Family members living in close quarters know how easy it is to catch a cold from each other. Humans transfer the cold virus from infected individuals through contaminated surfaces or airborne germs, but can our dogs also get a cold?
Can my Shih Tzu get a cold? The answer is simply yes. Your Shih Tzu can catch a cold from other dogs or contaminated surfaces, but the type of cold your dogs suffers from is different from the colds a human suffers from and hers how to treat it.
Shih Tzu Cold Symptoms
Dog cold symptoms are similar to humans, dogs will exhibit sneezing, coughing, stuffy nose or even maybe watery eyes.
If your Shih Tzu is displaying these symptoms it’s important they are not related to a more serious virus or disease. For example, allergies or asthma may trigger respiratory symptoms in dogs, and a cough with a noticeable hacking sound could be a sign of kennel cough.
The canine influenza virus may also bring about vomiting, fever and discharge from the eyes and nose. Make sure you get your dog checked out by your veterinarian to rule out and serious medical problems.
For otherwise healthy dogs who are exhibiting light sneezing or coughing a lite treatment may suffice. Pet owners should make sure their dog drinks plenty of water and maybe consider placing a humidifier near the dog’s rest area.
While recovering from a cold, it’s best for a dog to get plenty of rest so activities and travel should be restricted until the cold symptoms have dissipated.
In dogs with a weak immune system who do not recover from a cold quickly antibiotics or other medication may be prescribed by your veterinarian.
If you have a puppy or an older dog, it’s best to get them evaluated by your vet to discuss treatment options since young and old dogs tend to have more immune problems than young healthy dogs.
The first thing you need to know is that colds are not typically something serious, they usually last about a week. When your dog does have a cold you’re going to want to keep them hydrated and keep them warm.
If your dog doesn’t want to eat or drink or if you notice any of the symptoms that I mentioned here becoming severe you want to seek veterinary attention immediately.
Some of the things to look for. Check around the nose, listen for congestion or difficulty breathing. Any type of wheezing around the nose area you might see a little bit of discharge or some runny mucus coming down.
It should be clear if it’s colored in any way you need to seek veterinary attention, but if there is some clear nasal discharge around the nose area you’ll know that that is a symptom of a cold bug.
Listen to your dog’s breathing and if you notice any difficulties like wheezing or anything like if you hear any coughing that can be a sign of a cold.
Around the eyes you may notice some discharge, it should be clear, but if it’s colored you want to seek veterinary attention. If it’s just some clear discharge that your dog is getting it could be a symptom of a cold.
Loss of appetite or lack of wanting to drink, general lethargy is definitely a sign of a cold. And finally a mild fever.
If you feel in your dog’s ears or you can feel under their belly to where there’s skin or at least less fur and if they feel warmer than normal you are going to want to check for a fever.
To check for a dog’s temperature you’re going to do that rectally. A normal temperature for a dog is 102 102.5, they run a little hotter than we do so don’t worry if it’s a little higher than the standard human temperature.
If it’s anything above 104, that’s when you need to worry and that is a time to seek veterinary attention. If it’s a typical cold you don’t have anything to worry about as long as your dog is staying warm and hydrated.
Will A Dog Cold Go Away On Its Own?
It should run its course in a couple of days if it lasts more than a week or you notice any of the symptoms becoming severe seek veterinary attention.
What Can You Give a Dog With a Cold?
Cold is a very nonspecific term. In humans, we think of colds as being anything from the flu to just upper respiratory viruses alone, and in essence, it’s the same with a dog if you’re dealing with a cold.
What we have in a dog is going to be generally an upper respiratory infection, a lower respiratory infection, something like that, just feeling kind of bad. A lot of these in dogs are viral and/or bacterial.
And so the first thing to do is to identify if your dog is sick, we’ve talked about looking at your dog as far as lethargy is concerned, not eating very well, sneezing, coughing, anything like that would indicate that your pet needs to go to your veterinary office so they can diagnose your pet with a cold.
As far as treating a pet with a cold, we commonly use antihistamines, we commonly use antibiotics since a lot of these things can become infections.
And generally, the other thing on pets, especially dogs, is supportive care because a lot of animals when they have a cold or any kind of illness are not feeling very well.
They’re going to be off of their food or water. So good supportive care at home is the best thing you can do.
Treating a dog cold is similar to treating a human with a cold. Keep your dog warm and dry, if they seem to have the chills if you notice your dog is shivering and shaking try a heating pad or a heated blanket underneath your dog. If your dog doesn’t mind being covered cover them with a blanket.
Make sure that they stay dry if the weather’s terrible outside provide them with a raincoat, boots, a jacket a waterproof or water-resistant jacket if it’s the winter months.
You want to keep them warm and dry all the time, you also want to limit activity. You’re probably going to find that your dogs are lethargic and lack energy, but if for some reason they seem like they want to pace around or go outside, just make sure that you keep them in and limit that activity as much as possible.
You should make sure they’re eating and drinking, this will keep their energy up and of course, prevent dehydration.
If your dog doesn’t want to eat or drink give them something that’s enticing them to eat boiled chicken and rice is great and usually stomach-friendly.
Getting them to drink freshwater that’s cold, add a little bit of low sodium broth to the water to make sure they are getting hydrated and getting a little something to eat.
If you notice some discharge from the eyes and possibly the nose, if your dog seems to be congested you could use a humidifier to help with their breathing.
Make sure that you keep tabs on your dog and you wipe any discharge from their eyes, wipe any discharge from the nose to keep those areas clear. You don’t want to have any problems with their vision or breathing so just keep those areas clear.
If you notice their nose is getting a little dry and chapped you can always use petroleum jelly. Wipe it on their nose and that will help to keep that from drying and cracking.
Try adding some things to their diet to boost their immune system, coconut oil and local raw honey are great options. They have antibacterial – antiviral properties and immune-boosting properties as well.
Don’t give them any human medications, always consult your vet before giving them any type of medication. Medication like aspirin and acetaminophen products to lower fevers or reduce pain can be toxic to dogs so you want to make sure that you consult your veterinarian first.
If you’re considering giving any medication if it lasts longer than about 7 days or you notice that it’s getting worse very quickly make sure to seek veterinary care right away.
Can a Dog Catch a Cold From a Human?
Influenza is a human pathogen, it spreads from person to person via the respiratory route. There is the odd report of influenza in pets but that’s really an oddity.
We do have a lot of interaction in flu strains in animals, bird flu strains in humans and they can mutate to create new influenza strains that circle the globe and create periodic influenza pandemics.
Dogs and cats we don’t have to worry about because they cannot pass on colds and flu to us and we can’t pass it onto them.