Just like humans, dogs can catch colds as well. In fact, some breeds get the cold virus very easily. So, do not assume that the protective layers of fur can keep them completely immune from cold. Believe it or not, the furriest dog out there can also catch colds.
This is to say that even dogs with thick coats would need some degree of protection from the cold. That said, dogs with thick layers of fur are bound to fare better in winter conditions than others. As expected, short-haired dogs and puppies would need extra warmth and care when the temperature drops.
Needless to say, the health status of a pet would also determine the pet’s ability to tolerate cold. Sick and old dogs won’t be able to regulate their body temperature as nicely as healthy and young dogs, which puts the former category of dogs into a higher risk category of catching colds.
That said, the chances of your dog contracting a cold from you is extremely low. In other words, human colds don’t pass over to the dogs. It’s also important to know that a hot or cold climate doesn’t directly cause a pet dog to catch colds or fall sick. However, it can negatively impact their immune system.
Subsequently, your four-legged friend won’t be able to put up a fight against viruses and infections, which will, ultimately, cause him to fall sick, even in the middle of a regular day. If your dog catches up with the cold virus, he will display one or all of the symptoms mentioned below:
Symptoms of Cold in Dogs:
-You will notice that your dog is sneezing more often than usual every hour. For those who don’t know, sneezing is usually the first sign of a cold. That said, excessive sneezing could be due to other health conditions too. So, check if sneezing is accompanied by the symptoms mentioned below.
-See whether or not your dog is having any trouble while breathing. Cold can block the dog’s nasal passage, causing the dog to breathe through his mouth as opposed to the nose. Also, look for green or thick white discharge from your dog’s nose and eyes, which is another indication of some issue in the nasal area.
Important Information: A cold is not a cause of serious concern in dogs. However, a trip to the vet’s office is a must if your dog keeps developing additional symptoms, such as lethargy, fever, coughing, and so on. After inspection, a vet will be able to tell why the symptoms are progressing.
Of course, mild colds in dogs usually resolve on their own without having to go through the trouble of following any treatment protocol. This is true, especially when the dog’s immune system is strong enough to cope up with the cold viruses/infections.
How to Treat Colds in Dogs?
To treat colds in pet dogs, you need to assess their condition first. If your dog can carry out his routine life, encourage him to eat and drink adequately. Also, make sure to wipe his running nose with a clean cloth to make him feel more comfortable. Additionally, you should let him rest in a quiet place.
Basically, give him no valid reason to bark so that he recovers quickly. After all, excessive barking can cause him to be restless. It can also make him cough a lot. Moreover, avoid the use of a harness as exerting pressure on the neck can worsen the situation. Not to mention that a harness will annoy him easily.
Furthermore, do not try any over-the-counter medication on your own. Human pills, in particular, can have a dangerous impact on dogs when given to them. So, do not experiment with drugs without having a word the dog’s vet first. The vet is the right person to prescribe over-the-counter pills.
When to Contact the Vet?
Not all colds can be treated at home. Sometimes, things can get out of hand due to improper home treatment or some underlying health issue. You should ideally seek the vet’s help when your dog showcases the symptoms listed below:
-Has stopped eating/drinking
-Has great difficulty in breathing
-Has started vomiting
-Gets tired/ uncomfortable very easily
If the vet suspects a serious issue, he will do a full examination by running some diagnostic tests to determine the root cause of the issue. Once the exact cause of the issue is identified, the vet will prescribe appropriate medications to deal with the issue.
How to Prevent Colds in Dogs?
If you live in a cold environment, you must provide them with a warm place to rest/sleep. In other words, get them a good bed. Some dogs will cleverly tell you that they need a blanket too. They will either sleep on top of you or get inside your blanket to stay warm.
Needless to say, a thick blanket will provide plenty of warmth during the cold seasons. You might think of getting a pair of sweaters as well, which you can replace in every 2-3 weeks. That said, make sure that the sweater you choose for your furry friend doesn’t have irritating zippers on them.
Of course, some dog breeds can handle winter seasons better than others. So, breeds like Huskies won’t appreciate you getting them a sweater. They have dense fur on their body for a reason. They can stay outside in the snow and not catch a cold easily.
Remember, you should also get your dogs vaccinated because CIRD (Canine infectious respiratory disease) is quite common in unvaccinated pets. Of course, provide them with a healthy and balanced diet along with plenty of exercise time. Keep their water intake adequate as well.
In summary, you should keep your pet dogs healthy and warm, especially during cold seasons, to increase their tolerance for the cold. For breeds that can’t tolerate cold seasons, you should also limit the amount of time they spend outdoors. Even mild hypothermia can have an adverse effect on your dog’s health.