Can Dogs Get Colds?


Are you worried that your dog might have caught a cold?

Do you want to know how to treat his cold, or are you concerned that you might have given him yours?

In this article we answer the question “can dogs get colds?”.

Giving you the information you need on canine colds, including their symptoms and treatment.

We will also answer that important question: can dogs catch human colds?

Can Dogs Catch Colds?

A common cold is the term used to describe a mild viral infection. This virus impacts the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways.

Just as humans catch colds from each other, dogs can catch colds from other dogs.

They do not even need to have direct physical contact with each other to pick them up. Dog colds can be caught when their mouths touch something that an infected dog has been in contact with, or by inhaling droplets of fluid containing traces of another dog’s cold virus.

They can even pick them up by stepping on something infected with the virus, then chewing their paws or rubbing their nose and eyes.

Can Dogs Catch Human Colds

Although dogs can catch colds from each other, the cold viruses are not transferable between humans and dogs. So it is not possible for you to give your cold to your pet dog.

Your body is quite different to your dogs, and the environment which allows human cold germs to thrive and result in your becoming unwell is too different to the environment inside your dog.

The cold virus you have is not the same cold virus your dog can get.

Likewise, dog colds can not be passed on to humans. Therefore, if you have both fallen ill at the same time, this is a coincidence and nothing more.

You can safely pet and play with your dog while you have a cold, without worrying about making him unwell.

Dog Cold Symptoms

Although canine colds and human colds are different, the symptoms are very similar.

Dog cold symptoms include respiratory problems, causing them to struggle to breathe freely. They may have a runny nose, be lethargic, have a cough, watery eyes, sneeze or have a raised temperature. They may well also lose interest in their dinner while unwell.

If you see any of the following signs then your dog might have a cold:

  • Runny nose
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Slightly raised temperature
  • Difficulty breathing

If your dog has a very bad cold, symptoms can include more serious breathing problems, or a yellow or green nasal discharge.

Does My Dog Have A Cold?

Dog cold symptoms closely resemble those you will be familiar with from your own colds, however these symptoms can be related to other problems. Some of which are far more serious.

For example, allergies in dogs are common especially during the spring and summer months. They can result in sneezing, sore eyes and runny noses too. Certain parasites can damage your dog’s internal organs, causing initial similar symptoms to some colds.

Kennel Cough is another infectious virus which can result in a nasty cough, and is something else your vet might want to rule out. Likewise Canine Influenza and Canine Distemper can begin with similar symptoms, and can be quite dangerous if left unchecked.

The best person to diagnose your dog is your vet.

If your dog is showing any cold symptoms, then give your veterinarian a ring to see if they would like you to bring him in for a check up. This will mean that you can ensure you are giving him the appropriate treatment for whatever is making him feel unwell.

Make sure you take your dog straight into the surgery immediately if they seem in pain, reduce to drink or are clearly struggling to breathe.

Dog Cold Medicine

Dog cold medicine for Labs with more severe symptoms is available on prescription from your veterinarian. Cold medicine does not cure colds however, it simply alleviates the symptoms. Ask your vet to tell you how their suggested remedy works before you agree to administer it to your dog.

They may prescribe antibiotics if your dog is very unwell, to prevent it developing into pneumonia.

They may also give your dog an injection of vitamin C, to boost his immune system. This will help him recover more rapidly.

However, even without any dog cold remedies your Lab should be feeling back to normal within three days to two weeks.

Treatment For Dogs With Colds

If your dog has a cold, then it is important for you to keep him warm and dry. Inhalation of cold air causes your dog’s bronchial tubes to contract, making it even harder for him to breathe.

If he usually lives in a kennel, then bringing him indoors will help him to recuperate and reduce the chances of complications. It will also enable you to keep a closer eye on him, in case things do start to worsen.

Your Lab does not need to be taken for his daily walks if he has a cold, and in fact if the weather is bad this could do him a lot more harm than good.

If you are concerned that he is getting bored towards the end of his recover, then why not get your clicker out and do some fun positive training with him in the kitchen or living room.

Make sure he has constant access to water. If he is reluctant to drink, then give your vet a ring for their advice as they may want to bring him into the surgery to administer fluids.

Dog Cold Prevention

Colds are an inevitable part of life for dogs, as they are for us. However, they are better equipped to fight them off if they are healthier.

Cold viruses are most likely to strike when your dog is run down for another reason, so if his immune system is already fighting something off then keeping him warm, dry and comfortable will help.

Keeping your dog in good shape, exercising him regularly and feeding him an appropriate diet is a great first step alone the road to good health.