Can My Dog Get The Flu? What Every Dog Owner Needs To Know

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Can My Dog Get The Flu

Can my dog get the flu? This is a question we hear from dog owners all the time, especially during cold and flu season. First off, dog flu is a real thing, and the illness is spreading in the Midwest. Since 2006, dog influenza has grown in leaps and bounds. It started in animal shelters and quickly spread like wildfire to kennels and doggy daycares. Over 1100 dogs are known to have been infected by the recent outbreak, and the AP reports that six have died in the Chicago area.

Can My Dog Get The Flu? – What is Dog Flu?

The dog flu (CIVH3N2 and CIVH3N8) is 100 percent specific to dogs, and humans have no risk of catching it. Canine flu is very similar to the human flu because it causes a severe upper respiratory tract infection. It’s considered a “social disease”, so your dog is at higher risk if they were a rescue dog or in a shelter, they are boarded in kennels, or they attend doggy daycare. It’s very contagious, so even healthy dogs are at high risk of contracting it if they haven’t been vaccinated. The virus is transmitted from dog to dog, from human to dog, and from objects (bowls, toys, leashes, blankets, etc.) to dogs.

Can My Dog Get The Flu? – Can My Dog Get The Flu From Me?

Thankfully, the influenza virus that makes humans so ill is not typically contagious to dogs. There is a very small chance your dog could contract the virus from you, but this is so rare that it’s almost never seen. While there were cases of dogs catching the H1N1 virus and dying, this isn’t something you see from the typical strains of influenza that go around every winter. Dogs that are actually susceptible to the virus would have to be severely immunocompromised Mortality rates are very low, but the illness — which usually presents itself as tiredness, coughing, and a runny nose — can lead to pneumonia and other serious respiratory problems.

Can My Dog Get The Flu? – What To Do If Your Dog Has The Flu

If your dog seems to have the flu, don’t panic: The virus is usually fairly harmless. Keep them away from other pets, and get them to the vet. It’s important you don’t bring them directly into the vet’s office and risk exposing other dogs. The staff may ask you to bring them in through the back or ask you to carry your dog straight into an exam room. The Midwest outbreak that occurred in 2015 probably occurred because the virus entered the unprotected population right before spring break. This is a time when many owners had their dogs kenneled while they went on vacation.

Dog gatherings are a big no-no during a canine flu outbreak, so those in areas with reported cases are urged to keep their pets at home. Sometimes a vet isn’t open when your dog is sick. There are multiple online vet services such as petcoach.com for when you cant get to your veterinarian.

puppy sick with dog flu

Can My Dog Get The Flu? – Vaccination and Final Thoughts

Remember that while the flu virus has the same name between species, that doesn’t mean they’re the same virus. The human flu is not transmittable to dogs, just like the canine flu is not transmittable to humans. If you’re very sick and you notice your dog is also sick, it’s probably coincidental and unrelated, but you should still check in with your veterinarian anyways. There’s no treatment for the flu itself, but it’s important to monitor dogs for signs of secondary infections (like pneumonia) that can be staved off with antibiotics.

There is a flu vaccine for dogs to help protect them against the virus. It doesn’t completely prevent your dog from contracting it, but it does greatly minimize the chances. If they do get the flu even with the vaccine, then it’s likely their infection will be a mild one. For a more in depth look at the dog flu and its symptoms and treatment, check out petmd’s page.

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