Dogs Still Get The Flu This Time of Year

Do you know how to help your best friend recover from influenza?

By Catalina Barrios

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With the season changes comes seasonal sickness!


Which is your favorite season? I love Autumn. I enjoy seeing the leaves falling from the trees while taking a walk in a cozy sweater. If you ask my son and my mom, they will tell you winter is their favorite. I don’t mind the cold weather but I don’t like cold and flu season.

Even though winter is coming to a close, there are still some nasty viruses floating about – for humans and dogs.

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The sudden spikes and dips in temperature as we hobble our way into spring can tax the immune system, making all more vulnerable to viruses, such as influenza. Influenza can be dangerous because it can lead to complications like pneumonia. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms.


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The first cases of canine influenza came this January – unfortunately it’s still circulating.

Canine influenza has similar symptoms to human flu including: coughing, sneezing and fever. That good news is that the canine flu can’t spread to humans, so you don’t have to worry about catching it as you care for your pooch.

How do you know if you dog has the flu? Have a look for the following symptoms:

  • Runny eyes
  • Constant sneezing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nasal discharge
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing

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These symptoms can last up to two weeks. While the majority of dog flu is mild, severe cases include pneumonia or respiratory distress, with very high fever. According to the American Kennel Club, less than 10 percent of dog flu cases result in fatality.


What to do if your dog gets the flu?

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  • Keep your dog warm – Dogs are sensitive to weather changes. It is important to keep them close to heaters or keep them warm by wrapping them with their favorite blanket. When it is time for a walk, dress your dog properly and make sure to dry your dog’s feet when you get home.
  • Lessen the time for walks – Like people, dogs also need to rest to recover from the flu. This is why we need to give them the time needed to recuperate. After a couple of days of resting, they will start getting more active. Avoid taking them for a walk during the coldest parts of the day.
  • Encourage your dog to drink and eat – The flu may stop your dog from eating or drinking. Make sure to keep your dog hydrated, even if it is just little sips of water.

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It is very important to treat your dog’s flu as soon as it starts, with rest and adequate hydration. Contact your veterinarian if your dog’s flu symptoms get worse, or if he starts to recover but then tanks again. The latter is usually caused by a secondary bacterial infection, such as pneumonia.

With some tender love and care your furry friend will be back at it in no time!