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Can Dogs Get Colds?

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Can Dogs Get Colds?


Winter isn’t the only time of year we have to worry about “catching” a cold, but it is the primary time for it. We’re spending more time in closed quarters, with windows and doors shut tight and no way to escape the germs. It is only a matter of time before someone in the house becomes sick. It could be you, but did you know that it could also be your dog that comes down with this common respiratory infection?

While there are differences in the types of viruses that infect humans versus dogs, the symptoms are basically the same: sneezing, coughing, runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes. What can you do to protect your dog from catching cold, or if your dog does come down with a case of the cold, what can you do to treat it?

Different Germs, Different Viruses

As mentioned above, the type of cold a dog suffers from is different from the type a human suffers from. The illness is not communicable between species — at least, one has not yet been discovered — so there is no need to worry about catching your dog’s cold, or vice versa.

You will need to differentiate a common cold from a more serious health issue. For example, a common cause of dry cough is a condition known as “kennel cough.” This contagious type of cough, as its name suggests, is typically contracted through a kennel or boarding facility. This cough is most easily recognized by its characteristic honking sound. If your dog has recently been boarded or has had contact with a dog that has been boarded recently, this will need to be considered, and will need to be treated by a veterinarian.

There are other highly contagious, cold-like illnesses to be familiar with, as well. The influenza virus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, and tuberculosis are all illnesses that can be transmitted by infected dogs.

Another potentially life-endangering viral illness is canine distemper. A dog exhibiting symptoms of distemper will usually have coughing, vomiting, high fever, and a thick discharge from the eyes and nose.

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Read more: Cold and Flu, Conditions, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pet Health, Pets, Remedies & Treatments

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Nicolas, selected from petMD

petMD is a leading online resource focused solely on the health and well-being of pets. The site maintains the world's largest pet health library, written and approved by a network of trusted veterinarians. petMD was founded to inspire pet owners to provide an ever-increasing quality of life for their pets and to connect pet owners with pet experts and other animal lovers. For more information, visit


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3:45AM PST on Jan 6, 2014

I thought they could. So can horses.

9:01AM PST on Feb 6, 2013

It has recently been scientifically proven that you can catch gingivitis from allowing dogs to lick your mouth.

2:34AM PDT on Oct 29, 2012

thanks for sharing

2:16PM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

thanks for sharing :)

12:21PM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

interesting post!

6:40AM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

I never knew most of this info, so thank you =]]

2:24AM PDT on Oct 10, 2012


4:31PM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

4:17PM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

Thank you for the information. As alluded to in the article- if a dog is coughing a lot, has thick green eye or nose discharge, or is depressed and not eating much- take your dog to the vet! Mild symptoms- yes of course try chicken broth, warm water to clean the eyes and nose, lots of rest...

3:42PM PDT on Oct 9, 2012


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