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March 8, 2018

Dog Flu: Everything You Need to Know about Canine Influenza Virus

Just like human influenza, dog flu is unpleasant. You may have also heard that human and “Dog Flu 2018” are particularly brutal. Here are some quick facts about canine influenza and how to treat and prevent it. And as always, if your dog seems ill or you have any questions, call your veterinarian or bring your dog to an animal emergency center!

Can dogs get the flu?

Yep! Dogs can definitely get the flu and it’s best to practice good hygiene if you or your dog are sick. Also take note that canine influenza is not the same as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as “kennel cough.” Like kennel cough, though, the flu easily spreads from one dog to another.

Is my dog at risk?

Yeah, probably, but there are easy ways to help prevent it!

How can I prevent canine flu?

First and foremost, make sure your pet receives the dog flu vaccine. And if your canine is in frequent contact with other pooches, it is extra crucial that they get the dog flu vaccination. It’s important to know that the vaccine also requires a 2-week booster.

There are several places your furry bff might be at particular risk for getting sick. If you plan to be in any of these environments, make sure your dog is vaccinated. These places might include dog parks, obedience classes, doggie daycare, shelters, rescues, kennels, dog shows and competitions.

What are dog flu symptoms?

Is your dog sneezing? Is your dog vomiting? Does your dog have diarrhea? These are all potential dog flu symptoms. Symptoms of dog flu might include:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Nasal discharge, such as mucus or blood
  • Ocular discharge (from the eyes)
  • Labored breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

How serious is canine influenza?!

Just like human flu, dog flu can be a miserable experience. However, most dogs only have a milder bug and won’t experience any kind of serious repercussions from catching the disease. Like humans, a very, very small percentage of dogs can die from the flu so call your vet at the first sign of symptoms.

How long does the flu last?

Unfortunately, the flu can last from one to three weeks.

How is canine flu treated?

It requires lots of downtime and TLC. Make sure your dog is properly hydrated and eating enough. If your pooch catches a secondary infection, your vet might prescribe antibiotics. Severe coughing can also be treated with cough suppressants. More severe cases might require hospitalization and intravenous (IV) fluids, antibiotics and oxygen therapy.

So get vaccinated! Both you and your dog will benefit from vaccination. If you suspect your pooch is sick, call your veterinarian immediately.