold may not be what it seems especially of you come across any unusual symptoms. Be aware that a common cold can sometimes lead to other serious health issues like Canine Distemper, Kennel Cough, Parainfluenza, and Adenovirus Type 2 which need to be treated with vaccines.

Symptoms such as a rattling cough, vomiting, and high fevers are all indications that the pet has to see a doctor. Also, consider the age of the dog. Older dogs and pups or even those suffering from pre-existing conditions need proper attention when a cold is detected as they may need to be treated with antibiotic medication.

Other symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore are influenza virus, allergies and also parasites.

Preventing your pet from catching a cold

Preventing dog from coldLike people, take precautions to avoid catching a cold, the same goes for our four-legged friends. To start with, ensure that you are updated on all your prescribed pet vaccinations. Maintain a healthy diet plan and don’t skip out on regular check ups from the vet. Keeping the immune system strong will help your pets stay fit and healthy giving them the energy they need to fight any viruses and bacteria.

Access to plenty of fresh water is a must at all times and especially so when the outside temperature is low. Dogs consume plenty of energy to keep them warm, which can mean less energy for fighting a virus or bacteria. Providing them with a hot corner, a blanket or even a jumper for the night and keeping them away from any direct blasts or chills is important in maintaining your pet’s temperature at normal levels.

Treating a sick dog that has a cold

dog treatmentIf you have a pup or an older dog, the chances are that their immune systems are at par. So if they catch a cold, a visit to the vet is highly recommended.

If your otherwise healthy dog has been lethargic or has been showing symptoms we earlier mentioned, keep a check on how many days the symptoms last. If the cold persists, a visit to the vet is advised. This visit is mainly to ensure that there is no infection which may need to be treated with antibiotics.

A few home remedies can also be tried to alleviate symptoms and help make your pet feel better.

• Let steam into the room from a hot bath or shower or even a vaporizer to help clear his nasal passages.
• Hydrate your dog with plenty of water and ensure that he eats well which will help fight the cold.
• Avoid long walks and restrict play time to give him plenty of rest until his symptoms improve.
• Herbal remedies are very popular with many pet owners as this help boost the dog’s immune system. These include eucalyptus, elderberry extract or flowers, colloidal silver and mullein flowers as these are rich in vitamin C. A holistic veterinarian should be able to guide you with the types of medications and doses associated with herbal remedies.
• Ideally, most colds subside within seven days. However, if it is indeed an infection, it needs to be treated with antibiotics. In this case, the virus will take about two to three weeks to get fully cured.
• If your pet has frequently been catching a cold, you must inform your vet who might suggest added vaccinations or medications to help improve the animal’s immune system.