Can Your Pet Get the Flu?

dog sickHumans aren’t the only ones lucky enough to suffer from the flu every year. Canines can get the flu too, but the good news is that they can also get the flu shot!

An Introduction to Canine Influenza

Canine influenza is highly contagious, which makes many vets and pet owners nervous for elderly dogs, puppies, and dogs coping with other diseases. In addition to making your dog feel ill during his bout with the flu, canine influenza can also be very dangerous if it turns into pneumonia.

Since both strains of canine influenza are relatively new and brought to America from other countries, most dogs don’t have a natural defense against the infection. This makes the canine flu vaccines all the more important for dogs of all sizes, ages, and breeds.

Signs of Canine Influenza

The symptoms of the doggy flu are similar to the human flu in terms of sneezing, congestion, running nose, and coughing. If your dog demonstrates any of these signs along with unusual fatigue and lack of appetite, it could be the flu. Despite these common flu symptoms, up to 20% of dogs don’t show symptoms at all.

How Serious is Canine Influenza?

The canine version of the flu is about as serious as the human version, and even more contagious. However, it can be more dangerous for pugs and other breeds with “smashed-in” faces since their respiratory tracts can’t fight off illness as efficiently.

Get the Vaccine!

Vets always encourage pet owners to seek the flu vaccine for their dogs. Even if a dog comes down with the flu after receiving a vaccination, the symptoms of the flu will be significantly alleviated and recovery will occur quickly. The vaccine is even more important in warm weather since dogs are more likely to be social at this time and spread their germs.