Pass the Tissues, Please – Did Your Dog Catch a Cold?

November 1st, 2023

Is your pup pal feeling a little under the weather? The winter season is upon us, and one of the frequent subjects tends to be around the onset of the cold and flu season, and germs become a main topic of conversation. We’ve all been there at some point – lying on your couch, wrapped in a blanket, sipping your chicken noodle soup. Being sick is no fun, and though our furry companions can’t talk, they would wholeheartedly agree. They, too, can come down with the all-too-common cold that tends to ramp up this time of year. And all those symptoms you experience – well….they do too.

dog tucked under blanket
While we can’t entirely prevent the invasion of germs in our lives, as they tend to be sneaky little buggers even when we are on top of our hygiene, what’s truly valuable is educating ourselves on how to spot a cold in our pet pals. By understanding the best way to care for them and taking some precautions, we can hopefully prevent a stockpile of empty Kleenex boxes.

Did I get my furry sidekick sick?!?

The short answer – No. While your pooch can get the sniffles, the viruses that cause illnesses in dogs are different from those we humans catch. The common culprits for dogs are the canine parainfluenza virus and canine adenovirus type 2. Your dogs can get these viruses through contact with infected animals, contaminated objects, or environments. So rest assured about one hard cold fact – you can’t pass your germs to your furry friend and your furry pal can’t pass it on to you, which is an important piece of information to know since our dogs make the best company and cuddlers when we’re sick and need a little extra comfort.

sick dog tucked in blanket with thermometer

Spotting Signs of a Canine Cold

The symptoms of a dog cold might include a variety of signs, such as runny noses, coughs, sneezes, and, at times, even a slight fever. Other symptoms that dogs with colds may experience include nasal discharge, difficult or congested breathing, watery eyes, and seemingly sluggish behavior or a decrease in their activity level.

Generally speaking, a little cold may not be alarming because, like human colds, these illnesses will go away on their own. A cold typically lasts for 5 to 10 days in dogs.

Keep in mind other illnesses in dogs can mimic cold symptoms. This includes distemper, kennel cough and allergies. Keep a close eye out and look for additional signs of illness and if you are generally worried, go to a vet immediately.

Curing Canine Sniffles at Home

With a few simple precautions, canine colds can often be treated successfully at home. Giving your dog lots of rest in a warm, comfortable space with frequent comforting pets and snuggles is step 1. These are some other steps you can take to help your furry bud feel as best as they can:

  • Make sure to encourage your dog to stay hydrated by providing an ample supply of water.
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier or steam from a warm shower to help relieve your dog’s stuffy nose and congestion.
  • Use a soft, moist washcloth to gently remove mucus if your furry friend’s nose is running.
  • Until your pup gets back the pep in their step, avoid strenuous activities, like daily runs or long walks, until they are better. Over-exertion can stress their body further and we all know a dog’s personality – they will push the limits just to join you on all your outings.

As a loving pet owner, we hate to see our furry friends feel any discomfort, so our good intentions may be to offer human cold medicine since that’s what helps us get through those icky feelings, but these can be extremely dangerous to your dog. Give it time, and if you don’t see improvement or have concerns, always contact your dog’s favorite pet doc.

sick dog with vet

When a Little Doctor Visit is in Order

Is your furry companion’s cold seem to be getting worse or lingering for longer than 10 days? It’s a clear signal to call your vet. Pet parents know their furry friends best – their routines, behavior, eating habits, etc. If you have cause for concern, trust your instincts and seek the advice of your veterinarian on the next steps, which may include scheduling a vet visit for your little patient. Here are some additional signs that could indicate your dog’s condition is more than just a cold and should be taken seriously.

  • Does not eat or drink.
  • Excessively over-tired or lethargic.
  • Hard for them to breathe.
  • Showing signs of pain, discomfort or whimpering.

Note: Do you have a senior dog, puppy or dog with underlying health problems? Do not wait a full week to call your vet. It’s best to set up their appointment as soon as possible to make sure they get the attentive care they need.

happy hound eating apple

Boost Your Pup’s Immunity

Preventing illnesses is valuable to their well-being. While cold season is commonly linked to winter, it can affect dog throughout the year. We’ve got a wellness to-do list for your little Fido so they can stay healthy! Here’s where you can start:

  • Stay Up to date on Vaccinations: Yearly physical examinations can help you keep current on your pet pal’s vaccination to protect them against diseases like kennel cough, parvo, distemper, leptospirosis, and canine influenza.
  • Keep it clean! Regularly clean your dog’s belongings, including toys, food and water bowls, and where they sleep, especially if they are shared with other pets.
  • Well-balanced Diet: A nutritious diet is an immune system booster. Ensure your dog enjoys a diet that meets their unique nutritional requirements. Keep your dog lean and at a healthy weight, as obesity can lead to health issues.
  • A little shut-eye: Dogs need plenty of rest, averaging 12-14 hours of sleep a day. Make sure your furry friend gets the rest they require.

If you take the above into consideration, you can play an important role in strengthening your dog’s defenses against illness.

happy hound running in the leaves
Just like you, your dog needs a ton of TLC when they feel cruddy and just downright uncomfortable. It’s always tough to witness our four-legged best friend feeling off their game, but before you know it, your pet pal will be back to their happy, energetic, bouncy self.

The holiday season is fast approaching! We assembled some key tips to keep your spirited pal safe during the holiday season! Use these simple steps to dog-proof your home and protect them from any holiday hazards.