by Sojos | January 15, 2013
With widespread illness grabbing headlines these days, most of us are trying our best to stay healthy. As we’re washing our hands, lining up for flu shots and boosting our vitamin C consumption, another question often comes to pet owners’ minds: Can my dog catch a cold or the flu?
The answer, in both cases, is yes. However, the viruses that affect dogs are different strains than the ones that hit the human population hard during the winter months. Nevertheless, the symptoms are similar enough that you’ll likely be tipped off that he’s feeling under the weather – watch for sneezing, coughing, runny nose and lethargy. Canine flu is a specific strain (influenza virus A, subtype H3N8), which is contagious among dogs, but does not transfer between dogs and humans.
If your poor pup does get sick, feel free to give him a little extra TLC. Encourage him to drink fluids (low sodium chicken broth for a dog-friendly version of chicken soup!) and eat nutrient-rich raw dog food to give his body everything it needs to fight infection. Encourage him to rest by providing comfy sleeping spots around the house. Using a humidifier can also be helpful – turn one on in the rooms where he likes to lounge or sleep.
It’s important to monitor your pet closely when you notice he’s unwell. Keep track of his symptoms and how long he’s had them – write them down to have a useful record. If he doesn’t seem to be improving after a couple of days, a visit to the holistic vet could well be worth your time, to rule out any more severe illnesses.
Remember, too, that as much as you enjoy being comforted when sick, your dog will appreciate it in equal measure.