By Anne-Marie George
Just the other day I was caught out walking with a dog when a rather intense rain system arrived and began bucketing water all over us. Now, I had an umbrella but unfortunately my companion did not and wasn’t too keen to join me under my shelter. There was little I could do so we continued on trudging though the mud until we finally arrived home, cold, dirty and very, very wet. This experience got me thinking about whether dogs were susceptible to colds and flus so I resolved that I must instigate an investigation.
Common sense told me that regardless of whether dogs contracted colds and/or flus leaving them dripping wet was going to promote some sort of negative consequence so I made sure my furry friend had a thorough towel down before I left, which unsurprisingly he quite enjoyed. In fact, I suspect the towel down may become a regular feature of our walk routine regardless of whether he is wet. I also sought to ensure he had some area that was protected, dry and warm, as the rain seemed to invite an icy breeze along for its visit.
Since returning to my home and doing a little research, I have learned that dogs can catch colds and flus; not the ones we commonly get but their own special type nonetheless. Having said that, the symptoms – coughing, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose and watery eyes – and treatment – lots of water/fluids, healthy food, warm, dry environment and perhaps even a humidifier to clear the sinuses – mirror our experience. There are also those times when the illness conquers more of the body and progresses beyond a common cold. On these occasions it is imperative that the dog visit their vet, as there are some illnesses that are very dangerous or can even be fatal – such as canine distemper, pneumonia and kennel cough – if left untreated.
With all this said, the old adage, prevention is better than a cure, once again rings true. Ensure you feed your dog a high protein, nutrient-rich diet, provide clean, fresh water everyday (some have suggested even adding some broth to their bowl to encourage them to drink more), maintain daily exercise and shield them from cold, damp or wet, drafty areas. Keeping our dogs healthy, well hydrated and warm will build their immunity, which in turn will protect them from a germ invasion and overthrow. As we know doubt can all attest to, a happy hound is a happy home.
Aimee, June 28 2011, 4 The Love of Animals, What to do If Your Dog Gets a Cold, 31 May 2013, http://4theloveofanimals.com/blog/2011/06/28/what-to-do-if-your-dog-gets-a-cold/
Pet MD, Your Dog and the Cold Germ, 31 May 2013, http://www.petmd.com/dog/seasonal/evr_dg_cold_germs_and_your_dog#.UagCf-DrbzI