Kennel Cough: The “Dog Flu”

Colds: they come in all shapes an sizes. Some are huge colds that lay you out for a week. Other colds are small and “just” leave you stuffing tissues into every pocket you have.

We know the best plan for staying healthy is to eat a good diet, get plenty of rest, have a regular fitness regimen and to wash our hands regularly.

Your dogs should have the same plan! … well … maybe except for the hand washing part.

Our dogs catch colds too, and just like us, there is no cure for the common cold. Also just like us, dogs can catch their own version of the flu.

“Dog flu”, or, as it is commonly called, “kennel cough” (or Bordatella), is extremely contagious among dogs.  Sharing toys, touching noses, or just being in the area when an infected dog sneezes are all opportunities to the virus to spread.  You can even give it to your dog! If you go to a pet store (just to look) and one of those adorable little puppies has kennel cough, when you go home and hug your dog you could easily transfer it to them.

Recognizing kennel cough is pretty easy if you’ve ever seen someone with the flu.  Coughing, sneezing, runny nose and a fever are all typical symptoms.

Don’t worry though, most dogs only need rest to recover. However, young dogs, old dogs, pregnant dogs and brachycephalic dogs (short-faced dogs like Pugs) are much more at risk of the virus progressing into something more. Sometimes, a bacterial infection can occur, at which point you will want to get your dog checked again by your vet and probably have antibiotics prescribed.

Remember!  Colds and viruses are VERY contagious!  If your dog (or you!) have a cold or flu, please do not take them out where they will be with other dogs.  Stay away from pet stores, day cares, group training classes or dog parks.  The other dogs (and owners) will thank you!