Can Dogs Catch the Flu?

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When the weather becomes colder, rainier and dreary, this is usually a sign that flu season is upon us. When this happens, we all take as many precautions as possible. We eat better, we bundle up and we get our flu shots. Taking these precautions at least help us lower the chance of getting the flu. 

While we are busy taking care of ourselves, it is easy to forget that dogs are easily susceptible to getting sick too. We don't often think of how dogs get sick, but they can. They are also easily able to catch the flu, even from humans.

Signs Your Dog May Have the Flu

If you are noticing that your dog is displaying strange symptoms, be aware that they may be experiencing the flu. When you are checking to see if they may have the flu, keep an eye open for these signs. 

If you notice that your pupper is exceptionally sleepy, that is a good indication that something is wrong. Sometimes this is a sign that your dog may be depressed or anxious, but it is also a known symptom of the flu. 

Another sign to look out for is if you find your dog staring off into space or notice they are unable to focus. They may be in pain and unable to think of much else besides being sick. Another symptom to look out for is if you find your dog shaking, which shows that their body is trying to fight something off or they are cold because of the sickness. 

One other symptom that they may exhibit is a weakness in their body. When anyone gets sick, it is well known that your body becomes weak trying to fight off the virus causing the illness. Dogs are the same way.

Body Language

Signs that your pup may have the flu include:
  • Shaking
  • Weakness
  • Lack of focus
  • Sleepiness

Other Signs

Other signs your dog may have the flu are:
  • Mucus or Discharge from Nose
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever

The History Behind Dogs Getting the Flu

It is quite certain that dogs have gotten sick for as long as we have known them. What we did not always know is that canines are able to contract the flu virus. 

One of the first instances of the dog flu was in the year 2004. It is also known as canine influenza and was discovered by The University of Florida and Cornell University. It was first found when 22 greyhounds from a racing facility came down with a mysterious illness. While they did everything they could to contain the outbreak, they still lost 8 of the dogs. Since then, vets have been trained to diagnose the dog flu. It has been said previously that dogs have displayed symptoms of the dog flu since 1999. 

Currently, veterinarians are able to easily identify the symptoms and can help dogs with the flu. There have been several different outbreaks of the dog flu since then and as of June 2017, the virus has spread to 31 states. Over the years, they have been coming up with new ways to treat these viruses, especially since there are many different strains of the virus now.

The Science Behind the Dog Flu

As previously mentioned, the dog flu was discovered in 2004. Researchers from The University of Florida and virologists (people who study viruses) with Cornell University were able to first recognize the dog flu in 2004. After they had figured out it was the influenza virus, they were able to look at lab samples from previous cases and determine that the first strain actually occurred in 1999. 

There is no real explanation as to why it occurs, but most sicknesses form because of certain bacterias mixing in your body. Although the anatomy of a dog is different, they are still able to get sick like anyone else.

Dealing With the Doggy Flu

There isn't much that you can do to train your dog to not be sick. Life just happens, and everyone gets sick at some point. While you can do your best to prevent your canine from catching the flu, you can also look at how to best help them get through their bout with sickness - if and when it comes. 

When your pup starts exhibiting symptoms of the flu, you will want to keep a close eye on them to be sure you are treating them properly. Firstly, you will need to find them a quiet area to lay down so that they are able to rest without any added stress. This will truly help them in their quest to feeling 100% better. 

You will want to keep an eye on their appetite as well. Sometimes they can stop eating, so try to get them eating at least small amounts of food every so often. On top of all this, your pupper may need to be taken to the veterinarian if the symptoms begin to persist. They will most likely put your four-legged friend on some medication to help them get through it, so you will be in charge of tracking their prescription. Another good thing to keep your pup healthy is to keep them full of water. Keeping your dog hydrated will be a key component in keeping them safe from any complications from their symptoms. 

Safety Tips for When Your Pup has the Flu

  • Keep them hydrated with loads of water so that they do not get worse.
  • Monitor them closely to gauge if they are improving or not.
  • If their symptoms begin to worsen, take them immediately to the vet.

We Want to Hear About Your Dog's Bout with the Flu!