Goodbye, sniffles: treat cold and flu in dogs

November 6, 2014

Dogs may not catch the same varieties of cold and flu as their owners, but the canine versions make them equally miserable. Here's how to treat your dog's cold or flu symptoms.

Goodbye, sniffles: treat cold and flu in dogs

Cold symptoms in dogs

Symptoms of a cold in dogs are similar to the symptoms in people: stuffed or runny noses, coughing, and sneezing. Since these can be symptoms of other conditions, some of them serious, take your dog to the veterinarian if they persist. Keep an eye out for young puppies and senior dogs since their immune systems may not be as strong as adult dogs.

Cold treatment

As in humans, colds generally go away in about a week without any medical treatment. Let your dog get lots of rest, keeping them cozy, warm and comfortable. The cold outside air can make breathing harder, so keep the dog indoors as much as possible. If your pet has a stuffy nose, a humidifier may help make breathing easier. If you have more than one dog, keep the sick one away from the others to avoid a pack of sick animals.

Try to get your dog to drink liquids. Staying hydrated will help unclog the nose. You could even serve a bowl of warm chicken soup!

Flu symptoms in dogs

Flu symptoms can be similar to cold symptoms: coughing, a nose that runs more than usual, lethargy, loss of appetite and a fever. (Dog temperatures are normally higher than human temperatures, so he may feel hot to you even if he's perfectly healthy).

Veterinarians can do a blood test for canine influenza to confirm the condition. They will also do a test to confirm the kind of pneumonia and select the correct antibiotic. Keep in mind that dogs that come down with the flu can develop secondary bacterial infections such as pneumonia.

Flu treatment

Let your dog rest and make sure he drinks plenty of water. As with people, antibiotics are no use against a dog's flu. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics if the dog comes down with a secondary infection. Your dog may also be given cough suppressants.

There is a vaccine for canine influenza, though it's not routinely given. It doesn't provide immunity from the flu but makes the illness milder. If your dog will spend time in a crowded kennel, perhaps when you travel over the holidays, it may be worth getting him immunized against the flu. Ask your vet his or her opinion.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu