Just as people catch a cold, you may be wondering whether dogs can also catch a cold. Well, for your peace of mind, dogs do not catch a cold.
Dog owners do not have to worry that their dog would catch a cold just because they have one. In fact, you can cuddle with your dog even when you have a cold knowing that he won’t catch it.
However, dogs do catch respiratory infections which are transmitted from one dog to another.
Dogs that are in animal shelters or boarding kennels are at a higher risk to be infected by these respiratory infections. Because the dogs that are placed in these kennels are prone to get infected, the respiratory infections have been classified as “kennel cough”.
Kennel cough includes different types of respiratory infections which can be compared to the cold that people have. There is a vaccine available for kennel cough. However, this vaccine will only protect your dog from the most common types of kennel cough. The possibility is still there that he can catch one of the rare types of the respiratory infection. To control the spread of the infection, boarding kennels require that dogs be vaccinated for kennel cough before they are accepted to stay there.
Symptoms of Kennel Cough
- If your dog has a dry cough.
- If your dog has a watery nasal discharge.
- In mild cases, your dog may still eat and still be alert and active.
- If your dog is severely infected, he could die.
- In severe cases, your dog may be lethargic, have a fever, lose his appetite, or catch pneumonia.
Other Respiratory Infections
Most of these respiratory infections are mild and would not affect your dog seriously, unless he has a weak immune system or has not been vaccinated. If your dog has a mild case of the infection, he could heal on his own or may need antibiotics to clear up the infection. He may also need a cough suppressant for the cough which you can get from your veterinarian. If your dog has a severe case of the infection, he will definitely need antibiotics to clear up the infection. He may even need to get treatment from your veterinarian to prevent the cough from developing into pneumonia.
Canine influenza is relatively new and dogs are susceptible to it. In 2004, the H3N8 virus that causes canine influenza was discovered. The H3N8 virus was originally a horse virus which started to affect dogs.
Dogs can catch canine influenza which is in the air or from objects that are contaminated. People who have come in contact with dogs that are infected can also pass it on to dogs that are not infected. This virus has now been documented in more than 30 states.
With this new virus, all dogs are exposed and at risk of catching it since dogs are not immune to the virus. Most dogs that are exposed to the virus would become infected. But only about 80% of these dogs may show any signs of the disease. The other 20% of dogs, even though they may not have the virus, once they have come in contact with dogs that are already infected, can pass the virus on to other dogs.
Dogs can become infected with canine influenza at any time during the year. Most dogs that would come in contact with the virus may catch a mild type of the influenza and would recover quickly without any difficulty. However, some dogs could catch a severe type that could develop into pneumonia. Since there is now a canine influenza vaccine, even though its effect is uncertain, make sure that your dog gets the vaccine that could still provide him with some protection.