Can Dogs Get Colds?

Dog Owner Questions Answered

The sniffles can affect your pet at any time. From a seasonal change, traveling, or a cold winter snap, your furry family member may become sick. With cold and flu season around the corner, you may find yourself asking, “Can dogs get colds?” Because of this, we sat down with Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Caroline Wilde to better understand dogs and colds and what it may mean for your best friend.

A black and white dog lays in the grass

Can dogs get colds?

Your dog or puppy’s immune system may respond differently to their home, a new environment, or an interaction with another pet. Also, colds to a human may mean something different for your furry friends. Wilde breaks down what it actually may mean for a dog to have a cold.

“Colds in humans are caused by an adenovirus. Adenovirus in dogs does not cause respiratory signs, so while dogs don’t really get ‘colds’, they can get contagious respiratory infections, which are more often bacterial, as is the case with kennel cough.”

Further, your dog may get an upper respiratory infection quite easily, it’s a viral disease. Consider keeping your pet home if they’re feeling sick and be mindful of shared toys, bowls, and pet spaces in your home.

Signs your dog may have a cold

If your dog seems a bit different, you may want to look into your pet’s behavior. Naturally, you may not always notice an infection in your pets. Wilde points out some common signs of an upper respiratory infection to look for in your best friend.

Consider the following:

  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Nasal discharge
  • Cough

Your pet may not always show all the signs of any illness, so please seek the medical care of your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can determine the next best steps for your furry friend.

Treatment plan

Naturally, you want your furry friend to feel better. “Your pet may need antibiotics or even an x-ray to rule out pneumonia,” says Wilde. Your dog’s treatment plan may also vary depending on the severity of the diagnosis. Further, your pet’s veterinarian will prescribe a treatment plan and reach out with any concerns or changes with your pet.

A veterinarian examines a bulldog

Tips to help prevent a cold

Whether you’re staying at home or traveling with your furry friends, it may be helpful to have some tips to help keep your pets happy and healthy. Here are some must-haves no matter the season.

  • Follow your veterinarian’s vaccination guidelines to avoid preventable respiratory tract infections.
  • Make sure any boarding or daycare facility has up-to-date vaccinations for all your pets.
  • Avoid contact with any dogs that are exhibiting respiratory signs.
  • Keep your pets at home if they’re feeling sick.
  • Be mindful in public spaces, like at the dog park, groomers, or veterinary clinic.
  • Keep your pet company with extra attention, cuddles, and love.

Can dogs get colds? The season may affect pets of all ages

A respiratory illness can affect dogs of all sizes and ages. But by observing your pet, talking with your veterinarian, and sticking to your pet’s treatment plan, your pet may be ready to get out and adventure in no time at all!

For more on dog care, read Heart Murmur in Dogs: A Pet Owner Guide.