Dogs can get the flu just like humans, although the type of flu they can contract is not contagious to humans. Canine influenza can be a serious condition that may require veterinary care. Knowing what to look for can help you determine when and if your pooch needs to go to the animal hospital. Here are some symptoms to be on the lookout for.
Any type of cough in a dog can be a cause for concern. If you notice your dog is coughing a lot, and if the cough is accompanied by mucus discharge, the flu may be a possible cause. In some dogs, the flu can lead to more serious respiratory issues, such as pneumonia. To help relieve the symptoms, keep your dog away from dust and smoky environments. Offer plenty of water, and trade the collar leash for a harness to avoid irritating the throat. If the cough is accompanied by raspy breathing, or if your dog appears to be having difficulty breathing, head to your local animal hospital right away.
Just as in humans, the flu in dogs can come with an elevated body temperature. If your dog seems to be noticeably warmer than usual, take his or her temperature to determine how serious the fever is. A fever in a dog is typically considered to be anything over 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit. A quick, easy way to spot a fever is to feel your dog's nose. If it is warm and dry, this may be a sign of fever and illness. Taking your dog's temperature may prove to be a challenge, so consider enlisting a friend or family member to help. You can find rectal thermometers designed for use in dogs at your local pet supply store. It's a good idea to have one at home just in case your dog becomes ill.
Change In Appetite
If your dog no longer seems to be interested in eating, this may be a sign of the flu. Offer the same food you normally serve at mealtime, and provide plenty of water in case your dog is dehydrated. Measure out each serving of food and monitor how much is eaten. You can provide this information to the veterinarian when you visit the animal hospital for an examination. If you notice vomiting in addition to not eating, a visit to the animal hospital should be your next step.
Be sure to contact the animal hospital in advance to let them know you suspect your pet has canine influenza. The facility may take some extra precautions, such as having you enter through a separate door and visiting a quarantine exam room. This is to help prevent other dogs from getting sick while your pet receives treatment. If your dog doesn't have any symptoms but you are worried he or she might contract the flu, talk to your veterinarian about a flu vaccine.