Have you ever wondered whether dogs can catch colds? Do you think your pet may be sick with a cold, but are unsure if this is a possibility? If any of this sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place!
The short answer is that yes, dogs can catch colds just like humans can. However, colds in dogs may sometimes look a little different too. In the article below, we’ll break down all the information you need to know about colds and how they relate to your pet. Read on to get started!
Symptoms of Colds in Dogs
If your dog is showing any of these symptoms it is possible that they could have a cold.
Coughing and Sneezing
Coughing and sneezing are some of the most common symptoms of colds in dogs, just like they are in humans. Coughing may also be associated with other problems such as heart disease, heartworms, and lung issues, while sneezing can indicate an airway obstruction. Always have your pet checked out for either of these symptoms.
A runny nose on its own may indicate allergies or a foreign object stuck in the nasal passages. However, when coupled with other items on this list, it is typically another sign of colds to be on the lookout for.
Unlike other items listed here, congestion is almost always a sign of a cold and nothing else in dogs. However, it is possible that some dogs may become congested from allergies. Additionally, dogs with short, “smashed” faces may be congested slightly all the time.
Wheezing may indicate a wide variety of serious problems contributing to difficulty breathing. However, when seen with other symptoms listed here, it is likely to be a sign of a cold. Take your dog to the veterinarian or emergency vet if they are wheezing and struggling to breathe well.
Red and Watery Eyes
Dogs with colds typically tend to get red and watery eyes just like humans with colds might. Red, watery eyes may also indicate allergies as well as eye trauma or eye disease, however, so this symptom also requires a trip to the vet to be checked out thoroughly.
Finally, some dogs may run a low fever with a cold. Many dogs will not have a fever at all when dealing with a cold, however, so keep this in mind as well. If your dog’s fever is quite high, then they are likely dealing with something more serious than a cold in most instances.
Treatments for Colds in Dogs
Once your veterinarian diagnosis your dog with a cold they may recommend any of these treatments.
Fluids are important for dogs who have colds, just like they are for people with colds. Fluids can keep your dog from getting dehydrated while they are sick, and they can also “flush” the cold out faster, making it easier for your pet to recover quickly.
Once again, just like humans, dogs require plenty of rest to recover from illness of any type.
Although antibiotics can’t treat a cold, because colds are caused by viruses, your vet may give antibiotics if your dog is at risk of a secondary infection. Antibiotics can prevent or significantly reduce the risk of pneumonia, which is always a potential hazard with respiratory infections too.
If your dog is coughing so much that they can’t rest very well, or if the cough is keeping them from being able to eat and drink comfortably, then your vet may provide cough medicine. You should never give your dog human cough syrup, but if your vet prescribes dog-safe cough medication, it is okay to use it until your pet feels better.
Other Conditions that Mimic Colds in Dogs
It is important to work with your veterinarian because sometimes what looks like a cold can be something else entirely.
Canine Influenza and Parainfluenza
Canine influenza and parainfluenza are both sometimes referred to as “dog flu.” Both conditions can be potentially fatal in puppies and senior dogs, and both are extremely contagious between any dogs who haven’t been vaccinated against them.
Distemper is a serious respiratory infection that can be fatal in puppies, senior dogs, and any dog with severe underlying health problems. Unfortunately, the symptoms of distemper mimic those of a cold, so it is important to have your pet checked out if you think they are showing respiratory symptoms.
Yes, Dogs Can Have Colds
As you can see, it is possible for dogs to catch colds, and many times, the symptoms mimic those seen in humans with colds. However, since some dog colds can be slightly different, it’s important to learn the signs and symptoms so you can know what to look out for.
If you think your pet may have a cold, call West Ashley Veterinary Clinic at (843) 571-7095 or book an appointment online to be checked out. Your vet can give you an official diagnosis and help you decide which treatment or management option is right for your pet. Your dog should be able to recover from their cold quickly with the help of your vet!