Dogs, just like people, are susceptible to flu. However, the flu strains that affect dogs is different from the human strains. In dogs, however, if the flu does not present its symptoms, and is therefore left untreated, dog flu can turn into a much more serious case or problem of pneumonia. Dog Flu which is also called ‘canine influenza’ is a very contagious respiratory condition in dogs. It’s caused by a type A ‘influenza virus’ which is labeled as H3N8.
Signs to Know Your Dog May Have the Flu
A flu usually produces the following symptoms: Nasal congestion and sometimes discharge, difficulty in breathing through the nose, occasional coughing, a mild fever, runny eyes, sneezing, general lethargy in the dog’s mood, and also the loss of appetite. Although these symptoms may and can make your dog feel relatively uncomfortable and uneasy, they are not really severe. Most healthy dogs will usually get over a common cold within, say, a week without need for any treatment, that is, as long as the dog is kept warm enough and well hydrated.
Ways To Help Your Dog Overcome the Flu:
- Always keep your dog dry and warm. Limit its time spent outside during cold weather. The cold air usually makes the dog’s bronchial tubes constrict, this on turn makes it very difficult for the dog to breathe.
- Provide the dog with extra-nutrition. For example, you can give your dog boiled chicken with brown rice so as to coax the dog to eat. By doing this you will ensure your dog keeps his/her strength up while also providing the dog’s immune system with support.
- You can run a cool-mist vaporizer around or near your dog’s resting or sleeping area so as to help keep the dog’s bronchial tubes well moistened.
- You can encourage your dog to drink some liquids, you may even have to tempt your dog with low-sodium chicken broth in order for your dog to take some liquid. This will mostly help in keeping the nasal secretions much thinner and thus less likely to clog the dog’s nose.
- You can also administer some children’s flu medicine, that is, as long as the dosage and type of medicine is approved by your dog’s veterinarian. This will not necessarily cure your dog’s flu, but it will help ease the dog’s flu symptoms and also make him/her feel more comfortable and at ease.
- You can also take your dog to the veterinarian. The vet can then test your dog to make sure it does in fact have the flu and prescribe the necessary medications that will make your dog feel more comfortable and at ease. A broad spectrum of anti-biotics in case of a secondary infection may also be perscribed.
- Always remember to keep water near your dog. Your dog needs to constantly take water so as to help flush out/rid the flu. Though you cannot really force your dog to drink the water, simply having the water near your dog should suffice.
- Don’t walk your dog when he/she is sick. Your dog, just like any other sick animal, will need to rest.
- Keep all your other dogs away from the sick one. The dog flu spreads from animal to animal quite easily through the nose.