Can Dogs Get The Stomach Flu?

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The stomach flu can pack a big punch. You may find your whole family banished to the bathrooms after one member comes home with the bug. Gut wrenching pains, a bloated tummy and fluids leaking from both ends are just some of the telltale signs that you're dealing with the stomach flu. We know that this unforgiving sickness spreads crazy fast between people, but are our dogs at risk too? Can dogs get the stomach flu?

Can Dogs Get The Stomach Flu?

YES!
Dogs definitely can get the stomach flu, but let's get one thing straight. The stomach flu isn't really a flu at all. “Flu” is short for influenza, which only affects the lungs. Stomach flu is just a name we use to describe many different types of gastroenteritis. Viral gastroenteritis like norovirus and rotavirus are the most common types of stomach flu in humans, causing nasty symptoms for a day or longer before running their course. Both of these viruses can spread to pooches, although other stomach viruses are more common in the canine world.

Does My Dog Have The Stomach Flu?

Is your pup barfing his brains out? While lots of things can make dogs sick to their stomachs, a stomach flu can often be the culprit.

Symptoms
Obviously, a stomach flu brings with it stomach sickness. Your dog will likely vomit and have pretty relentless diarrhea, which won't be fun to clean up. Keep an eye out for signs of dehydration if the spewing continues for too long.

Causes
Dogs get the stomach flu from a heap of different viruses. Usually, they get the virus after being in contact with another animal who is infected, but some viruses can also contaminate food or water.

Diagnosis
Most viruses will be long gone by the time your vet gets lab results back, but it still may be best to collect samples from your pup to rule out other problems.

To read more about the stomach flu and other forms of gastroenteritis, check out Gastroenteritis in Dogs .

How Do I Treat My Dog's Stomach Flu?

Most viruses do not have “cures” per se. That being said, veterinary attention can help your pooch get through particularly tough cases of the stomach flu.

Treatment
One of the most important things a vet can do to help your dog with a stomach bug is to keep his fluids up. IV fluids plus electrolytes may be needed if your poor pupper is especially ill. Some medications can also be used to decrease nausea in your pup.

Recovery
Most pooches get over the worst of a virus in a day or two. You'll have to slowly reintroduce food so as to not overwhelm his somewhat fragile system.

To ask all of your stomach flu questions to a real live vet, head over to Gastroenteritis in Dogs .

How is The Stomach Flu Similar in Dogs and Humans?

Canines and their owners share a lot of the same tummy issues. They even share some of the same viruses! Notable similarities include:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Lethargy

  • Loss of appetite

  • Dehydration

How is The Stomach Flu Different in Dogs and Humans?

Dogs can get the stomach flu in different ways than people. Main differences of the illness between the two parties are:

  • Parvovirus is one stomach bug that causes extreme illness and even death in dogs, but does not infected humans

  • Stomach bugs have a tendency to spread rapidly through people because of all the ways we congregate (eg: school, work, public transport)

Case Study

It's always important to monitor your poochie when he's sick, because what looks like the stomach flu can actually be other illnesses. One mature terrier-lass came down with classic tummy troubles. Her owners watched her closely and gave her only fluids for about 48 hours. At this point, they reintroduced food, but kept it easy on the gut. Their vet also prescribes some medication to lessen the vomiting. They were getting worried because her symptoms weren't going away, but after a few weeks, they started to taper off. If you are unsure what you are dealing with, do not hesitate to double check with your vet to stay on the safe side!