Just like humans, dogs can get influenza (the flu) from other dogs. You may be surprised how similar the sicknesses are even though the strands are different. You will be happy to know that humans can’t give the flu to dogs, and dogs can’t share their flu with humans. It’s important to know how the dog flu is contracted, what the warning signs are and how to keep your dog healthy.
The dog flu is very common to the human version of the flu and is spread by dogs sharing spaces, water and food dishes, and through sneezing and coughing. The bacteria can be active for up to 48 hours, so even if the infected dog is no longer present in that area, the bacteria can still be present to other dogs. It could be as simple as a dog who has the flu, sneezing in the grass at the dog park.
Symptoms that your dog may display that you should keep a watch out for are:
- Runny nose and eyes
- Lethargic or sleeping more than usual
- Sneezing and coughing
- Decreased appetite and water intake
If you see any of these symptoms, contact your vet to find out what next steps they would like you to take. The best way to rid the flu from your dog is very similar to humans; a lot of rest and a lot of fluids to flush it out. This also means keeping your dog away from having contact with other dogs so that they do not catch the sickness.
While your dog is on the mend, it’s important to reduce the risk of the bacteria spreading throughout your house, especially if you have other pets. Make sure that toys, water dishes and spaces are not shared with other pets while your dog is working on getting better. Wash all surfaces that your dog has contact with and wash their water and food dishes with hot soapy water throughout the day. Be sure to wash all of your dog’s toys, any bedding including your own if your dog shares with you. Most importantly, just like with children, wash your dog’s paws frequently to reduce the risk of spreading germs.
To reduce the risk of spreading the dog flu to other dogs, daycare and boarding are not an option. You wouldn’t send your child to school with the flu, right? Same rules go for your furry friend to make sure his friends don’t get sick. Dog parks are definitely not an option for the same reason.
Knowing the symptoms of the dog flu can help you spot if your furry friend isn’t feeling well. It will also alert you to other dogs who may have the flu, so that you can keep your pup away from the sickness as much as possible. Always call and consult your vet if you see something strange in the way your dog is acting.