Can Dogs Get Colds?

dog get cold

Can dogs get colds? Just like humans, dogs can suffer too. They may experience sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, and other typical symptoms of a cold.


What do dog colds look like?

The signs of a cold in dogs are quite similar to what you encounter yourself. Alongside the usual sneezing, coughing, and stuffy nose, your dog might show symptoms like teary eyes, a runny nose, throat discomfort, and general body pains.

dog teary eyes

You might notice a dip in their usual energy levels – a positive sign, as rest plays a crucial role in helping them overcome the viral infection.


Is it possible for my dog to get a cold from me?

While pets and humans can transmit certain ailments to each other, colds typically aren’t shared. Dogs can exhibit cold-like symptoms due to various types of viruses specific to them.


Could it be more than a cold?

While cold symptoms are common, they could also indicate other viral issues in pets, like canine influenza or kennel cough.

If your dog’s cough resembles a goose’s honk, it might be kennel cough. This infection spreads rapidly in places where dogs congregate, like shelters or doggy daycares.

Puppies under six months or dogs with compromised immune systems, as noted by the American Kennel Club, are particularly vulnerable. While most dogs recover independently, some need veterinary care. The Bordetella vaccine can help prevent kennel cough.

Canine flu shares many cold symptoms and is highly contagious. The American Veterinary Medical Association states that almost all exposed dogs contract it, but only 80% show symptoms. Canine flu symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, fever, and a dry or wet cough. Some dogs might develop pneumonia or secondary bacterial infections. Vaccination can reduce the risk of canine flu.

a dog get cold

Concerned about the coronavirus in your pet? Although some dogs have contracted it, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases are rare, symptoms are usually mild, and no fatalities reported.

Other conditions that mimic cold symptoms in dogs are fungal or bacterial infections, allergies, worms, and heart disease.


What steps to take for a dog with a cold?

Identifying the exact illness behind your dog’s symptoms can be challenging, so a visit to the veterinarian is advisable. The vet will diagnose and suggest treatments for whatever is causing the symptoms.

If your dog is suffering from a cold, using a cool-mist humidifier can alleviate nasal congestion and soothe a sore throat. Ensure your pet has access to plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Gently wipe away nasal discharge with a soft, damp cloth. If your pet is usually harnessed for daily jogs or long walks, consider leaving them at home. Too much activity could worsen their condition or challenge their ability to keep pace.

Contact the vet if symptoms persist or worsen after a week, or if your dog shows a lack of interest in food or drink. Don’t delay calling if your dog is elderly, a puppy, or has a chronic condition. Immediate veterinary attention is necessary if your dog struggles with breathing, walking, or standing.

a dog get treats

Concerned about your dog’s cold-like symptoms? Reach out to our office to book an appointment.


Preventing colds in dogs

To help prevent colds in dogs, it’s important to focus on overall health and wellness. Regular exercise is key, but it’s crucial to be mindful of your dog’s condition during colder months.

Using a harness, specially designed for comfort and warmth, can provide extra protection against chilly weather during walks or outdoor activities. This can help keep your dog’s body temperature regulated, reducing the risk of catching a cold.

Additionally, ensure your dog’s living environment is warm and draft-free. Maintaining a balanced diet, along with proper hydration, is essential for boosting their immune system. Regular veterinary check-ups can also help in the early detection and prevention of illnesses that may mimic cold symptoms.

Remember, while a harness can aid in keeping your dog warm and secure, it’s equally important to limit their exposure to extreme colds and to other dogs who might be sick. This holistic approach will greatly help in preventing your dog from catching a cold.



Can dogs get colds? Yes, they can, and as a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to recognize and understand the various symptoms and conditions that can affect your canine friend.

From common cold-like symptoms to more serious illnesses like canine influenza and kennel cough, awareness and prompt action are key. Remember, prevention plays a significant role in your dog’s health.

Ensuring a warm, comfortable environment, regular exercise with appropriate gear like a harness, and keeping up with vaccinations and veterinary check-ups are vital steps in safeguarding your pet’s health. By being vigilant and proactive, you can help ensure your furry friend stays happy and healthy, effectively reducing the risk of them catching a cold or other illnesses.



FAQ 1: Can certain dog breeds be more prone to catching colds?

Answer: While all dogs can catch colds, some breeds with shorter snouts, like Bulldogs or Pugs, may be more susceptible to respiratory issues. Their unique physical structure can make them more vulnerable to symptoms like congestion and coughing.

FAQ 2: How can I tell if my dog’s sneezing is due to a cold or allergies?

Answer: Sneezing in dogs can be caused by both colds and allergies. If the sneezing is accompanied by symptoms like a runny nose or watery eyes and occurs seasonally, it might be allergies. However, if your dog also shows signs of lethargy and loss of appetite, it could indicate a cold.

FAQ 3: Are there any home remedies that can help alleviate my dog’s cold symptoms?

Answer: Gentle care is crucial. Ensure your dog is in a warm, comfortable environment and has access to fresh water. Adding moisture to the air with a humidifier can help, but avoid using any human medications unless prescribed by a vet.

FAQ 4: How long does a typical cold last in dogs, and when should I be concerned?

Answer: A typical cold in dogs can last from a few days to about a week. If symptoms persist beyond a week, or if your dog shows signs of severe discomfort, loss of appetite, or difficulty breathing, it’s important to consult your veterinarian.

FAQ 5: Can wearing a bandana help my dog during cold weather?

Answer: A bandana can provide some warmth, but it’s more of a fashion accessory than a practical tool for warmth. In cold weather, it’s better to use specialized dog clothing or a harness designed for warmth. However, a bandana can be useful in mild weather and can also be used to cover a lightweight dog scarf for extra protection against chilly breezes.