When we think about cold, the first association is winter, being in a closed room and feeling like grabbing a blanket and cuddling somewhere warm. This is not coincidentally since colds mostly happen during winter time.
Just like people, our pets can catch a cold too. Although it might not be as serious like in humans, they can be infected.
Different types of colds and causes
There are different types of cold. Dogs, in this case, don’t suffer from the same cause as humans. So, if you are worrying about passing on the virus to your furry friend, you can stop. Cold is not communicable between species.
Symptoms of a cold in dogs are similar to the ones that humans experience. They are cough, sneezing, runny nose and teary eyes. You will notice that he is a bit slow, he is not playful as usual and maybe even refuses to eat. And in some cases, your furry friend might not even show the signs of a cold at all, so be careful.
Sometimes even, when you think that your dog has a cold it might be something else. In many cases, symptoms that resemble a cold can be perhaps some other health issue. If your dog is coughing, then it might not be due to cold, he might have a condition called “kennel cough”. This disease is usually caught through boarding facility or kennel. The main characteristic of this state is the honking sound that is produced during coughing.
Other state that looks like cold, but it really isn’t is influenza virus, parainfluenza virus and tuberculosis. These diseases can be transmitted by infected dogs to people, so always be careful around sick animals.
Life endangering condition is also canine distemper. Dogs that have this illness will usually cough, vomit and have a high discharge from the mouth, eyes and nose.
Parasites that get into lungs, heart and trach can also mimic a cold infection. For example, fungal infection can be mixed with cold infection, and it is very common in dogs. Some of the symptoms are coughing, scarring of the lungs and in some cases pneumonia.
In some cases food allergies can also be confused for a cold infection. Since, this state also has similar symptoms just like cold does (sneezing fits).
Cold treatment for dogs
If your puppy is in overall good health, then you can try treating him just like you would a human during cold. So, a lot of liquids, healthy foods, something warm and comforting. You can even make him a soup and of course leave out the bones.
Other way to help him is to try filling the bath with hot water, ad let him be around that steam so it can loosen up his sinuses and help him breathe easier. The first step before anything else, is to ask your veterinarian for advice, especially if you haven’t been encountered with this condition in your pet before.
If your dog has a weak immune system, try using some healthy foods to help him battle with his infection more easily. Give him foods that are rich in vitamins, fiber and that are of course safe for him. If you are not sure about their safety, always check in with your vet or do some research.
In some more serious cases, antibiotics might be necessary, but this is up to your veterinarian to decide after examination. Later on, just make sure he gets his medicine on time.
To prevent your dog from getting a cold, it is best to keep him inside when it’s really freezing outside, and also during rain and wet weather give him just a brief time to relieve himself. The cold weather won’t of course make him sick, but if he is exposed for a long period of time to the unfriendly surroundings, then the chances are higher.
Always provide him enough fresh water, and try to place his bed somewhere nice and cozy. Give him meals that are healthy and that contain enough nutrients to make him able to fight of any infection. Clean his bowl regularly and make sure he gets some exercise as well. Sometimes his body needs to be stronger to fight off all those nasty germs.
Some dog breeds have difficulties in breathing as a part of their characteristics, so watch out a bit more in this case since it might easily go unnoticed. For example, all the dogs that have smushed-in faces, like pugs, Pekinese can be more prone to respiratory infections. As far as the age, it can be almost every age, but like in people, older dogs might be more affected by this condition. As a side note, if you’re the one prone to allergies, you might want to check out our list of dog breeds that shed the least to help you decide which pooch to get next time.
As a final option, a vaccine for dogs is also available. This might not prevent the flu totally but it might decrease the effects.
In the end, dogs that catch a cold won’t die. This condition might cause other issues like the ones connected to pneumonia, or tuberculosis if they are not treated on time, but even those cases are rare.
Make sure to keep an eye on your little friend and if you notice any signs of flu, contact your veterinarian or just start the treatment yourself, and in the way you would treat yourself. Follow all the instructions that you are well known, in treating cold in humans, and you won’t make a mistake.
Just make sure to avoid foods and drinks that are not safe for your furry friend and he will be back on his paws in no time. Can they drink milk or are dogs lactose intolerant? Make sure you do proper research before feeding your dog with anything.