How to identify if your dog has a cold?

Dear pet-parent, do you know your dogs can get cold too? Many of us are aware of the common serious illness in dogs like kennel cough and giardia. But not all of us know about the common cold that our pets can catch.


Dog Cold Virus: Virus is one of the main factors for causing cold in both humans and in dogs. Usually, when people talk about catching a cold, they are actually referring to a wide range of viruses. They are grouped under the same category because of the similar symptoms they cause like sneezing, sore throat, runny eyes, and nose, etc. The same goes for dogs. There are several different viruses that cause cold symptoms in dogs. The most common viruses include canine respiratory Coronavirus, Canine Parainfluenza virus, and Bordetella bronchiseptica.

The Common Dog Cold Symptoms include nasal congestion and discharge, a little difficulty to breathing through the nose, Occasional coughing, Mild fever, runny eyes, Sneezing.

Dog Sneezing and coughing

These are the first symptoms of your dog getting cold. Just like humans it indicates a poor immune system and can be self-recovered in a few days. But if the illness persists it may indicate a serious problem.

Dog Congestion

 If you see your dog breathing heavily or have difficulty breathing then it is likely that your dog has nasal or respiratory congestion. When you see these symptoms the best course of action to take is to take your pet to a vet.

Dog watering eyes

 A watery eye may indicate cold or infection of your dog’s ear, nose or throat. In case of infections, your dog may show other symptoms like redness of the eyes, irritation, pain, blinking more than usual, rubbing and scratching of eyes. Eye discharges are usually present in infections that are advanced.

Though few of these less serious symptoms can be treated at home, it can also indicate a more serious disease such as Kennel cough, parasites, dog flu, parainfluenza virus, canine bronchitis, fungal infection or canine distemper.

If your pet is from the breed called Brachycephalic, or flat-faced breeds, they are more prone to breathing problems and even a simple cold can be serious. The reason behind this is because of the structure of their nose and nasal passages. They show extreme symptoms like  Snorting, Wheezing and increased snoring. And since they already have narrow nasal passages they are more prone to congestion and the trapped mucus will more likely become a secondary infection like pneumonia.

It is always a good idea to take your dog to the veterinarian in case of respiratory infection as he can identify if its anything serious or not. The cold can also become life-threatening in an old or very young dog as their immune systems are either weak (in the case of an elderly dog) or not yet fully formed (in the cases of puppies).

How to treat your dog’s cold?

We all hate cold! The same goes for our pets. Here are some of the home remedies that can help alleviate the symptoms of a cold.

Inhale Steam

Run a hot bathtub or shower so steam builds up in your toilet or use a typical vaporizer within the room wherever your dog sleeps.

Just as with humans, steam can help clear up his nasal passages.

Drinking and eating

Make sure your pup is drinking plenty of water and keep him hydrated throughout. Don’t give him orange juice; it’s good for people, not for pets. It is better to simply give him plain water. You can also add a bit of low sodium chicken or beef broth to the water.


Taking Rest

Plenty of rest is needed for a dog with a cold. It’s probably not a good idea to take your pet on long walks until his symptoms improve. Also, try to restrict playtime for a hyperactive dog.

Try Herbal Remedies

Herbs are rich in vitamin C and help in boosting your dog’s immune system.

Safe flavoring remedies for dogs include elderberry extract or flowers, colloidal silver, and mullein flowers. Check with a holistic doctor to know the acceptable amounts of herbs that can be given to your pet and also how to administer them.

Feed them Chicken Soup

Who doesn’t love a bowl of hot chicken soup when we have a cold? While it may sound strange, lukewarm chicken soup can be as beneficial to dogs in fighting a cold as it can be for humans. Make sure that soup contains has a low sodium level or simply doesn’t add salt to the soup.

Please do not give your own medicine for the pets without consulting the vet. As mentioned earlier, be sure to take him to a vet to get his symptoms checked if he looks sick, so you can be sure it’s not anything serious.


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