Symptoms of a Dog Cold and Supportive Care

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Tess Thompson

A lot of people would like to know whether dogs can catch common colds like humans do. Symptoms like a runny dog nose, sneezing and coughing can develop. Although all the above mentioned symptoms sound like the common cold in humans, most of the times, the condition that is diagnosed is a viral, bacterial or fungal infection in the canine respiratory system. Symptoms resembling the common cold should not be shrugged away, even though some of the conditions are self-limiting and go away on their own. Sometimes these symptoms, especially if accompanied by fever, can be indicative of serious ailments like the highly infectious dog flu (canine influenza virus) or canine distemper. These ailments can eventually lead to pneumonia if not treated.

Some of the symptoms of a canine cold may include:

  • Chronic cough.
  • Hacking cough that throws up phlegm.
  • Yellowish green nasal discharge.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Watery eyes.

The first step is to get the condition evaluated by a veterinarian and rule out the prevalence of infection. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, and vaccinations cannot protect dogs from all conditions that show symptoms similar to colds. For example, dog flu is a recent disease, and the lack of prior exposure means that the dog’s immunity is unable to combat the new virus on its own.

Once it has been established that the symptoms relate to a self-limiting cold, supportive home care is as important as treatment, if any. To make your dog comfortable for the duration of the cold, you can try any or all of the following:

  • Insulate the pet from the cold and keep him dry. Canine colds commonly occur during winters, as cold air tends to tighten the bronchial tubes, making breathing difficult for the dog. Respiratory problems can bring forth abnormal behaviors and become a source of discomfort for owners, as well.
  • Loss of appetite can lead to loss of vital energy. You may have to coax eating by offering boiled chicken and brown rice, which will provide extra nutrition as well as strengthen his immune system. A healthy immune system is the best protection against canine colds and consequent opportunistic infections.
  • Put a vaporizer near the place your pet sleeps. Moistened bronchial tubes will make breathing easier.
  • Homeopathic remedies are safe and can ease the symptoms of canine colds. You may also use some children’s medicines meant for human colds, if you prefer.

Remember that canine colds are rarely as simple as they seem to be. Your timely attention will go a long way in making life comfortable for your dog and avoiding the progression of a mild condition into a life-threatening one.


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