Can Dogs Get Colds?
Whether your dog has a short coat or a long coat, they feel the effects of winter just like us. Along with freezing winds, winter brings runny noses and sore throats. But do our dogs get colds like us?
What is canine cough?
Canine cough, or kennel cough, is a highly contagious and infectious disease for dogs' respiratory systems. Caused both by a virus and bacteria, it affects your dog's lungs, windpipe and voice box.
While generally non-life threatening, kennel cough can lead to further issues and additional treatment.
Canine cough symptoms
- A dry, hacking cough
- Ocular discharge (look for unusual amounts of gunk collecting around your dog's eyes)
- Vomiting as a result of coughing
How canine cough spreads
As canine cough is so contagious, it can easily spread wherever dogs congregate. Areas like the following are common hot spots:
- Dog parks
- Boarding kennels
- The beach
The infectious bacteria can survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours and contaminate objects like:
- Water bowls
- Toys and other objects that dogs like to play with like sticks
Transmission can also occur as easily as passing an infectious dog or by having your dog in the backyard with an infectious neighbouring dog next door.
Which dogs are most at risk of canine cough?
All dogs can succumb to canine cough, however, young and unvaccinated puppies are most at risk.
Additionally, owners should be more cautious if their dogs are:
- Feeling stressed
- In close proximity to dust, smoke or cold often
What to do if you're concerned your dog has canine cough
After first exposure, canine cough can take between three to ten days to develop.
The more your dog coughs, the more agitated their airways become, further perpetuating the illness. In the most extreme cases, it can develop into life-threatening diseases like pneumonia. It can also persist for weeks, leaving your dog feeling uncomfortable and generally unwell.
If your dog is exhibiting symptoms or you suspect that your dog may have been exposed to the disease, it's important that you book them for a check-up.
Further, if you're concerned that your pet may have become contagious, do your best to keep them isolated from neighbouring pets and away from the dog parks until you're sure they're better.
Your vet may recommend rest or treatments like antibiotics and cough suppressants but every dog is unique and you should trust your vet's guidance.
How can I protect my dog from canine cough?
Thankfully, vaccinations are readily available at most vets and you should have your pet on a yearly booster to improve their resistance.
Vaccinating your dog will also help reduce the prevalence of kennel cough in your area.