Summer colds are the worst! A few weeks ago I was dealing with a bout of tonsilitis, then my partner came down with a cold. We live together, so of course I ended up catching it too. Misery loves company, or so they say. On top of that, we celebrated our Alaskan klee kai Fenrir’s 7th birthday the other day, and I think we went a bit overboard giving treats to the dogs. Fenrir was fine, but Kitsune, my senior papillon, developed a bit of an upset stomach. Luckily Kit got over his upset stomach much faster than I did my cold. Every time my partner or I get sick, I wonder whether we have to worry about our dogs catching colds from us humans.
Luckily, as it turns out, dogs contracting colds from humans, and vice versa, is very rare.
The viruses that cause what we commonly think of as colds are usually species specific, and don’t have the ability to jump from one species to another. There have been some instances of dogs, cats, and even ferrets contracting the flu from humans, though, so theatrically it’s not impossible for some of the viruses that make us sick to also have the ability to effect our pets. But this is very rare and, for all intents and purposes, you shouldn’t worry about your dog catching a cold from you (or vice versa).
That’s not to say that dog’s can’t catch colds, just that, for the most part, the viruses that cause our furry friends to feel sick are not the same ones that impact us. That’s good news for all the pet owners out there who, like me, know that doggy snuggles are the best medicine!
Dogs can, of course, catch viruses from other dogs.
Some of these viruses mimic human cold symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, upset stomachs, runny eyes, and runny noses. If your dog is acting sick, however, it’s important to keep a close eye on him/her and not just write off symptoms as being a simple cold. Some symptoms commonly associated with the common cold in humans can be signs of something more series in dogs. If your dog experiences anything more than mild symptoms, or symptoms last for more than a few days, it’s important to get your furry friend in to see a vet.
Also remember that it’s important not to medicate your pet without first speaking to your vet.
There are lots of OTC medications that humans can take to feel better when they are sick, but most of them are not safe to give your pets. Even the ones that are potentially safe need to be carefully dosed, so should not be administered to pets without vet approval.
I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about giving my colds to my dogs. When I’m sick I like nothing more than to cuddle up under a blanket sandwiched between Kit and Fen. Even crazy Mr.Fen seems to know when I’m not feeling well and, thankfully, tones down his crazy a bit until I’m feeling better again. Do your pets seem to know when you are sick too? Comment below!