Can Dogs Get the Flu?

3 min read
Nov 17, 2022

We all know people can get the flu, but did you know dogs can catch the flu too? It’s known as canine influenza. And not only does it make our dogs feel terrible as it does us but can be dangerous to their health just as it can to ours.

Understanding the ‘dog flu’ and recognizing the signs can help you take care of your sick pup and know when it’s necessary to call your veterinarian.

Symptoms of the Dog Flu

The following are common symptoms when your dog has the flu:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever of 104-106 Fahrenheit

Is the Dog Flu Contagious?

Yes, the dog flu is highly contagious. Your dog can catch the ‘dog flu’ simply by another dog sneezing nearby. The dog flu, like our flu, can also survive on various objects so he can also catch it by playing with a toy or chewing on an object another dog has played with.

The flu can also spread from human to dog. If you have the flu, there is a possibility your dog will soon have the flu as well.

Understand the Risk

Some dogs who have the flu may not even show it. A dog’s instincts tell them not to show any signs of illness, so they’ll do their best to hide it. And, luckily, most dogs who catch the flu survive it. But there are times when the flu can become serious.

In some cases, canine influenza can turn into pneumonia. Puppies and senior dogs have the highest risk of developing pneumonia when they contract the flu.

Dogs who are brachycephalic (short-snouted) can also be at a higher risk as their short snout already makes it more difficult to breathe compared to other breeds.

What’s the Treatment for Dog Flu?

Just like us, you must ensure your dog drinks plenty of fluids and gets the rest she needs. Make sure she has a cozy, comfortable, and quiet place to rest and get well.

If you suspect your dog has the flu, your veterinarian may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent or assist with a bacterial infection along with her flu.

If your dog shows any signs of the flu, make sure you don’t visit with other dogs to prevent spreading it to all of her ‘doggy friends.’

Generally, most dogs get better within 2-3 weeks. If you have a puppy or a senior dog, it’s highly recommended you take your dog to the veterinarian the moment symptoms are noticed so treatment may be given if necessary.

If your dog is not drinking how she should be, this is also a critical time to contact your veterinarian. Your dog can quickly become dehydrated resulting in her condition worsening quickly.

Consider Investing in Dog Insurance  

Looking for more ways to keep your pup happy and healthy? Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1  Get your free quote today. 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

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