Do dogs get colds like humans?

Do dogs get the cold as humans do?  This was the question, I asked myself after an outdoor workout in the middle of winter left me with symptoms of a common cold.

After some searching, I discovered the answer. Yes, dogs can get the cold too but it’s not the type that we humans are familiar with. Dogs are also susceptible to contracting a virus known as kennel cough or canine influenza which is a slightly more severe condition that dog parents should be aware of.

Sick Sleeping Dog

As you continue to read you’ll discover what the symptoms of these conditions are along with remedies. I think every wannabe dog parent should school themselves on dog ailments before introducing a dog into their world.

I’ve just come back from my routine jog and workout in the park. It’s late winter as I write this and I’m doing my last few circuit routines in my bedroom. I’m in the last few minutes of completing a body plank.  I’ve managed to build up to five minutes without stopping and I’ve discovered that the key to completing this exercise is focusing, then channeling my focus to my breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. This approach usually works because the focused breathing helps get through the strenuous part, as does a little bit of will power.

 Woman Doing Plank Workout

On this occasion, I seem to be struggling with my breathing routine. My nose is blocked and is interfering with my ability to breathe through my nose. So I adapt, in through my mouth, out through my mouth. I’m sensing symptoms of the cold, and feel it in my body. This led me to think, about my decision of getting a dog.

I  want a dog that can go for runs with me when I go to the park. We can keep active together. I know that this will be great for the dog. But now that I am coming down with a cold, the thought I ponder over is, can dogs get a cold, hmm? Is there a dog cold or can dogs get human cold?

Man having pet allergy symptoms runny nose

I’ve seen dogs with runny noses and watery eyes, are these the symptoms of a dog cold.? I’ve also heard dogs sneezing. Is a dog sneezing a sign that the dog has a cold? Questions questions. I complete my plank, then, grab my phone to get some answers. Ok, Google. Do Dogs get colds like humans?

Do Dogs get colds like humans?

The first thing to note and clear up is that my cold symptoms cannot be passed to my dog as confirmed by the human cold virus cannot be passed to dogs. The next thing to determine is how can you know if a dog has a cold?

Wagwalking explains that dogs exhibit similar symptoms to the symptoms humans exhibit when they are coming down with a cold, although the doggie equivalent of the cold is passed from dog to dog, through contact with saliva or contaminated water.

The typical dog cold symptoms that a dog will show are:

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

  • Runny nose

  • Congestion

  • Watery Eyes

Yep sneezing is one of the signs that are associated symptoms of a dog with a cold. Ever seen what a sneezing dog looks like? have a glimpse of the dog in the video below.

Err on the side of caution?

It’s recommended to err on the side of caution. Don’t instantly think that the symptoms a dog is exhibiting are confirmation of a common cold. By doing this one is ruling out the possibility that what a doggo is experiencing isn’t, more serious. Petmd points out other severe illnesses that should be considered which share similar symptoms as that of a dog with a cold.

“kennel cough.” This seems like the condition that most resembles a cold or could be misdiagnosed as a cold. According to many dogs will suffer from a bout of kennel cough during the course of their lives. For this reason, the earlier the symptoms are recognized and diagnosed, the better a dog parent is able to respond and get treatment for their dog. It’s important to prepare and be equipped for a variety of scenarios, therefore knowing and understanding the patterns of kennel cough could serve as a valuable knowledge deposit that can be withdrawn in an emergency.

dog with its mouth open

The loud honking cough that Kennel Cough causes according to can last between 10 days to 2weeks and the majority of dogs are able to recover from it without treatment. I would personally consult a vet just so I can gain peace of mind.

I’m once again reminded of the time when my kids were babies. Anytime they displayed any strange symptoms either I or their mother was not familiar with, off to A&E we went.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry and  I will never understate the importance of insurance, insurance, insurance, and I repeat again insurance. You can never predict when the commitment of paying for insurance will be an invaluable asset in your responsibility portfolio.

How Do dogs recover from Kennel Cough?

A dog with Kennel cough recovers by home treatment remedies. Although, you will still need to consult a vet. Treatment for kennel cough is usually in the form of symptomatic relief to suppress coughing. According to non-prescription, and occasionally prescription, cough suppressants usually resolve issues of kennel cough.


dog with a blanket over its head

The strength level dog’s immune system also has a role to play on a dog’s road to recovery from Kennel Cough, although it may be difficult for younger puppies who are still developing their immune system or older dogs who have a weakened immune system.

Older dogs with pre-existing heart or lung disease need to be monitored carefully and it is recommended that a vet be consulted about possible treatments.

old dog with gray hair

How to help a dog with a cold?

Now if it turns out that if the rover has just come down with the common cold then treatment will be required. Similar to a human recovering from a cold, a dog that develops the cold will require lots of rest and should be given plenty of fluids to help with recovery. The comfort of the home can also help the recovery process.

The video below provides some tips on what needs to be done to help a dog recover from a cold. The information is presented from the point of view of a pet parent and gives insight into practical things that can be done at home, like how to take a dog’s temperature. I’ll give a spoiler alert, you will need some petroleum jelly.

Chicken soup and baked chicken and rice seem to be a recommended solution for treating dogs.  Chicken and rice? I could do with some of that on any given day? When it comes to what humans consume to recover from colds, can dogs use the same remedies?

NO, NO, NO. Dogs cannot be given human medication. Human medication can be toxic to dogs. However dogs can be prescribed antibiotics and other medication that is tailored specifically for dogs. Below is the remedial treatment for dogs presented by a veterinarian.

This leads me to wonder, if dogs can catch a cold, just like humans do, then can dog’s catch the flu? And the answer is yes. There is a canine form of the influenza virus, known as the canine influenza virus or the canine distemper, which is, according to pets.webmd a virus that is passed from dog to dog but cannot be transferred to humans.

dog sleeping on a bed

This virus is far more server than that of a dog with a cold. Dogs that have the canine distemper virus will show signs of vomiting, will have a fever, be lethargic, and have bouts of sudden diarrhea, depression, and/or loss of appetite.

Being aware of these symptoms will equip me with the knowledge to respond appropriately if ever I noticed my dog displays sudden bouts of diarrhea or lethargy.

Lean on the advice of a professional veterinarian?

I’ve got this far and now know that dogs can catch a cold, but dogs do not catch colds from humans. The symptoms of a dog that is suspected of having a cold should be assessed before a diagnosis is made.

Even though I now know more about what the symptoms of a dog with a cold are, I personally would in no way consider myself knowledgable enough to diagnose it and would lean on the advice of a professional veterinarian. And last but not least. Insurance Insurance insurance, and in this case pet insurance. Pet insurance will potentially save a huge amount of unforeseen potential costs.

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