Dogs, just like humans, are susceptible to colds. Although canine colds are usually not as severe as those experienced by humans, they can still cause discomfort to our furry friends. One common symptom of colds in humans is a runny nose, but do dogs get runny noses too? In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about canine colds, including whether dogs get runny noses and what to do if your furry friend catches a cold.
What Are Canine Colds?
Canine colds, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, canine infectious respiratory disease complex, or kennel cough, are a group of respiratory infections that affect dogs. Canine colds can be caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria, including the parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, and Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. These infections mainly affect the upper respiratory tract, including the nose, throat, and windpipe, and can cause symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and fever.
Do Dogs Get Runny Noses?
Yes, dogs can get runny noses when they have a cold. Just like in humans, a runny nose in dogs is a common symptom of respiratory infections. The tissues in the dog’s nasal passages produce excess mucus in response to the infection, leading to a runny nose. You may notice your dog constantly wiping their nose with their paw or rubbing their nose on surfaces to relieve the discomfort caused by the runny nose.
Other Symptoms of Canine Colds
In addition to a runny nose, dogs with colds may also display other symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and fever. These symptoms usually appear within a few days of exposure to the cold virus or bacteria and can last for up to two weeks. In some cases, the symptoms can become severe and develop into pneumonia or other respiratory infections, especially in young puppies or older dogs with weakened immune systems.
How Do Dogs Catch Colds?
Dogs can catch colds from other infected dogs or through contact with contaminated surfaces such as food bowls, toys, or bedding. Cold viruses and bacteria can survive on surfaces for several hours or even days, making it easy for dogs to contract the infection. Dogs that spend time in kennels, groomers, dog parks, or other places with high dog traffic are at a higher risk of catching colds.
How Can You Prevent Canine Colds?
The best way to prevent canine colds is to keep your dog away from infected dogs and contaminated surfaces. You should also make sure that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date, as many of the viruses and bacteria that cause colds in dogs are included in the standard canine vaccinations. Regular grooming and cleaning of your dog’s environment can also help reduce the risk of infections.
How Can You Treat Canine Colds?
If your dog catches a cold, there are several things you can do to help them feel better. Make sure your dog gets plenty of rest and fluids, and provide a warm and comfortable environment to help soothe their respiratory tract. You can also use humidifiers or steamy showers to help relieve congestion. In some cases, your vet may prescribe antibiotics or other medications to treat the underlying infection or alleviate the symptoms.
When Should You Visit the Vet?
While most cases of canine colds are mild and can be treated at home, there are some situations where you should contact your vet. If your dog’s symptoms last longer than two weeks or become severe, such as a high fever or difficulty breathing, you should seek veterinary care immediately. Young puppies, older dogs, or dogs with underlying health conditions are also at a higher risk of complications from colds and should be closely monitored by a vet.
Canine colds are a common respiratory infection that affects dogs of all ages and breeds. While a runny nose is a common symptom of canine colds, dogs may also display other symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and fever. The best way to prevent canine colds is to keep your dog away from infected dogs and contaminated surfaces, and to ensure that their vaccinations are up to date. If your dog catches a cold, make sure to provide them with plenty of rest and fluids, and contact your vet if their symptoms persist or become severe.
- Brewer, M. S. (2018). Infectious Tracheobronchitis. Merck Veterinary Manual. Retrieved from https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/lung-and-airway-disorders-of-dogs/infectious-tracheobronchitis-in-dogs
- “Kennel Cough” American Kennel Club, akc.org
- Sugg, N. K. (2010). Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 40(5), 791–807. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cvsm.2010.05.001
- Q: Can dogs catch colds from humans?
- A: It is rare for dogs to catch colds from humans, as most cold viruses are species-specific. However, some viruses such as the H1N1 influenza virus can infect both dogs and humans.
- Q: Can dogs catch colds from other animals?
- A: Dogs can catch colds from other dogs, cats, and various other animals. It’s important to keep your dog away from infected animals and make sure their vaccinations are up to date to minimize the risk of infections.
- Q: How can I tell if my dog has a cold?
- A: Symptoms of canine colds include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If you notice these symptoms in your dog, contact your vet for advice.
- Q: Can canine colds be fatal?
- A: Canine colds are usually not fatal, and most dogs recover from the infection with proper care and treatment. However, some dogs, especially young puppies or older dogs with weakened immune systems, may develop severe complications such as pneumonia.