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Can dogs catch colds? How to stay healthy this winter season.


Heed these takeaways:

  • There are many different viruses that can cause cold-like symptoms in dogs.
  • While a mild cold is no major concern, cold symptoms could indicate a much more serious illness.
  • If your pup has any symptoms, get them checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Prevention is better than cure, so follow some simple winter care tips to help your pup stay healthy.

Each year, the arrival of winter brings with it something many of us dread: the common cold.

Coughing, sneezing, a runny nose and generally feeling terrible — we’re all familiar with the symptoms, but while colds are annoying and uncomfortable, they’re rarely a major problem.

But can the same be said for our pups? Can dogs catch colds and if so, are they a serious threat to your pup’s health? Let’s take a closer look.

Can my dog catch a cold?

In short, yes. 

However, just like there’s no such thing as the “common cold virus” in humans, there are many different viruses that can potentially cause your pup to display cold-like symptoms.

Those symptoms can include:

  • A runny or congested nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Lethargy

In some cases, these signs could indicate that your pup is suffering from a doggy cold, which is often no major cause for concern. Unfortunately, they could also be symptoms of a much more serious illness, such as kennel cough, canine flu or even distemper, so don’t ignore the warning signs. Instead, get your pup checked out by a veterinarian to determine what’s causing their sniffles and what treatment is required.

Finally, it’s also worth pointing out that recent studies have shown that in very rare circumstances and with some types of influenza viruses, it’s possible for humans to transmit the flu to their dogs. However, there’s no need to worry about passing your nasty case of the sniffles on to your pup. 

How to keep your dog healthy this winter

There are plenty of simple things you can do to keep your pup in the best possible shape this winter and minimize their chances of getting sick. Make sure you:

  • Watch for symptoms. Keep a close eye on your pup and get him checked out by your vet if he’s showing any cold-like symptoms.
  • Keep your pup warm. Ensure that your pup stays warm and dry to prevent illnesses from developing. Your pup needs to be protected from the elements, which means bringing him inside with you rather than leaving him out in the cold, while short-haired and delicate dogs may need a winter jacket. And if you live in an area prone to extreme cold, you’ll also need to limit the amount of time your pup spends outside.
  • Maintain proper hygiene. Cleaning your dog’s toys, bowls and bedding regularly can help prevent the spread of illness.
  • Stay up to date. Make sure your pup is up to date with all the necessary vaccinations as well as all his flea, tick and worm control medication.
  • Stay active. While it can be difficult to find the motivation to get outside in chilly winter weather, regular exercise is still crucial to your pup’s physical and mental wellbeing. Whether you brave the cold or find fun ways to exercise and play indoors, make sure your pup stays active right through winter.
  • Avoid sick dogs. Keep an eye out for other dogs with cold-like symptoms when you’re out for a walk or at the dog park. If it’s possible to avoid those dogs, do so.
  • Look after your dog’s gut. Did you know that your pup’s digestive system makes up 70% of his immune system? That’s why feeding Heed’s premium kibble blends, which are specially formulated to nourish the beneficial bacteria in your dog’s gut, can help your pup stay healthy.
  • Feed a balanced diet. Last but not least, don’t forget the importance of diet in ensuring your pup stays in the best possible shape. With Heed’s high-quality blends, all of which are packed with the highest-quality ingredients, good nutrition is easy.

Prevention is always better than cure, and if you follow the above tips you can help your dog stay healthy and happy all winter long.

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