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Do Dogs Get Colds

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Dogs can catch colds from species-specific infectious agents, and can experience persistent coughing and other cold-like symptoms.
  • Symptoms of dog colds include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, difficulty breathing, lethargy, loss of appetite, congestion, sore throat, headaches, and fever for 5-10 days.
  • Humans are unlikely to infect dogs with human colds, as they are caused by different viruses that do not affect dogs.
  • Kennel cough is a more severe infectious respiratory disease, treatable with proper medication, and characterized by a honking sound with coughing.
  • Ways to treat dog colds include keeping water and food clean and available, increasing air humidity, and providing plenty of rest; ways to prevent them include keeping dog belongings clean, vaccination, looking out for possible outbreaks, and avoiding walking dogs during unfriendly weather.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Wednesday 12 October 2022
Last updated on
Monday 15 May 2023
Do Dogs Get Colds
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Are you having pet questions on your mind, such as can dogs catch a cold or can puppies get a cold? While this viral disease causes humans to suffer from such consequences, there is no doubt that canines can also get affected. It can be treatable; nevertheless, the aftermath can depend on your dog’s immune system, treatments, and promptness of your measures.

Can Dogs Get Colds?

Wang Jae Lee’s research reveals that the common colds and flu affecting humans are caused by RNA viruses, including adenovirus, rhinovirus, Coxsackie, coronavirus, and similar agents. These viruses can cause symptoms like runny nose, sore throat, and fever in humans.

Can dogs get colds like humans? Yes, unfortunately, dogs can suffer similar symptoms to humans, even though the causes are not the same. Unlike humans who can catch various viruses, dogs get colds from specific infectious agents that are species-specific. These include Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine adenovirus Type 2, canine respiratory coronavirus, and canine parainfluenza virus.

Although dogs can experience similar symptoms to humans, such as sore throat, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and congestion, they can also have a more persistent cough than humans. In severe cases, dogs may even emit a honking goose-like sound that ends with a retching or gagging sound.

Additionally, dogs can also suffer from kennel cough, which is another cold-like symptom. However, there is no need to worry because the article will discuss this condition below.

Overall, the language used in discussing common colds and flu in dogs and humans is technical and veterinary, but with a few improvements, it can be made more appealing and understandable for a nonscientific audience.

Symptoms of Colds in Dogs

Like humans, dogs can also show symptoms of a cold. However, these signs can be similar to those of other respiratory infections or flu. Thus, it is crucial to be aware of the most common puppy cold symptoms to determine whether your furry friend has caught a cold.

The symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy or less activity than usual
  • Loss of appetite and thirst
  • Body aches
  • Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Fever

These symptoms usually last for around 5 to 10 days after the onset of the virus or bacteria. If you notice that your dog’s condition is not improving after a week or more, or if the signs become worse, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Can Dogs Catch a Cold From Humans?

Colds are infectious and can pass from one canine to another through toys, food bowls, air, and water. Yet, can dogs catch colds from humans? Luckily, the chances of you infecting your dog with a human cold are low.

Colds in dogs are highly contagious and can spread through shared toys, food bowls, air, and water. But, can your dog catch a cold from you? The good news is that it’s unlikely you’ll pass on your cold to your furry friend. Human colds are caused by viruses that don’t affect dogs, and dogs can only catch colds from other dogs. So, you don’t have to worry about getting your dog sick when you have a cold

Differences Between Cold and Kennel Cough

Canine infectious tracheobronchitis, mostly known as kennel cough, is one of the most infectious respiratory diseases in dogs of any small breeds or large breeds. It can occur most in kennels because its most common place of transmission is an area where numerous dogs gather. In this case, they can pass the viruses quickly to one another.

Based on Reagan and Sykes‘ research on canine infectious respiratory disease, kennel cough can come from a wide range of etiologic agents. It can refer to contagious substances, such as materials containing pathogens and other bacteria or germs.

Correspondingly, McCandlish et al.‘s study of dogs with kennel cough interpreted that the most significant bacterial and viral agents that cause kennel cough are Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus SV-5. Even though it is related to dog colds, this disease can be more severe.

A distinctive sign distinguishing a kennel cough from a dog cold is a honking sound whenever your dog coughs. It can also cause sneezing, runny nose, loss of appetite, lethargy, or low fever. These symptoms can appear ten days after your dog gets infected.

Fortunately, kennel cough is treatable, and your dog can recover from it with proper medication. However, if your furry friend has a weak immune system, you must expect the effects will be more severe than usual.

How to Ease Dog Cold Symptoms

It is normal to become worried if your dog has a cold, especially when you are still unfamiliar with dealing with it. Even so, know that you can follow several steps to ease the symptoms. To help you with that here is how to treat a dog with a cold.

Keep Water Clean and Available

Providing your dog with a clean water supply will help it stay hydrated throughout its recovery from the dog cold. Check its water bowls from time to time to ensure it gets adequate fluids. Furthermore, giving tasty chicken soups is also an excellent option to boost your furry friend’s fluid levels.

Provide Warm and Nutritious Food

Dogs can’t smell food because they can have congested noses due to dog colds. Therefore, you can warm their meal to make the food more fragrant. Moreover, heating it will also make it more enjoyable to eat. 

Increase Air Humidity

Another symptom of dog colds is difficulty in breathing. Since your dog can have trouble inhaling air, you can increase the humidity of the air to help it breathe easier. In this case, you can place an air humidifier in the room where your furry friend sleeps.

Provide Plenty and Undisturbed Rest

Your dog will require more sleep or rest if it suffers from a dog cold. You can give it a more comfortable place to sleep away from noises or disturbances. Also, if you plan to go on a daily walk or exercise, it is advisable not to overwork your furry friend in the meantime.

Thoroughly Clean Your House

Infectious agents can roam around your house, especially when you like going outdoors and coming home without sanitizing yourself. Dogs and people can touch things with bacteria and viruses, so regularly cleaning your house will help eliminate these contagious substances.

Wash Dog Toys and Beddings

Similarly, washing dog toys and bedding will also kill viruses and bacteria that are harmful to your dog. Since canines come close to these things frequently, keeping them clean will prevent the transmission of such infectious particles and microorganisms.

When to Take Your Dog to The Vet

Just like humans, your dog can catch a cold too, but you can take care of them at home. If you’re not sure how to treat your dog’s cold, it’s best to ask your veterinarian for help right away.

There are some signs that you should look out for that indicate you need to seek veterinary assistance immediately. These include extreme tiredness, difficulty breathing, high fever, loss of appetite, or if your dog seems to be in pain. If your furry friend’s health doesn’t improve after a week or more of home treatment, it’s also time to seek veterinary care.

It’s important to take your dog to the vet because some of the symptoms of a cold can be similar to those of more serious illnesses. Your dog may also be suffering from a more severe condition without you realizing it. Additionally, a cold is contagious, so it can be risky if you have multiple pets in your home.

When you take your dog to the vet, the veterinarian can determine the cause of the symptoms, diagnose the issue, and prescribe the appropriate medication to treat your dog’s cold.

How to Prevent Dogs From Getting Colds

Prevention is always better than cure; that’s why here are some ways you can avoid the transmission of infectious viruses that cause dog colds. Following one or more of these things can help you keep your dog away from the dangers of catching this contagious disease.

Keep Their Belongings Clean

As stated earlier, regularly washing food and water bowls, bedding, toys, and other belongings will prevent the transmission of viruses. If you live in a multi-pet household, sanitizing and disinfecting your dogs’ things will also help. 

Get Them Vaccinated

Even though vaccinations cannot protect your furry friend from everything, they can reduce the risks of catching diseases, such as dog colds and kennel cough. Furthermore, they can also fight against canine distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, and similar illnesses.

Look Out For Possible Outbreaks

Looking for possible outbreaks is also one of the best ways to protect your dog from dog colds and other diseases. You can prepare for them beforehand if ever your canine friend catches such illnesses. 

Avoid Walking Your Dog In Unfriendly Weather

Cold or rainy weather can put your dog’s health at risk. Once exposed to extreme frosty temperatures, it can catch dog colds, leading to more severe consequences. So, avoid going outdoors during these seasons to prevent such instances.

Since you already know the answer to your question, do dogs get cold; you can now get extra careful in maintaining cleanliness and avoiding the causes of the disease. If things get out of hand, remember that a veterinarian’s help can always be on the way.

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