Can dogs get colds?

Can dogs get colds?

I'm sure you've heard of the phrase 'Sick as a dog'...

And so it stands to reason that dogs can actually catch colds, just like us humans. There are a lot of similarities between dog colds and the common human cold. You will probably be aware of the symptoms:

  • watery eyes
  • congestion like a blocked nose
  • coughing
  • sleepiness and reduced activity
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • loss of appetite


While these symptoms in your dog may only be pointing to a common cold, you should always be mindful that some of these symptoms could be more serious illnesses like a fungal infection, parasites, kennel cough, canine bronchitis or dog flu.

When should I be worried?

Some flat faced breeds are more prone to breathing problems in general and so even a common cold could cause more serious symptoms such as increased snoring, wheezing or snorting. As the structure of the nose and nasal passages in these breeds is very different, they can become much more congested, and unable to clear their airways. This trapped mucus can go on to cause secondary infections such as canine pneumonia.  If you notice a change like this, seeking professional advice from your vet is wise.

Here's a handy table which outlines the symptoms of more serious dog illnesses with similar symptoms of a canine cold:

Canine Bronchitis Coughing, wheezing for an extended period or difficulty breathing, vomiting or retching 
Kennel Cough A hacking or honking sound to a cough (especially if your dog has been boarding away from home recently)
Fungal Infection Loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, skin lesions, eye inflammation, difficulty breathing (coughing or wheezing)
Dog Flu Fever, discharge from eyes and/or nose, lethargy, loss of appetite, hacking cough
Parasites Constant cough, vomiting, bloating, change in appetite, 



How to treat a canine cold

REST - Allow your dog to rest as much as possible. If they don't feel like their walk then allow them to skip it until they have more energy.

WATER - Try and encourage your dog to drink more water than they normally would. Keeping your dog hydrated is key to moving through a cold quickly. 

INSIDE - Keep your dog dry and warm.

CLEAN - Use a soft damp cloth to wipe away any discharge from the eyes and nose.

FOOD - Keep your dog's diet simple and always feed for health and nutrition.

If you are worried, it's always a good idea to seek advice from your vet especially if you notice any of the symptoms in the table above. It's always better to get your dog checked by a professional.

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