According to the CDC’s website, canine influenza (also known as dog flu) is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by specific Type A influenza viruses known to infect dogs. The illness is transmitted via the usual methods: coughs and sneezes that spray your dog as well shared toys and food and water dishes. If you take your dog to a busy dog park, keep an eye on their interaction with other pups and be aware of any dogs that are excessively sneezing or coughing as they are best avoided.
Likewise, when taking your dog to the groomer or day care, be sure to ask if they have seen any cases of the flu and if you don’t feel comfortable consider holding off on taking your dog in for an appointment. There is no need to panic, but knowing that you have the best available information can help increase your peace of mind.
Most worrisome is the fact that dogs can be asymptomatic for up to ten days while being contagious. If your dog shows any of the usual symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, lethargy, and lack of appetite, you may want to give your vet a call.
“There is no need to panic, but knowing that you have the best available information can help increase your peace of mind.”
Similar to people, the dog flu varies each year and vaccines need to be re administered. If you choose to vaccinate your pet remember to return each year for a new shot. Dog flu can be serious if left untreated but if you keep an eye on your pet and avoid high-risk areas during an outbreak, they should be fine. Vaccinating your dog is a good idea if your dog goes to doggy daycare or if you are frequent visitors to active dog parks.
If you hear of an outbreak in your immediate area you may want to keep a closer eye on your dog’s interactions with other pets or completely avoid areas where they congregate. If your dog does show symptoms, speak with your vet before taking them for a visit as many vet offices will utilize separate entrances for infected pups.