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Can Dogs Get The Flu?

Image of sick dog with the title Can Dogs Get The Flu
Picture of Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal is the founder and lead veterinarian for Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic. Coufal graduated from State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in May of 2000.

If your body aches and fever last a little longer than a few days, this could mean you have the flu and not just a cold. During these times of recovery, we can expect our pets to keep us company, and maybe even help us feel a little better just by their presence. While the two of you are cuddled up and waiting to get better, the thought may cross your mind as to whether dogs can contract the flu from humans. At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, we want to be sure our neighbors are informed during this time when viruses are impacting us all, how it may affect our pets as well, and in the midst of the COVID-19 virus pandemic in the world today, you can be rest assured your pets will be safe.

The good news is that the common flu is not something to worry about for our furry friends, either contracting or hosting to carry it on to other humans. While your dog can’t get the human flu, there are cases when illnesses such as Kennel Cough or Canine Influenza can be passed along from pet to pet.

Can Dogs Catch The Flu From Humans?

Dogs can’t get the human flu, nor carry it to others. They do have their own contagious respiratory disease called Canine Influenza. The symptoms are similar to what we see when we get the flu.

Canine Influenza

This “dog flu” is an upper respiratory infection much like the one we experience. There are two known strains, H3N8 and H3N2, the first having been transferred from horses to dogs as found in 2004. The second strain was the cause of an outbreak in 2015 and 2016 in the Midwest United States and is still commonly contracted.

Symptoms of Canine Influenza

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Discharge from the eyes and nose

How long does Canine Influenza last?

These symptoms, similar to Kennel Cough, can last anywhere from 10 to 30 days. It is recommended a diagnosed dog be isolated for at least 21 days so as not to infect other animals. There is no cure for dog flu, but your veterinarian can provide supportive treatments to help your dog through it.

Another thing to note is that in some states it is required of veterinarians to report cases of Canine Influenza to the local government in order to better track the flu and prevent it from further spreading.

Kennel Cough

If your dog is experiencing similar symptoms such as fever and coughing, another diagnosis could be Kennel cough, or Canine Cough. This disease appears in canines when a large amount of dogs are boarded up together. For instance, in pet hotels, kennels, and humane societies. One of the symptoms is evident from the name–a consistent cough, often resembling hacking, as if they are trying to get something out of their throat.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Trouble breathing

How Is Kennel Cough Transmitted?

Unfortunately, direct contact with another dog which is infected is not the only way the disease can be contracted. The disease is airborne, and can live on objects such as water bowls or chew toys with remnants of saliva for up to two weeks.

How Long Does Kennel Cough Last?

The disease can last from a 3-6 week time frame, and a dog can still carry the disease and be contagious for a few weeks afterward. Often an infected dog can run the course of the sickness, but that does not discount the amount of discomfort they may go through before it is gone.

Kennel Cough Treatment

Common treatments for Kennel Cough include medications such as Baytril, Doxycycline, and Clavamox, although, since the disease is caused by both a virus and bacteria, dual treatment will be needed. 

Luckily, medication like Doxycycline does well to help our little friends with the discomfort and frustration a cough and fever can cause. Kennel cough is a highly contagious disease, but one that is usually only life-threatening for young puppies, geriatric dogs, or immunocompromised dogs.

If your dog needs to be boarded or anticipates being around other canines, it is always encouraged to bring them in for a check-up to be sure of their health in order to protect every four-legged family member.

Can Dogs Get COVID-19?

Can pets get Coronavirus? Amidst the world-wide pandemic we are all experiencing, it’s important to us to be confident our furry friends will be safe. The World Health Organization ensures that there is no risk for pet dogs, and also cats, to carry the virus or infect others. Food packing is not a risk either. If you have the virus, there is no worry about having contact with your pet, and very little chance an animal can carry the disease to anyone else. The World Health Organization is a place to stay informed on any changes regarding COVID-19.

Keep Your Pet Safe & Healthy | Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic

In the cases of Kennel Cough or Canine Influenza, our compassionate team at Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic wants local families to know it is important to take your pet in to the vet to be able to get them the best treatment. In many cases this will also help in prevention of either sickness transferring to other pets. Annual wellness exams are recommended to negate any chance of Kennel Cough or Canine Influenza. Contact us today to set up a check-up with Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic.

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