Rarely life threatening, but always irritating, the common cold is just a fact of life. But what about dogs? Do they get colds?
Dogs can get infections that make them sneeze and sniffle, just like we do. However, your dog’s cold symptoms could also be the result of a more serious disease.
What Is a Cold ?
When people talk about catching a cold, they are actually referring to a wide range of viruses. All of these viruses are grouped together as cold viruses because they cause similar symptoms, such as sneezing, sore throat, runny eyes and nose, and general malaise. In people, the most common viral cold agents are the rhinovirus, which is more than 50 percent of colds in humans, and also the corona, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, and parainfluenza viruses.
The causes of colds in dogs are similar. There is not one specific virus that gets the label “cold virus.” Instead, several different viruses can cause cold symptoms in dogs. Some of these are more serious than others, which is why it is important to treat your cold symptoms with a little more gravity.
What Are the Symptoms of Colds in Dogs ?
You may recognize some of your symptoms in the symptoms of colds in dogs.
Common cold symptoms include:
-Runny or congested nose
These symptoms could be the result of a cold virus, but they could also include symptoms of more serious conditions, for example kennel cough, influenza virus (dog flu), the parainfluenza virus, bronchitis, or even canine distemper.
If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, your safest option is to call your veterinarian for advice. If your dog is also experiencing a change in appetite, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or any other changes in normal behavior, your dog could suffer from severe disease that requires veterinary treatment.
Cold or Kennel Cough ?
Kennel cough (also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis) is a highly infectious respiratory disease in dogs. It gets its name from its most common place of transmission – kennels. At kennels and other places where large numbers of dogs congregate, it is easy to catch and transmit viruses. Kennel cough is treatable, and most dogs recover, but it has more serious consequences in puppies and dogs with compromised immune systems.
The most distinctive characteristic of kennel cough is the dry, honking cough that dogs develop. Some people equate it to the sound of a honey goose.
Other symptoms of kennel cough include sneezing, runny nose, lethargy, appetite loss, and a low fever. Since many of these symptoms can also be found in dogs with colds, it is important to consult your veterinarian.
Are There Other Causes of Cold Symptoms ?
Viruses are not the only cause of cold symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or runny eyes and nose. Coughing could also be the result of bacterial, parasitic infection such as heart worms and roundworms. Fungal infections and allergies can also cause cold-like symptoms and lead to damage to the lung tissue and possibly pneumonia.
How Are Dog Colds Treated ?
If you suspect your dog is cold, the first thing you should do is call your veterinarian. While a mild cold is probably not a cause for concern, it is very important that you rule out any other causes of your dog’s symptoms.
Your veterinarian will have a more serious condition. Radiographs, fecal analysis, and blood work can help isolate the cause of your dog’s cold symptoms and lead to the best treatment plan for your dog.
Treatment for your dog’s cold will depend on the underlying cause. While mild colds typically resolve on your own, if your dog’s cold turns out to be an infection such as kennel cough, for example, your veterinarian will recommend a treatment protocol that could also include rest, antibiotics for secondary infections, cough suppressants, and fluids especially if your dog is a puppy or immune-compromised.
Can Dogs Get Colds from Humans ?
The chances of contracting a cold from humans is extremely low. The viruses that cause cold-like symptoms in humans and in dogs are so easy to do.