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Can Dogs Get Colds?

Can Dogs Get Colds?
Colds in dogs are pretty common and are often caused by the various germs and viruses, just like in case of humans. The following article explains ways to treat common colds in dogs, and lists out other illnesses that produce similar symptoms as well.
Aastha Dogra
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
Dogs can contract a cold by being in proximity with a dog who is already infected. Along with this, stress, low immunity levels, and inhospitable weather conditions can be additional contributing factors.

But most pet owners usually have trouble discerning a common cold from a serious ailment. To make things a little easy for you, we have here a list of symptoms indicating that your dog has a cold.

Symptoms of Common Cold in Dogs -
  • Coughing
  • Runny eyes
  • Yellowish-green discharge from the nose
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Lethargy
Can my dog catch a cold from me?
The answer is a resounding 'no'. Dogs can pass viruses among themselves, but a human-to-dog transmission is unlikely. This is because the virus that gets a dog down with a cold is different from the one that affects humans. Therefore, owners should not be concerned about either, passing this illness onto their pets, or contracting it from them.

Helping Your Dog Recover

Increasing Fluid Intake
If your dog has common cold, the simplest way to get rid of it is by feeding him/her lots of nutritious liquids. Chicken broth, for instance will work wonders for your dog too.

Steam Therapy
Try to get your dog to inhale steaming water which will unclog the sinuses. Bring over a tub of hot water, and gently lead the dog to inhale the vapors. Be careful not to allow the dog to go too close to the steaming water.

Boost Immunity
If your dog is prone to catching a cold, use preventive measures, like feeding him/her immunity-boosting food items. This in turn, will keep the germs and bacteria at bay, which can otherwise lead to a cold. A good immune system will ensure that the dog is better equipped to cope with fluctuations in the weather, which is also a common cause behind contracting a cold.

Vitamin Therapy
Vitamin therapies help in boosting a dog's immune system. Provide the dogs with vitamins A, C and E when he/she's suffering from a bout of cold. By including these vitamins in the diet, the immune system will become strong, enabling the dog to fight off most illnesses.

Cough Suppressant
If these home remedies don't work, call your vet about prescribing medication. Cough suppressants can be given to provide temporary relief. Although they may not be able to get rid of the symptoms entirely, they can be given to minimize the discomfort.

Preventive Measures
It would be a good idea to keep the dog indoors when the mercury dips. This is to protect the dog from getting out in an environment where it's easy to catch a cold. Cover your pet with a warm blanket to keep him/her warm during the winter months.

Other Respiratory Illnesses in Dogs

Canine Parainfluenza
This respiratory illness produces symptoms similar to common cold in humans. It is possible to treat canine parainfluenza with the use of home remedies in the early stages. If symptoms persist, you need to speak to the vet.

Kennel Cough
The symptoms of kennel cough include a harsh-sounding cough and discharge of phlegm. Kennel cough, in most cases, is caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria and Adenovirus type 2. Adenovirus type 2 is known to produce cold-like symptoms in dogs.

Pneumonia in dogs occurs when the respiratory infection and cold do not resolve on their own, and are left untreated. Pneumonia causes an inflammation of the lungs and its symptoms include difficulty in breathing and chronic coughing. Dogs suffering from pneumonia need immediate medical care.

Canine Distemper
Canine distemper is a very grave illness, so ensure that your dog is vaccinated against this disease. It is highly infectious. Canine distemper produces symptoms such as coughing and sneezing along with gastrointestinal disturbance. It weakens the dog's immunity and can prove fatal.

Other Illnesses
In some rare cases, cold-like symptoms may be caused by certain parasites, which enter the heart and the lungs. Fungal infections, which occur when the fungal parasites get into the lungs, produce symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, etc.

If your dog's condition does not improve, and is accompanied by other symptoms such as dehydration, infrequent urination, poor appetite, vomiting, etc., and if the dog seems perpetually distressed, it is recommended you contact a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Also, if the dog is very old or very young, it is best to consult a veterinarian, rather than attempting to cure him/her at home.

Disclaimer: This DogAppy article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for the advice of a veterinarian.
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