During the winter season, you may see your canine sneezing more than usual. But can that be a sign that your dog has an actual cold? And can dogs get colds from humans or vice versa?
Is Every Sneeze A Sign? It's normal for dogs to sneeze occasionally, especially if they're fond of sniffing dust bunnies or if they get a little food dust up their noses. Some pups can even be affected by what may resemble mild seasonal allergies, with a few more sneezes during springtime blooming season. These sporadic episodes are perfectly normal and as long as other cold symptoms aren't evident, just say "bless you" and carry on as before.
Dog Cold Symptoms
But when the bitter winter chill sets in, you may want to monitor your dog's sneezes a little more closely. Dr. Ira M. Zaslow of Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists advises that dog parents be on the lookout for a runny nose, watery eyes, more sleeping than usual, a general listlessness, and a low-grade fever if you can get that thermometer in. One of these signs indicates your dog's cold is just starting; however, two or more of the cold signs warrant a trip to your veterinarian for medication to help speed the run of her germ's course.
Did My Dog Get a Cold From Me?
Wondering if dogs can get colds from humans is a common question, especially when the cold season arrives. Dr. Zaslow says, "A dog can't catch a human cold any more than you can catch mange." In other words, dog cold germs and human cold germs cannot affect the non-specific host; dogs only catch dog colds, and humans only catch human colds. Many times, everyone in a household, including the pooch, will be sick with a cold at the same time, but such events are just coincidence. Cold viruses for both animals and humans are more prevalent and active during the winter season, and if both you and your pooch are sick at the same time, consider it an opportunity for mutual commiseration through your misery.
Home Care for Your Dog's Cold
While not usually deadly, your dog will appreciate you making him more comfortable during his sick time. Besides bringing his to the vet and administering medication to him, make sure he doesn't get wet under any circumstances. Keep him away from drafts and have a blanket nearby for him to get cozy in. Try feeding him canned dog food to encourage him to continue eating, which is especially crucial to his getting better. Give him lots of sympathy, gently wipe his nose and eyes with a fluffy cotton ball, and bless his every sneeze.
How Long Until He Gets Better?
Fortunately, your dog is designed to heal from any ailment much more quickly than humans would. This ability harkens back to his ancestors' days in the wild, when sickness and injury made them easy targets for predators and fast recovery was crucial to their continuing existence. Canines are skilled at knowing what they need to do to make themselves feel better, so you may notice that he is laying low, much less active, sleeping more, and generally conserving his energy. He may be more comfortable retreating to a minimally trafficked area of your home and if you notice a particular corner he has made his own, put a dog bed there or a blanket in a big pile to keep his warm. With medication, he should show signs of feeling better in a couple of days and will probably be completely well in three days.
Can I Prevent My Dog from Getting a Cold?
Unfortunately, when dog cold germs are in the air and Fido's immunity is lowered from expending more energy to stay warm, there's really nothing you can do to keep him well other than keeping him dry and away from drafts. Dressing him in a snazzy dog sweater will help him keep warm stylishly, especially if he goes potty outdoors. Some dogs live their entire lives without ever catching a cold, while others may fall ill every winter season. What matters most is keeping him as healthy as you can with nutritious food and a clean environment and hope he has a strong constitution.
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