Do dogs get colds? I’ve seen cats get goopy eyes and sneeze a lot with snot spewing everywhere from respiratory illness, but I’ve never seen a dog exhibit any illness similar in any way to a cold. Do dogs get colds or anything similar to a cold in any way? Since I’ve never seen my dog even so much as have a runny nose, and she only gets goopy eyes when her own hair gets stuck in them, I was curious to find out.
Dogs can get colds, according to Michael Goldberg, DVM, supplying information to pets.ca, a Canada website dedicated to animal ailments and questions. However, dogs most typically get colds from Bordatella and the Flu virus, which would likely explain why my dog has never appeared to have a cold. She is vaccinated against Bordatella (better known as “kennel cough”), which is highly contagious amongst dogs and causes sneezing, coughing, and runny eyes and nose. Most boarding facilities will not house your dog if they have not received their Bordatella vaccination, as the illness is easily transferable from one infected mutt to another.
Dogs get the Flu? Now, this I had never heard of. Dogs can get “Canine Influenza”, which shows symptoms similar to “kennel cough”, only the coughing lasts much longer (10-21 days), and is often accompanied by a thick yellow discharge from the dog’s nose and a low-grade fever. In small cases, a dog left untreated for “dog flu” can develop a very high fever and pneumonia and emergency veterinary care is needed to help treat the dog. The State of California Health and Human Services Agency claims that humans extremely rarely contract the flu from dogs, and that dogs can be exposed to the virus and not show any symptoms at all. There are no known cases of humans contracting “dog flu” from their pets.
Protect your dog from colds and Flu by keeping their shots current, (particularly Bordatella, which does not protect against the flu), not allowing them to come in contact with dogs that look ill, and washing your hands thoroughly after handling or petting a sick dog. You can have your dog vaccinated against the canine flu as well, given in 2 doses 2 to 4 weeks apart, and then annually afterward, to better protect your dog against illness.
If your dog is coughing, wheezing, has runny discharge from their nose or eyes, or has a fever, your dog may be ill. Left untreated, cold and flu illnesses can be fatal, so it’s important to get your dog to a vet if they are showing symptoms of illness. Keep your dog plenty hydrated, and keep them away from other dogs, as they are likely contagious. Call your vet with any concerns so you can get your dog back to optimum health.