Can Dogs Get The Flu?

Updated: December 02, 2022

Every year, as flu season comes around, lots of pet parents wonder if their furbabies get the flu. So, can dogs get the flu? Well, yes, dogs can get the flu and it’s important to be prepared. In this article, we’ll talk about what the dog flu is about, how your furbaby can acquire it, its symptoms, treatment, management, and why you should not panic about it.

"The dog flu is extremely contagious as it is airborne.."

What is a Dog Flu?

Dog flu, also known as canine influenza, is a highly infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. There are two known strains of the canine influenza virus in the United States:

  • H3N8: This strain is said to have originated in horses and was passed on to dogs.
  • H3N2: This strain originated in Asia. Scientists believed that this strain started from birds and was passed on to dogs.

How Do Dogs Catch The Flu?

Dog flu is extremely contagious as it is airborne. Your furbaby can easily acquire the virus through respiratory secretions of infected dogs in the form of sneezing, coughing, or barking. The virus can also spread through objects that are contaminated, like food & water bowls, chew toys, surfaces, or through direct contact with people or other pets that had direct contact with an infected dog.

Certain areas can also be a breeding ground for canine influenza to develop and spread. These areas include kennels, dog daycare centers, pet grooming parlors, and places where meet & greet with other pets happen in social settings. The proximity of the dogs in these areas is too close and an infected dog who sneezes, coughs, or barks can easily infect the other dogs around.

can dogs get the flu

Dogs who get in contact with somebody or something that has the virus will contract dog flu but not all that are affected will show signs and symptoms. But even so, these asymptomatic dogs are still able to spread the disease. This is where you should take extra precautions. If one of your dogs has been diagnosed with the flu and does not show any symptoms, they are still able to infect other pets in your household.

Signs and Symptoms of a Dog Flu

Dog flu can appear as mild to severe. Dog flu is not seasonal and can happen all year-round. The following are the signs to look out for if you think your furbaby has acquired the flu:

  • Constant sneezing
  • Coughing (can appear as a moist cough or a dry cough)
  • Nasal discharge that comes with developing a cold
  • Runny eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Breathing difficulties

The symptoms of dog flu can also appear like the symptoms of kennel cough. If not treated and managed immediately, flu or kennel cough can both progress into pneumonia, which can be very dangerous. Consult your vet about this as soon as possible.

Note: The most contagious stage of dog flu is during the incubation period of the virus, just before your furbaby shows any signs and symptoms.

How Long do Dogs Have the Flu?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most dogs get well within a period of 2 to 3 weeks. But on the downside, some dogs may acquire secondary infections that may lead to further complications (like pneumonia as mentioned above). Dog flu can be acquired by all dogs, regardless of age, gender, and breed. But flat-nosed dogs like Pugs, Boston Terriers, and French Bulldogs may have it more difficult than the others as they have narrower respiratory tracts.

Treatment and Management

Unfortunately, there is no cure for dog flu. But there are a lot of management methods given to deal with the different symptoms that are present in your furbaby that will help them feel more comfortable.

  • Your furbaby will need supportive care, like fluids, to keep them well-hydrated.
  • Your veterinarian will prescribe your dog nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce fever or with antibiotics to treat bacterial infections if they ever develop one
  • Additionally, your vet will revise your dog’s nutritional needs and come up with a diet plan to help aid them in their recovery.
  • You may also provide your dog with Multivitamin SoftSupps®. These supplements will help strengthen your furbaby’s immunity and overall health, which can also help prevent dog flus. Packed with Vitamin A, C, and E, it provides the nutrients & antioxidant support needed to boost or maintain your furbaby’s healthy immune system. Pet Parents® Supplements for dogs were specially crafted to have more active ingredients than other leading supplements. But consult your vet about giving your dog multivitamins to make sure these don’t contradict any of the prescribed medicines.
dog flu symptoms

Additional Things to Consider

Avoid dog parks or any free-play areas, nose-to-nose greetings in social settings, and many others. Avoid any place where the health status of a dog is unknown. A dog that looks healthy, may not be and may actually be asymptomatic from dog flu. Always be safe than to feel sorry later on.

  • Do not expose or let loose your dog if they have been diagnosed with the flu.
  • All belongings of your sick dog must be cleaned and disinfected. Any items at home that may have been in contact with your dog must also be disinfected thoroughly.
  • Always wash your hands after you touch a dog, infected or not. While the canine influenza virus cannot harm humans, it is quickly transferred by human hands that have come into direct contact with an infected dog.
  • Have your furbaby vaccinated for canine influenza. Vaccinations for both H3N8 and H3N2 canine influenza are readily available, offering protection against both strains. Though having your furbaby vaccinated will not keep them away from acquiring the disease, it will exceptionally help reduce the risks of your dog contracting canine influenza and may reduce the severity of the symptoms and duration.
  • According to the American Kennel Club, you do not need to panic if ever your dog catches the flu as most dogs get well and recover fast. Do not panic and know the things you should do to properly give your furbaby comfort while on recovery.

Dog flu may be easily passed on from one dog to another but know that your furbaby will get through it. There may be no treatment, but supportive care and constant monitoring from you (and everybody else in your family) will make your dog up & running in no time, happier and healthier.

"Multivitamin SoftSupps® will help strengthen your furbaby’s immunity and overall health, which can also help prevent dog flus."

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