Can dogs get colds?
Just like humans, dogs can experience symptoms that resemble a cold. While our furry friends are resilient, it's essential to understand the signs, take precautions, and know what to do if you suspect your pup might be under the weather.
So, can dogs get colds? The short answer is yes, dogs can get colds, but it's not exactly the same as a human cold. Canine colds are generally caused by viruses, such as the canine respiratory coronavirus, canine adenovirus, and most commonly, the canine parainfluenza virus. These viruses can lead to symptoms similar to the common cold in humans.
Common Symptoms of a Canine Cold
- Sneezing and Coughing: One of the first signs that your dog might have a cold is sneezing and coughing. They may have a dry, hacking cough, which can be quite distressing for both you and your furry friend.
- Runny Nose: A runny or congested nose is another typical symptom. You might notice that your dog's nasal discharge is clear and watery.
- Watery Eyes: Canine colds can cause watery eyes and increased tear production. Your pup might appear to be more sensitive to light.
- Lethargy: Dogs with colds often feel under the weather and become lethargic. They might have a reduced appetite and be less interested in their usual activities.
- Slight Fever: In some cases, your dog may develop a mild fever. You can check for a fever by feeling your dog's nose or using a thermometer designed for dogs.
- Decreased Appetite: Your dog might lose interest in their food or treats during a cold. It's important to monitor their eating habits to ensure they stay nourished.
What to Do if You Suspect Your Dog Has a Cold
If you suspect that your dog has a cold, it's crucial to take some proactive steps to help them recover and ensure their wellbeing. Here are some tips on what to do:
Isolate Your Dog: Keep your dog away from other dogs to prevent the spread of the virus. Canine colds are contagious among dogs.
Provide Comfort: Make your pup as comfortable as possible. Offer a warm, cosy spot for them to rest and ensure they stay hydrated.
Monitor Symptoms: Keep a close eye on your dog's symptoms. If they worsen or don't improve within a few days, consult your vet.
Humidify the Air: Increasing humidity in your home can help ease your dog's congestion. You can use a humidifier or place a bowl of water near a heat source to release moisture into the air.
Maintain a Nutritious Diet: While your dog may have a reduced appetite, it's essential to provide nutritious food and encourage them to eat. You can try adding some warm chicken broth to their food to make it more appealing.
Consult Your Vet: If your dog's symptoms persist or worsen, it's essential to consult your vet. They can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend treatment if necessary.
Prevention is always better than cure. To minimise the risk of your dog getting a cold, consider the following tips:
Vaccination: Make sure your dog is up to date on their vaccinations, which can help protect them from some common canine viruses.
Avoid Exposure: Limit your dog's exposure to other dogs with known illnesses, especially in crowded or high-risk areas.
Maintain a Healthy Diet: A balanced diet can help boost your dog's immune system, making them more resilient to infections.
While dogs can get colds, they are generally not as severe as human colds and often resolve on their own with some care and attention. As responsible pet parents, it's our duty to keep a watchful eye on our furry friends, offer comfort when they're not feeling their best, and consult a vet when necessary.