In the winter season, we’re all too familiar with colds and the flu. Many of us are sniffling, sneezing, and coughing for a few days to a week during the winter months. If you have a dog, you may have wondered if you can pass your cold to them. Or on the other hand, can they pass their cold to you? Can dogs get colds like humans do? We’ll discuss everything that you need to know about colds and dogs here.
Can Dogs Get Colds?
The short answer is that, yes, dogs can get colds. They can develop cold and flu-like symptoms from upper respiratory tract viruses and infections.
Common upper respiratory tract bugs in dogs include Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus type 2, and canine influenza. They often occur as part of a kennel cough/canine cough infection and can affect dogs of any age. Luckily a vaccination is available to try and prevent this infection.
Although dogs can develop colds, it’s not the same cold we all think of, as they have species-specific viruses and bacteria causing cold-like symptoms.
Can Dogs Catch Colds from Humans?
In general, no dogs can’t catch colds from humans. Dogs get colds from their own species-specific viruses, meaning that the cold contract is only spread from dog to dog.
The same goes for humans, the viruses and bacteria that are involved in the common cold (usually just viruses) are spread from human to human. So, bearing this in mind, dogs can’t catch colds from humans as there are different strains involved.
However, it’s always best to practice good hygiene standards if you’re unwell and regularly wash your hands before and after being around your pets.
Can Puppies Get Colds?
Puppies are susceptible to viruses and bacteria as they’re still growing and developing. Their immune system is still strengthening as the maternal antibodies they got from their mum start to wear off. During this period, it’s possible that they may pick bugs that could cause a cold.
It’s also often puppies haven’t received their full course of vaccinations yet. These vaccinations will often include cover for canine cough (kennel cough) and parainfluenza (DHPPi vaccine). This means that puppies are less protected compared to fully vaccinated adult dogs and may be more vulnerable if they meet them.
If you or your puppy is unwell, be sure to wash your hands regularly. Be mindful that many canine colds are contagious to other dogs so you may need to keep your puppy away from other dogs for a few weeks.
Dog Cold Symptoms
Dogs with colds can display various symptoms but in general, they may show signs such as:
As you can see, these signs are like that of a human cold!
If your dog is eating, drinking, and in good form with no breathing difficulty you can give it a couple of days to see if they improve on their own. Ensure that they have access to clean water and good quality dog food along with a warm, comfortable bed. Restrict their exercise if they seem tired.
If your dog isn’t acting like themselves and is in any way off (not eating, lethargic, breathing difficulty) you should contact your veterinarian straight away. Similarly, if your dog’s symptoms aren’t resolving you should alsovisit your vet.
How to Treat a Dog Cold
Some dogs with mild colds won’t need any treatment at all and will improve with time. If your dog has a cold, ensure that they’re resting, drinking, and eating well as this will help their immune system to fight off infection and keep them healthy.
Don’t give your dog any human or dog medication that you have at home unless your vet advises you to do so. Many human medications are toxic to dogs and could even be fatal.
Dogs that are unwell and need to see a vet, may be prescribed anti-inflammatories, cough suppressants, or antibiotics if they have a secondary infection. If your vet is concerned that there’s something more serious going on, they may perform blood and urine testing along with imaging such as x-rays.
How You Can Prevent Dog Colds
You can try to prevent dog colds by keeping your dog in good health. This involves feeding them a high-quality diet and providing regular exercise. Keeping them up to date with their vaccinations, flea and worming preventatives will also help.
If you think that your dog is unwell, get veterinary treatment quickly. Time is of the essence with many conditions and early treatment will often lead to better outcomes.
Dogs get colds just like we do but cause of doggie colds is different from the generic human cold. If your dog seems unwell, don’t delay in bringing them to your vet and getting treatment! For everything you need to maintain their health, discover our dog and puppy range, in-store and online.