- Sniffles? Check
- Watery eyes? Check
- Sneezing? Check
- Coughing? Check
- Loss of appetite? Check
- Hoarse sounding bark? Check
If it were not for the last point, you would be right for thinking we were talking about a cold in a human, and you would be right, of course. But what about dogs? Can your cute canine companion catch a cold?
The answer is yes; they can.
Just like a human cold, a dog can get a cold that can be nothing more than a bit of a sniffle to something that makes them feel pretty awful for a few days. Here, we look at what to look out for and what you need to do if your dog gets a cold.
Can your dog catch a cold from you?
While many people believe that this is possible - and the symptoms certainly do mimic one another - a cold cannot cross through to a different species. Other, animal-specific viruses cause a human cold and a dog cold. If you both happen to be unwell at the same time, it is nothing more than an unfortunate coincidence.
What symptoms should you be looking out for?
As we explained above, the cold symptoms in a dog are remarkably like those in a human. These include a streaming or a blocked-up nose, watery or sore eyes, coughing and sneezing, general lethargy, loss of appetite, hoarse 'voice' (indicating a sore throat). However, while a cold is not generally dangerous, it is important to know whether it is 'just a cold', or whether they are symptoms of something more serious.
How do you treat a cold in a dog?
You cannot 'treat' a cold in a dog, in the same way that you cannot with a human - you have to let the virus run its course. However, there are things that you can do to alleviate some of the symptoms and make your furry friend feel a little more comfortable. These include:
Making sure they drink plenty of fluids and eat what they can - a few of their favourite treats might be worth offering if it means they are eating something!
Steam room - if they are congested, take them into the bathroom, shut the windows and turn on the shower as hot as possible. The steam will help to clear the mucus out of their nasal passages, allowing them to breathe a little easier. Alternatively, invest in a room vaporizer.
Allow them to rest - your dog is probably feeling pretty rubbish, so avoid the long walks and fun games and allow them to rest and sleep as much as possible, to help their body recover from their cold.
Is there anything else you should be keeping an eye on?
Occasionally, the symptoms of a cold can be the symptoms of something else more serious, so keep an eye out for the following:
Kennel cough: an infectious disease, characterized by a loud, distinctive 'honking cough. It is particularly important to be aware of this if they have recently been in kennels.
Allergies: Coughing and sneezing and watery eyes can be a sign of allergies, so if symptoms persist or only appear in a particular environment, contact your vet for advice.
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