Skip to content

    Healthy Dogs

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Dog Flu: Keep Your Pet Safe

    By Stephanie Booth
    WebMD Pet Health Feature
    Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM

    You’ve heard of flu outbreaks making people sick, but they can happen to dogs, too. Our doggie friends can catch "canine influenza," which not only makes them feel bad, but can be dangerous to them.

    If you know the signs, you can help your dog feel better, or maybe keep him from getting sick at all.

    Recommended Related to Dogs

    Enriching Your Dog's Life

    Boredom and excess energy are two common reasons for behavior problems in dogs. This makes sense because they’re meant to lead active lives. Wild dogs spend about 80% of their waking hours hunting and scavenging for food. Domestic dogs have been helping and working alongside us for thousands of years, and most are bred for a specific purpose, such as hunting, farming or protection. For example, retrievers and pointers were bred to locate and fetch game and water birds. Scent hounds, like coonhounds...

    Read the Enriching Your Dog's Life article > >

    What are the symptoms of dog flu?

    ”Just like when people get the flu, you can expect your dog to sneeze, have a runny nose, and cough,” says Barry N. Kellogg, senior veterinary advisor to the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. Other symptoms are tiredness and lack of appetite. Some dogs also can have a fever of 104-106 F.

    Sometimes, you may not know your dog has the virus. Up to 20% of dogs with the flu don’t show any symptoms.

    How serious is it?

    Most dogs who get the virus don’t die. But “Canine influenza can cause more serious illness than the average respiratory infection,” says Cynda Crawford, DVM, PhD, of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. In some cases, it can turn into pneumonia. At that point, the disease becomes more dangerous. Puppies and older dogs are more likely to get severely ill once they’re infected.

    What are the chances my dog will catch it?

    If they're exposed to it, “close to 100%,” Crawford says. “The vast majority of dogs in the U.S. have not been previously infected or vaccinated against dog flu.”

    Dog flu is very contagious. Your pup can catch it when an infected dog sneezes or coughs on him. Since the virus also can live on objects, he could get it by putting an infected ball or toy in his mouth. It's possible for people to give their dogs the virus, too. If an infected dog coughs or sneezes on you, the virus can survive on your skin for 2 minutes and for a day or longer on your clothes.

    What breeds are most at risk?

    All ages and sizes of dogs are equally at risk. But “dogs with ‘smushed-in’ faces like pugs, French bulldogs, and Pekinese may have a tougher time dealing with the flu,” Crawford says. “Because of the anatomy of their respiratory tract, any respiratory illness takes a harder toll on them.”

    Today on WebMD

    bulldog in party hat
    Breeds with longevity
    Doberman Pinscher Clipped Ears
    The facts about ear cropping and tail docking.
     
    dog with duck in mouth
    Which are considered smartest?
    boxer dog
    What are their health issues?
     
    Pit bull looking up
    Article
    Pets: Is My Dog Normal
    Slideshow
     
    Dog scratching behind ear
    Slideshow
    dog catching frisbee
    Slideshow
     
    Dog Breed RMQ
    Quiz
    Lady owner feeding dog
    Slideshow
     
    pooldle
    Slideshow
    bulldog in party hat
    Slideshow