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Can Dogs Get Colds?

Can Dogs Get Colds? | BetterVet

Can Dogs Get a Common Cold?

Dogs, like humans, do catch colds. However, the type of cold that dogs can get is different from the common cold that humans get. It is very unlikely that a dog could catch a respiratory illness like COVID or a cold from their humans but can catch kennel cough from other dogs. Kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection caused by a variety of different viruses and bacteria exposure to other dogs.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

Symptoms of kennel cough are similar to what you might think are cold symptoms in dogs, such as a dry, severe, and persistent cough, eye discharge, a runny nose, a low fever, loss of appetite, and a lack of energy (lethargy) and a hoarse-sounding bark. The symptoms of kennel cough can range from mild to severe and can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, you should consult with your veterinarian right away.

Kennel Cough, the “Dog Cold”

Kennel cough is highly contagious and can easily spread among dogs in close proximity, such as those in kennels, shelters, and dog parks. The virus or bacteria that causes kennel cough can be spread through the air, by direct contact with an infected dog, or by contact with contaminated surfaces. That is why we recommend that before your dog comes into contact with other dogs, they are current on all of their vaccinations. The Bordetella vaccine, which is commonly given to dogs, can help protect them from the bacteria that causes kennel cough. 

If your dog does come down with kennel cough, it's important to keep them away from other dogs to prevent the spread of the infection. In most cases, kennel cough will clear up on its own with no treatment, but this is a decision that should always be made in consultation with your veterinarian.

Treatment for Kennel Cough

Treatment for kennel cough typically includes antibiotics to fight off any secondary bacterial infections and cough suppressants to help ease the symptoms. In some acute cases, your dog may also need oxygen to help them breathe. Chest x-rays may be recommended to help rule out any other conditions that may be causing their symptoms. 

To help prevent kennel cough and other respiratory infections, it's also important to keep your dog's living area clean and well-ventilated. This means regularly cleaning their kennel or crate, and making sure they have plenty of fresh air. Additionally, keeping your dog healthy, staying on top of routine wellness visits, and maintaining a healthy immune system can also help prevent them from getting sick.


In conclusion, while dogs cannot get the common cold that humans get, they can get kennel cough, which is an upper respiratory infection caused by a variety of different viruses and bacteria. Keeping your dog up to date on their vaccinations and keeping their living area clean and well-ventilated can help prevent kennel cough. If your dog does get kennel cough, treatment typically includes antibiotics and medication to treat the cough. It is also important to keep your dog healthy and maintain a healthy immune system to prevent them from getting sick.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs get colds from humans?

Dogs do not typically catch respiratory illnesses like a cold from humans but can catch kennel cough from other dogs.

What are the symptoms of the viruses that cause kennel cough?

One classic kennel cough symptom is a dry, persistent cough, which may be followed by retching or gagging. Other symptoms include eye discharge, a runny nose, a low fever, loss of appetite, and a lack of energy (lethargy). 

What is the best treatment for kennel cough?

It is common for your veterinarian to treat kennel cough treatment with a course of antibiotics. Anti-inflammatory medication and cough suppressants may also keep your furry friend more comfortable as they recover. 

Are there any home remedies for a dog cough and cold?

You should also consult your veterinarian before deciding to treat a dog’s cold at home, but there are some things you can do to strengthen your dog’s immune system. Boosting your dog’s immunity can help prevent and treat kennel cough. Probiotics are one way to boost your dog’s immunity and can be added to your dog’s food. Just like humans, honey can help reduce the nasal discharge that your dog may be experiencing. The appropriate serving would be one tablespoon of honey twice a day.

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