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Can Dogs Get Colds from Humans?

Can Dogs Get Colds from Humans?

After catching a respiratory infection themselves, many pet owners often wonder, can dogs get colds from humans? If you too are worried about spreading the infection to your canine friend, then read through the following article. Here, you will find an answer that will help lay all your worries to rest.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Dogs have a way of becoming a part of our lives. We tend to become so attached to our dogs that we do not just consider them as pets, but as our babies. But what if we fall ill and unknowingly pass on the illness to our dear pets? On a serious note, do we actually pass along any disease symptoms to our pets? It's worth finding out the answers to these questions for the good health of your pet.

Common cold is one of the most common ailments that humans seem to catch at least twice a year. We begin to maintain a distance from our loved ones, fearing we may pass on our cold to them. But, how do we keep our dog away, who is bound to pounce on us the minute he sees us?

Can Humans Spread Colds to Dogs?
You may have heard of certain diseases that are spread from animals to humans. These include the nasty H1N1 virus that had managed to cause a 'bird flu' pandemic around the world. And recently, you may have heard a lot about the unfortunate deaths of many people around the world due to 'swine flu'. Both these respiratory diseases were said to have been passed on from animals to humans. This probably makes one wonder, if it is possible for dogs to get colds from humans.

Pets can transfer certain diseases and parasites like rabies, ringworm and intestinal parasites to humans. But, when it comes to humans, they do not transfer a cold virus or bacteria to humans. This means, if you catch a cold or flu, it cannot be transmitted to dogs. And similarly, when a dog catches a cold or flu, it is highly unlikely that it will spread to humans. The reason being that the cold and flu causing viral and bacterial agents for humans and dogs are different. These infection causing germs therefore are unable to cause colds in dogs when transmitted from humans and vice versa.

Most of these respiratory illnesses are specific-specific in nature. This means that a dog can spread his cold germs only to a dog and a human will spread cold only to humans. Thus, if you have caught a cold, just relax. Your dog will not catch a cold from you. It should, however be noted, that certain Streptococcus species may infect both humans, dogs as well as cats. These bacteria are the ones that cause sore throat. Many dogs and cats are carriers of Group A Streptococcus and never exhibit symptoms of an infection. These pets are able to transmit the bacteria to humans, leading to an infection. However, if you suffer from Strep throat, the illness will not be transmitted to your pet.

Causes of Colds in Dogs
Dogs definitely get cold, but, the agents causing colds in dogs are different from those in humans. Hence there is no transmission of cold from humans to dogs or the other way round. Colds in dogs are caused by various viral and bacterial agents. The organisms that cause colds in dogs are:
  • Adenovirus Type 2
  • Canine Influenza Virus
  • Distemper
  • Kennel Cough (caused by viruses Adenovirus or Coronavirus and mostly by bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica)
  • Parainfluenza Virus
Cold Symptoms in Dogs
Although the causes of colds in dogs differ from humans, the symptoms are more or less the same. The cold symptoms in dogs include:
  • Chronic cough
  • Runny nose
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Continuous sneezing
  • Hacking cough with phlegm
  • Greenish yellow nasal discharge
  • Watery eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Sleepiness
  • Fever
How to Cure a Dog Cold?
If you are wondering how to cure a dog's cold, the treatment methods are very simple. Similar to human cold, most of the dog colds are self-limiting. After about 2 to 4 days, the symptoms begin to subside. However, if the dog shows high fever and severe symptoms of cold, you should seek medical help. Generally, a dog is required to be kept in a warm and dry place. Give him a nice, comfortable bed to sleep in with a warm blanket. The dog may lose his appetite, but you have to gently coax him to eat. Feed the dog with boiled chicken, some rice and chicken broth. Give the dog plenty of clean and fresh water to drink. This will help keep the dog hydrated and flush out the toxins and infectious agents from his body. Apart from that, you can place a mint flavored vaporizer near the dog, while he sleeps. The steam will moisten the bronchial passages and allow the dog to breathe easy. The veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics in case of bacterial infection. The veterinarian may also suggest multivitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C and E to help strengthen the immune system of the dog.

Dogs cannot get an infection from humans and humans cannot catch a cold from dogs. You can safely sneeze when your dog is around as it won't get transmitted to the dog. However, show some caution around puppies, older dogs and dogs with a weak immune system. Hope the above information has helped you learn that dogs cannot get sick due to human respiratory infections.