Can Dogs Get the Flu?
A lot of us love cosying up in winter and staying inside as much as we can. Unfortunately, winter also brings the infamous colds and flus with it.
Despite usually being an easy fix, colds and flus are annoying and uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, our pets can be affected by similar infections such as canine cough. And just like the human cold or flu, they can lead to further and more serious issues.
Canine cough: what is it?
Canine, or kennel, cough - is a highly contagious and infectious disease which dogs can succumb to.
Caused by both a virus and bacteria, canine cough affects your dog's respiratory system including their windpipe, lungs and their voicebox.
It typically isn't fatal but it can lead to more serious issues for your pet.
What to watch for
If your dog has caught canine cough, they may exhibit the following symptoms:
- A hacking, dry cough
- Mucus build-up in nose and eyes
- Unusual gagging
- Vomiting from excessive coughing
How does canine cough spread?
Canine cough is very contagious and your dog can be at risk in a number of ways like:
- Direct contact with an infected animal
- Coming into contact with the bacteria on an object
- Breathing in virus particles in the air
Canine cough could typically be found in locations that dogs congregate like dog parks or at pet friendly beaches.
To reduce the risk of canine cough, you should make sure that your pet avoids contact with toys that have been left behind and potentially contaminated. You should also be cautious with communal pet water bowls.
Which dogs are most at risk?
All dogs could be at risk of canine cough, but the young and unvaccinated ones are the most susceptible.
Dogs that are pregnant, older or have a weak respiratory system, can also have a weakened immune system and be less resistant to the infection and secondary illness.
What to do if your dog has canine cough
If you're concerned that your pet has canine cough, you should watch closely for symptoms.
Canine cough normally develops in three to 10 days and the more your dog coughs, the more irritated the lining of their airways become - further perpetuating the illness. In extreme cases, it has the potential to develop into life-threatening diseases like pneumonia.
If your dog is exhibiting symptoms or you suspect that they may have come into contact with the infection, you should book them in for a check-up as soon as possible.
Just like us, if your pet is sick, you should have them isolated and limit outside time to make sure your neighbours' pets aren't at risk.
Your pet may recover with rest but some dogs might require medication like antibiotics and cough suppressants.
It's important to be diligent in monitoring their recovery and to keep your vet informed throughout this process.
How can I protect my dog from canine cough?
Fortunately, vaccinations have reduced the prevalence of canine cough.
Regardless, it's something that we need to be vigilant in monitoring to make sure that our dogs are healthy and that we can slow the spread of infections.
You should vaccinate your dog and make sure they receive their yearly boosters in combination with scheduled check-ups - regardless of their breed or age.