Nursing a sick pooch can take a toll on your physical, mental, and psychological health. Among the common illnesses that can affect your dog’s vitality is colds. Caused by viruses, colds can easily be spread in seconds. It is highly contagious but the virus that causes canine colds is different from those that cause human colds; even if the symptoms, preventive measures, and treatments are pretty much similar.
Canine colds are characterized by watery eyes, stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and sometimes coughing. You will also notice that your dog’s energy is unusually low. It may lose interest in the activities it usually enjoys. While colds are generally not life-threatening, they could turn into a full-blown flu called H3N8 or into canine distemper, which can lead to death when left untreated. Canine distemper includes other symptoms, such as nasal discharge, vomiting, and high fever. Hence, as a dog parent, it is crucial to recognize the signs early and consult a veterinarian immediately.
Treating colds in dogs is similar to treating colds in humans. Fluids (water and warm broth), rest, and immunity-boosting vitamins are proven remedies for your ailing four-legged pal. Keeping hot water running in a closed bathroom also helps as this gives off steam for your dog. If the symptoms persist or fail to alleviate in a week, it is best to seek a veterinarian’s help for prescription of medicines.
Stronger immune system
Colds hit your dog badly when its immune system is weak. Healthy dogs are more likely to fight back the viruses that invade the system and recover from the illness. Eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly help keep your dog’s body stronger. Do not feed your dog with leftovers as these may not be sufficient for your pet’s optimum health.
While reverse zoonosis or the transmission of diseases from humans to animals rarely happens, your pet can be afflicted with diseases from other animals it comes in contact with. Colds can easily be transferred through bodily discharges, such as nasal droplets which are not visible to the naked eye. Thus, if you notice your neighbor’s dog slightly sneezing, it is best not to take chances and keep your pet away to avoid complications. Allowing your dog to wear protective masks, especially in a crowded environment, will also greatly help from evading common colds.
Cleaning your area is also an effective measure. Cover open bins to prevent your dog from tinkering with the trashes and be exposed to the bacteria, flies, and other insects that breed in it. Remember that colds can also be caused by allergies due to mites, dusts, and pests. Keeping your dog away from these allergens will save you from spending sleepless nights attending to your ill dog.
Disinfecting your place with chemical sprays and cleaners is also great. It’s recommended, however, to use pet-safe cleaning products or natural fresheners instead of aerosols. Chemicals may linger on the surfaces for a while and your dog may have licked them or inhaled them. Chemicals are also classified as potential allergens.
Yes, dogs can get a flu vaccine, too! There is an available vaccine for H3N8 or canine flu. The cost, however, is approximately $100 for a complete treatment. It is a little pricey, indeed. If your dog is not constantly exposed to closed and damp areas and crowded spaces, then you can skip the vaccination and invest in essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, the available vaccine for dog flu only covers specific strains and cannot be a substitute for treatment if by chance your dog becomes infected.
Drinking plenty of water is so important that it needs to be emphasized over and over again. Normally, 50 to 60 ml of water is required per kilogram of your dog’s weight. If your dog weighs 18 kgs, then it needs about 2 and a half liters of water daily. The number increases if your dog is physically active.
While it is nearly impossible to completely avoid colds, common as they are, the preventive measures above will help reduce the incidence of contamination and hasten the recovery period of your beloved pet.
Jenny Spiers is mum of 3 and a true animal lover with 3 dogs, 2 cats and a parrot called Charlie. Heading up the content for My Pet Needs That amongst a busy family schedule, her goal is to try help people all around the world become better pet owners.