When cold and flu season rolls around, many of us start to wonder about our pets. Can dogs get colds?
Well, the answer to that question is a little more complicated than you might think. To put it simply, yes, dogs can get colds. There are certain types of viruses that can cause cold-like symptoms in dogs, such as coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, or runny noses. These viruses can cause anything from a simple cold that will resolve itself fairly quickly to more serious diseases like kennel cough or distemper.
To understand more on colds in dogs and when to contact a vet please read on.
What to Do if Your Dog is Showing Cold Symptoms
That depends on how severe the symptoms are. If your dog is coughing and sneezing but is otherwise acting normally, you probably don’t need to worry too much. In most cases, these are just mild colds and will likely go away on their own after a few days.
Wait a little bit to see if they improve and try to keep them away from other dogs as much as possible during that time. If, after about a day or two your dog’s symptoms haven’t improved, it’s time to call the vet.
Similarly, if you ever notice that your dog is lethargic, isn’t eating or drinking as much as usual, seems uncomfortable, or is having difficulty breathing, you should contact your vet and set up an appointment right away.
At the appointment, the vet will be able to inspect your dog and possibly run tests to determine what the problem is. From there, they will give you a treatment plan, including possible prescriptions for medications.
Cold Prevention for Dogs
Just like with the common cold for us, there is no vaccine. This is because there’s not just one virus that causes cold symptoms, but many different ones.
However, there are vaccines available for some of the more serious dog diseases, such as kennel cough, distemper, and canine influenza. Distemper, in particular, is a disease that most veterinarians recommend all dogs get vaccinated against as puppies.
In addition to getting them vaccinated, other ways to prevent dogs from catching colds are to make sure things like their beds, blankets, food and water bowls, and toys are all washed regularly. Look out for outbreaks and keep your dog away from other dogs that you know are sick. Keep them well-rested and well-fed.
Can dogs catch colds from their owners?
Typically the chances of dogs catching a cold from their owners are very low. The reason for this is that although there are many different kinds of viruses that create cold-like symptoms in humans, most of them only affect humans, so no matter how much time you spend with your dog while you’re feeling under the weather, they probably won’t get sick.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean your dog can’t still transfer the disease to another person in your household.
For example, if you cough into your hand, then pet your dog, the dog’s fur now has disease-carrying microbes on it. If someone else in your house pets the dog and then touches their face without washing their hands, they could catch your cold.
The same sort of thing is true in reverse. There are certain types of viruses that can cause cold-like symptoms in dogs, such as coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, or runny noses.
These viruses can cause anything from a simple cold that will resolve itself fairly quickly to more serious diseases like kennel cough or distemper, but they typically do not affect humans.
However, you could still inadvertently give your dog one of these diseases if you interact with a sick dog and then pet your dog without properly washing your hands or changing clothes first.
Viruses can live on your skin for several minutes and can live on clothing for about a day, so if you suspect a dog you’ve been around might be sick, it’s important to change clothes before interacting with another dog.
There you have it! The ins and outs of dogs and the common cold. Hopefully, this information will help keep your furry friends safe and healthy!