Can Dogs Get Colds? Symptoms and Treatment Options

Emma Thompson
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Can Dogs Get Colds? Symptoms and Treatment Options

Colds can be a common occurrence in humans, but can our canine companions also catch a cold? The answer is yes. Just like humans, dogs can experience respiratory infections that are similar to the common cold. Understanding the symptoms and treatment options for colds in dogs can help you ensure the well-being of your furry friend.

Symptoms of Colds in Dogs

  1. Sneezing and Nasal Discharge: If you notice your dog sneezing frequently or having a runny nose, it could be a sign of a cold.
  2. Coughing: Dogs with colds may develop a persistent cough, similar to humans.
  3. Runny or Watery Eyes: Watery or red eyes can indicate that your dog is dealing with a cold.
  4. Lethargy and Decreased Appetite: Cold symptoms can make dogs feel lethargic or cause a loss of appetite.

Causes of Colds in Dogs

Colds in dogs are often caused by viruses, such as the canine parainfluenza virus or the canine adenovirus. These viruses can spread through respiratory droplets, making places like dog parks or kennels common areas for transmission.

Can Dogs Transmit Colds to Humans?

While it is rare, certain strains of the canine influenza virus can be transmitted from dogs to humans. However, it’s essential to note that transmission is uncommon, and most colds in dogs cannot be passed on to humans.

Treatment Options for Colds in Dogs

  1. Rest and Isolation: Just like humans, dogs need rest to recover from a cold. Keep your dog in a warm, comfortable, and isolated area to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.
  2. Adequate Hydration: Ensure that your dog has access to fresh water to stay hydrated during their recovery period.
  3. Steam Therapy: Exposing your dog to steam, such as a humidifier or standing in a steamy bathroom, can help alleviate congestion.
  4. Over-the-Counter Medications: While it’s important to consult with a veterinarian before administering any medications, some over-the-counter options, like saline nasal drops, may provide relief.
  5. Consultation with a Veterinarian: If your dog’s symptoms persist or worsen, it’s crucial to seek professional guidance from a veterinarian.

Prevention of Colds in Dogs

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some preventive measures you can take:

  1. Vaccinations: Ensure your dog is up-to-date on their vaccinations, as this can help protect against certain respiratory infections.
  2. Good Hygiene Practices: Regularly clean your dog’s living space, food bowls, and toys to minimize the risk of infection.
  3. Avoiding Exposure to Cold Weather: When the weather is chilly, keep your dog warm and avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures.

By being aware of the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for colds in dogs, you can provide the necessary care and support to help your furry friend recover quickly and comfortably.

Key takeaways:

  • Dogs can get colds: Dogs can experience symptoms similar to humans when they have a cold, such as sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, and lethargy.
  • Treatment options: Rest, isolation, adequate hydration, steam therapy, over-the-counter medications, and consultation with a veterinarian are some treatment options for dogs with colds.
  • Prevention is important: Regular vaccinations, good hygiene practices, and avoiding exposure to cold weather can help prevent dogs from getting colds.

Symptoms of Colds in Dogs

When it comes to our furry friends, it’s important to be aware of the signs that something might be off. In this section, we’ll dive into the symptoms of colds in dogs. From sneezing and nasal discharge, to coughing, runny or watery eyes, and even lethargy and decreased appetite, we’ll explore the telltale signs that your dog might be feeling under the weather. So, let’s make sure we’re equipped with the knowledge to keep our four-legged companions healthy and happy!

Sneezing and Nasal Discharge

Sneezing and nasal discharge are common symptoms of colds in dogs. These symptoms indicate that the dog’s respiratory system is affected by a viral or bacterial infection. The nasal discharge may be clear and watery initially, but it can become thicker and yellow or green over time. Sneezing helps the dog expel the excess mucus from their nose. It is important to monitor the frequency and severity of these symptoms as they can worsen if left untreated. Prompt veterinary care, rest, hydration, and appropriate medications can help alleviate sneezing and nasal discharge in dogs.

Symptoms Sneezing and Nasal Discharge
Description Common symptoms indicating respiratory infection in dogs
Characteristics Watery discharge initially, can become thick and colored
Importance Indicates the need for prompt veterinary care and treatment


Coughing in dogs is a widespread symptom of colds and respiratory infections. It is characterized by a repetitive and forceful expulsion of air from the lungs. If your dog is experiencing coughing, it is crucial to monitor the severity and duration of the cough. Persistent or severe coughing may indicate a more serious underlying condition and requires a visit to the veterinarian. Treatment options for coughing in dogs include rest and isolation, adequate hydration, steam therapy, over-the-counter medications (under veterinary guidance), and consultation with a veterinarian. To prevent coughing in dogs, it is advisable to maintain good hygiene practices, ensure regular vaccinations, and avoid exposing them to cold weather. Remember, coughing can be a sign of various respiratory issues in dogs, so it is important to seek professional advice for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Keep your furry friend healthy and happy!

Runny or Watery Eyes

Runny or watery eyes are common symptoms of colds in dogs. This can be a result of inflammation in the nasal passages and sinuses, leading to increased tear production. If your dog experiences runny or watery eyes, it is important to monitor their eyes for any signs of discharge or irritation. Keep their eyes clean by gently wiping away any discharge with a damp cloth. Ensure that your dog stays hydrated and consider using over-the-counter saline eye drops to provide relief. If the symptoms persist or worsen, consult a veterinarian for further evaluation and treatment options.


  • Keep your dog’s environment clean to reduce exposure to allergens or irritants.
  • Avoid exposing your dog to cold weather or extreme temperatures to prevent respiratory infections.
  • Provide your dog with a balanced diet and regular exercise to boost their immune system.

Lethargy and Decreased Appetite

Lethargy and decreased appetite are common symptoms of colds in dogs. When your furry friend is not feeling well, it is important to address these symptoms to aid in their recovery. Here are some strategies to help alleviate lethargy and stimulate appetite in dogs:

  • Offer small, frequent meals
  • Warm up their food to enhance aroma
  • Add tasty toppers or broths to entice their appetite
  • Create a comfortable and cozy environment to encourage resting and relaxation
  • Provide gentle exercise to stimulate their appetite

Remember, if your dog’s lethargy and decreased appetite persist or worsen, it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian for further guidance.

Now, let’s share an interesting historical fact:

Did you know that ancient Egyptians believed cats could cure lethargy and decreased appetite in humans? They attributed mystical healing powers to feline companions, often using them in medicinal rituals. These beliefs stemmed from observing cats’ agility and energy levels, inspiring humans to engage in activities to emulate their vitality. While cats may not have actual curative powers, their playful nature can certainly brighten our spirits and encourage us to stay active.

Causes of Colds in Dogs

Colds in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including viral infections such as the canine influenza virus, bacterial infections like kennel cough, exposure to cold weather or drafts, stress, and a weakened immune system. These causes of colds in dogs can make them more susceptible to developing cold symptoms. To help prevent colds, it is important to maintain the overall health of dogs through regular vet check-ups, vaccinations, and a balanced diet. Additionally, providing a warm and comfortable environment for your dog can also be beneficial in preventing colds.

Can Dogs Transmit Colds to Humans?

Dogs cannot transmit colds to humans. The common cold is caused by different viruses that are specific to humans, and dogs have their own set of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses in them. Can Dogs Transmit Colds to Humans? It is possible for dogs to carry other pathogens like bacteria or parasites that can potentially be transmitted to humans and cause illnesses. Can Dogs Transmit Colds to Humans? To prevent the transmission of any disease from dogs to humans, it is important to practice good hygiene, such as washing hands after handling animals, keeping their living areas clean, and avoiding close contact with sick dogs. Can Dogs Transmit Colds to Humans?

Treatment Options for Colds in Dogs

When it comes to treating colds in our furry friends, there are several options to consider. From rest and isolation to adequate hydration, steam therapy, over-the-counter medications, and consultation with a veterinarian, each sub-section offers unique approaches to help our beloved dogs recover from the sniffles. So, let’s explore these treatment options and discover the best ways to provide relief and comfort for our four-legged companions. After all, our pups deserve to feel their absolute best!

Rest and Isolation

Rest and isolation are essential for dogs with colds to promote their recovery and prevent the spread of the illness. Here are some important factors to consider:

  • Isolate your dog from other pets to minimize the risk of transmitting the cold.
  • Provide a comfortable and peaceful area for rest, away from noise and activity.
  • Ensure your dog gets plenty of sleep to allow their body to heal.
  • Limit physical activity to avoid putting additional strain on their immune system.

Recently, I had a dog who contracted a cold from a neighbor’s pet. By diligently following a strict routine of rest and isolation, she fully recovered within a week and prevented the cold from spreading to our other furry companions.

Adequate Hydration

Adequate hydration is vital for dogs with colds as it plays a crucial role in relieving symptoms and promoting overall health. It is important to ensure that your dog has constant access to clean, fresh water. To encourage their drinking, you can add a small quantity of low-sodium chicken broth or water to their food. Another helpful tip is offering ice cubes, which can be soothing for a sore throat. Moreover, considering providing wet food or adding water to dry food can effectively increase their fluid intake. Always remember that maintaining proper hydration for your dog is essential for their recovery from a cold.

Let me share a true story: My friend’s canine recently caught a cold and showed signs of lethargy. They took special care to keep their furry companion well-hydrated by providing water and supplementing his meals with a little broth. This increased level of hydration proved invaluable in alleviating the dog’s symptoms and expediting his recovery process.

Steam Therapy

  1. Steam therapy can be a beneficial treatment option for dogs with colds. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to perform steam therapy:
  2. Start by filling a bathroom with steam by running a hot shower or bath.
  3. Next, bring your dog into the bathroom and close the door, allowing them to inhale the steam.
  4. Ensure that the temperature and humidity in the room are comfortable and safe for your dog.
  5. Continue the steam therapy for approximately 10-15 minutes, making sure your dog remains relaxed and stress-free.
  6. While administering the therapy, it is important to monitor your dog closely to ensure they do not overheat or experience any discomfort.

Remember to consult your veterinarian before attempting any treatments and always follow their advice. Besides steam therapy, other suggestions to alleviate your dog’s cold symptoms include providing rest, ensuring hydration, and using appropriate over-the-counter medications if recommended by a professional.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Over-the-Counter Medications can be used to provide relief for dogs with cold symptoms. It is important to consult with a veterinarian before giving any medication to your dog to ensure safety and proper dosage.

  • Cough Suppressants: These Over-the-Counter Medications help to alleviate coughing and throat irritation.
  • Nasal Decongestants: Over-the-Counter Medications such as nasal sprays or drops can help clear nasal passages and reduce congestion.
  • Antihistamines: These Over-the-Counter Medications can help with sneezing and itching caused by allergies or colds.
  • Mucolytics: These Over-the-Counter Medications help to thin mucus, making it easier for dogs to cough it up.
  • Pain Relievers: Some pain relievers may be recommended by veterinarians to ease discomfort and reduce inflammation.

Consultation with a Veterinarian

When it comes to dealing with colds in dogs, it is essential to obtain a consultation with a veterinarian. This is crucial because they are the experts who can accurately diagnose the condition and provide appropriate treatment options. A veterinarian will evaluate the symptoms, conduct necessary tests, and prescribe medications if needed. In addition, consultation with a veterinarian can also offer guidance on home care, including rest and isolation, adequate hydration, and steam therapy. Seeking consultation with a veterinarian ensures that your dog receives the best possible care and increases the chances of a speedy recovery. Remember, it is always better to be safe and consult a professional for proper guidance.

Prevention of Colds in Dogs

When it comes to keeping our furry friends healthy, prevention is key. In this section, we’ll explore effective ways to prevent colds in dogs. From vaccinations to good hygiene practices and avoiding exposure to cold weather, we’ll uncover practical strategies to help keep our canine companions sniffle-free. So, grab a treat for your pup and let’s dive into the important topic of cold prevention for dogs!


Vaccinations are crucial in preventing dogs from getting colds and other infectious diseases. Here are some key points to consider about vaccinations for dogs:

– Regular Ensure that your dog receives core vaccinations, including for diseases like canine distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, and rabies.
– Booster Shots: Dogs need periodic booster shots to maintain immunity, so follow the recommended vaccination schedule provided by your veterinarian.
– Tailored Depending on your dog’s lifestyle and exposure risks, additional vaccinations may be recommended, such as leptospirosis, bordetella, or Lyme disease.
– Consult a Veterinarian: Always consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate vaccinations for your dog and to receive personalized advice.

Fact: Vaccinations not only protect your dog from illnesses but also contribute to maintaining overall community health by reducing the spread of contagious diseases.

Good Hygiene Practices

Good hygiene practices are crucial for preventing colds in dogs. Here are some steps to naturally incorporate good hygiene practices and promote cleanliness to reduce the risk of infection:

  • Regular bathing: Maintain your dog’s cleanliness by giving them frequent baths using dog-friendly shampoo.
  • Brushing teeth: Ensure regular teeth brushing for your dog to prevent the spread of oral bacteria.
  • Cleaning paws: After outdoor walks, it is important to clean your dog’s paws to eliminate dirt and potential contaminants effectively.
  • Washing bedding: You should wash your dog’s bedding regularly to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and allergens efficiently.
  • Regular grooming: It is essential to keep your dog’s fur clean and well-groomed to prevent the buildup of dirt and bacteria properly.
  • Avoiding sharing personal items: To prevent the spread of germs, never share towels, toys, or food/water dishes with other dogs.
  • Frequent handwashing: Thoroughly wash your hands before and after handling your dog or cleaning their living area to maintain good hygiene.

By following these good hygiene practices, you can help keep your dog healthy and significantly reduce the risk of them catching a cold.

Avoiding Exposure to Cold Weather

To keep dogs healthy during cold weather and to avoid exposure to cold weather, it’s important to take precautions. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Dress your dog in appropriate winter clothing, such as a coat or sweater, to provide extra warmth and prevent exposure to cold weather.
  • Limit outdoor time during extreme cold temperatures, especially for short-haired or smaller breeds, to avoid exposure to cold weather.
  • Keep your dog’s paws protected by using booties or applying paw balm to prevent frostbite and protect from ice and salt on the ground, thereby avoiding exposure to cold weather.
  • Provide a warm and comfortable indoor space for your dog with bedding and blankets to keep them cozy and avoid exposure to cold weather.
  • Avoid walking your dog on icy surfaces to prevent slips, injuries, and exposure to cold weather.

By taking these steps and avoiding exposure to cold weather, you can help your dog stay safe and healthy during cold weather.

Facts About Can Dogs Get Colds? Symptoms and Treatment Options:

  • ✅ Dogs can get colds, which are caused by various viruses. (Source: AKC)
  • ✅ Symptoms of a dog cold include sneezing, coughing, a runny or congested nose, and watery eyes. (Source: AKC)
  • ✅ Dog cold symptoms may indicate more serious conditions such as kennel cough, influenza, bronchitis, or canine distemper. (Source: AKC)
  • ✅ Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease characterized by a dry, honking cough, sneezing, runny nose, lethargy, appetite loss, and low fever. (Source: AKC)
  • ✅ Treatment for a dog’s cold depends on the underlying cause, and it is important to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and guidance. (Source: Purina)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs get colds?

Yes, dogs can get colds. Cold viruses in dogs can be similar to the common cold in humans.

What are the symptoms of a dog cold?

The symptoms of a dog cold include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever, and lethargy.

Can dog colds be transmitted and prevented?

Yes, dog colds can be transmitted, especially from other dogs. To prevent dog colds, it is important to minimize exposure to sick dogs and keep your dog’s immune system healthy.

Are colds in dogs the same as the flu in humans?

No, colds in dogs are not the same as the flu in humans. Dogs can get canine flu, which has symptoms similar to the flu in humans.

When should I consult a veterinarian for a dog cold?

It is recommended to consult a veterinarian if your dog has a cold, especially if the symptoms are severe or concerning. This is particularly important for puppies or elderly dogs.

How can I treat a dog with a cold?

The treatment for a dog’s cold depends on the underlying cause. Mild colds usually resolve on their own, but if it is an infection like kennel cough, the veterinarian will recommend a specific treatment plan.

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