Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Healthy Dogs

Font Size

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

Bloat in Dogs

Bloat in dogs is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary care. Also known as gastric dilatation, gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), gastric torsion and twisted stomach, bloat can cause rapid clinical signs and death in several hours. Even with immediate treatment, approximately 25% to 40% of dogs die from this medical emergency. When bloat occurs, the dog’s stomach fills with air, fluid and food. The enlarged stomach puts pressure on other organs and can cause difficulty...

Read the Bloat in Dogs 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
Pets: Is My Dog Normal
Dog scratching behind ear
dog catching frisbee
Dog Breed RMQ
Lady owner feeding dog
bulldog in party hat

Special Sections