Anna Sheffer
Updated Jan 22, 2018 @ 12:06 pm
symptoms of dog flu
Credit: Auscape/UIG via Getty Images

Nobody likes getting the flu. And now the dog flu is spreading among pets, giving new meaning to the phrase “sick as a dog.” But how can you tell if your pooch is feeling under the weather?

Just like influenza in humans, symptoms of dog flu include runny noses, sneezing, and coughing. Sick dogs might also seem sluggish, lose their appetite, or struggle to breathe. While the illness might severely affect some pets, others might have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Another common sign of dog flu is a fever. In rare but serious cases, dogs can develop pneumonia from the flu. Most dogs will recover fully from canine influenza within a couple of weeks.

There are two strains of canine influenza. H3N2, the strain found in the United States in 2017, has an incubation period of two to eight days, but dogs can still spread the virus before they show symptoms of dog flu. Canine influenza can’t spread to humans or other pets, but up to 80 percent of dogs who come into contact with it will get sick, and up to 10 percent of dogs left untreated die of the disease. If you suspect your pupper might have the flu, it’s best not to stay away from the dog park and head for the vet’s office. Thankfully, just like people, dogs can be vaccinated against the flu.

Although the dog flu is usually minor, it’s important to keep an eye on your furry friend and make sure they’re feeling like themselves. And if your pet falls ill, take them to the vet and make sure they get plenty of fluids.

With all these cases of dog flu going around, just be careful that your fur baby doesn’t pull a Ferris Bueller and fake being sick. We hope that all pets — and their owners — stay healthy this winter.