Can Dogs Get Cold? How You Can Treat Your Dog When They Have a Cold…

Can Dogs Get Cold? How You Can Treat Your Dog When They Have a Cold…

The seasons changed, and you contracted a cold. Your dog, as well, is sniffling, coughing, and sneezing. You might also have noticed your pup’s watery eyes and running nose and pondered upon the question, “Can Dogs Get Cold?”

The simple answer is yes. Dogs can get infections, making them sneeze and sniffle, like humans. But the way they catch a cold is quite different than that of humans. Here’s everything you need to know about cold in dogs.

What Is a Cold?

Most people think that the common cold is caused by the rhinovirus, but in fact, it is caused by a wide range of viruses. Most viruses cause the same symptoms, such as runny nose and eyes, sneezing, and coughing. More than 200 viruses can be the cause of your sickness. According to WebMD, the most common viral cold agents are the rhinovirus, causing more than 50% of humans’ cold. Other notable viruses include coronavirus, influenza, and parainfluenza.

So, it isn’t a specific virus that can be termed the cold virus. And just like with humans, the causes of colds in dogs are similar. Many different viruses can cause cold symptoms in your dog, some of them being much more serious than others.

Can Dogs Catch a Cold from Humans?

You might have been worried about passing your cold on to your dog, but you’ll be happy to know that it isn’t possible. Dogs aren’t affected by the virus strains that cause cold in humans. Still, if your dog has a cold, they’ll have the same symptoms as you. If you’re both down with a cold at the same time, it’s just a coincidence.

Cold Symptoms in Dogs

Most of the time, dogs have the same cold symptoms that humans do. The following symptoms indicate that your dog has a cold:

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Sore Throat
  • Congestion
  • Headaches
  • Body aches

The above symptoms could result from a cold virus or the symptoms of a much more serious health condition like kennel cough, dog flu, or bronchitis. Many different infectious agents are involved when a dog gets sick, so it is difficult to discern if your dog is unwell simply because of a cold or because of a much more life-threatening health problem.

Can Dogs Get the Flu?

While dogs can’t get the same type of flu as humans, they can contract canine influenza (dog flu). Even though the cause of the flu is different, the symptoms are relatively similar to flu in humans. Your dog may experience the following symptoms:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Fever

Just like how the flu is easily spread between humans, dog flu is also easily spread between dogs. If your dog is exposed to an infected dog, your pup will likely get the flu too. And even if humans can’t get ill from dog flu, you could be the reason why your dog contracted the flu in the first place. Dog flu can live on human skin for a few minutes, but up to a day on your clothes.

Exercise caution when you’re around an infected dog and make sure to change and wash your clothes before seeing other dogs. Most dogs survive after getting the virus, but canine influenza can cause more severe illness. The flu can turn into pneumonia, making the disease a whole lot more dangerous. Older dogs and puppies are more likely to get severely ill if they contract the virus.

The Flu, for dogs, usually lasts about three to five days. Most dogs will recover without ever seeing the doctor. Still, if your dog’s symptoms last longer than a week or two, you should take them to the vet for analysis and treatment. Your pup is less likely to catch the flu if they are not around any infected dogs. Keep your pup away from other dogs until your pup is thoroughly checked out by the vet. You can always buy special dog flu vaccines from the local pet store or vet office to prevent canine influenza.

Can Dogs Get Flu from Humans?

It was believed that dogs couldn’t come down with the human flu, but according to PETMD, there have been reports of humans and dogs getting infected with some of the same types of influenza virus. However, you don’t have to worry about passing your flu onto your canine buddy in most cases. Still, it is better to be wary; wash your hands frequently when you or your dog is sick.

How to Treat a Dog with a Cold?

The treatment depends on your dog’s general activities. If they’re eating and drinking and are relatively active, you can try easing their symptoms by using home remedies. Let your pooch have adequate amounts of rest. Encourage them to drink and eat to boost their immunity. And if necessary, you can wipe their nose and eyes with a warm, damp cloth to keep them comfortable. Never give your dog any cold remedies for humans without consulting your vet first.

On the other hand, if your dog isn’t eating and drinking well and has difficulty breathing, you should make an appointment with the vet as soon as possible. The doctor can screen your dog for other causes of congestion, sneezing, coughing, etc. Your pup might be suffering from a much more dangerous condition than flu-like pneumonia, allergies, tumors, and fungal infections. And if they are down with only a cold or flu, your veterinarian might prescribe some antibiotics or anti-inflammatories to reduce the pain and speed up your dog’s recovery.

You might also be interested in Can Dogs Cough?

Keeping Your Dog’s Immune System in Top Shape

You never know when you might catch a cold, so it’s better to keep your immune system in top shape, right? Well, it’s the same with dogs. Ensure your dog is eating and drinking well and is healthy. Here are some things you can do to boost your pup’s immunity:

  • Stay up-to-date with vaccinations.
  • Keep your dog warm and dry at the first sign of the symptoms.
  • Limit contact with infected dogs.
  • Let them have plenty of rest.
  • Exercise them daily.


The answer to the question, “Can Dogs Get Cold?”, the answer is yes. Your dog can contract various viruses responsible for colds, just like humans. They can’t get colds through humans because the viruses are species-specific. And in case they do get a cold, you know what to do.

Thank you for reading the article.

To explore more, check out other articles we have covered on canine flu.

Has your dog ever suffered from a cold? What do you do to prevent a cold? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving a comment below!

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