Breathing diseases

Colds in Dogs

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Colds in Dogs

See files for Dogs

Dogs can suffer from colds just like us. Exposure to the cold or certain viruses can cause your dog to catch a cold, but thankfully it's not a dangerous disease if you know how to help your dog overcome it.

If properly cared for, a dog can get over a mild cold in one week. Just like humans, dogs suffering from colds need to be kept warm, dry and properly fed. It's easy to recognize the symptoms of a cold in dogs, as the dog will sneeze or cough for long periods of time.

Do you think your dog may have a cold? Keep reading this AnimalWised article to find out more about colds in dogs, with their common symptoms and treatment.

You may also be interested in: Home Remedies for a Cat Cold


  1. Symptoms of colds in dogs
  2. What causes colds in dogs?
  3. How are colds in dogs treated?
  4. Should you go to the vet if your dog has a cold?

Symptoms of colds in dogs

Colds happen due to an infection of the upper respiratory tract. The symptoms aren't usually serious, but you should still pay attention to them since a simple cold can be confused with a serious respiratory problem, and vice versa.

The common symptoms of colds in dogs are the following:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Nasal secretion
  • Watering eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • General discomfort
  • Fever

These symptoms may be present for 1 or 2 weeks. The healing time varies from dog to dog, and also depends on how you take care of it.

In severe cases dogs with colds might find it difficult to breathe, or you might notice a wheezing noise when they do so. They may also have a few signs of fever. In these cases, it is better to go to a vet as soon as possible. To learn how to look after your dog when it shows some signs of fever, you should also read about fever in dogs.

Colds in Dogs - Symptoms of colds in dogs

What causes colds in dogs?

Just like with humans, dogs can catch colds for various reasons. It can be caused by continued exposure to the cold or can be spread between dogs.

It is usually caused by a virus such as parainfluenza, which is very common and contagious, or by type 2 Adenovirus, also known as kennel cough. Both illnesses cause coughing, sneezing and other symptoms of cold.

Some symptoms of cold can be confused with distemper; a highly contagious disease that affects the respiratory system. It is important to always keep an eye on your dog as soon as it starts to show any signs of discomfort. Doing so will allow you to rule out serious diseases. To learn more about this disease, find out all about canine distemper.

Colds in Dogs - What causes colds in dogs?

How are colds in dogs treated?

There is no treatment for a cold; while you can give your dog drugs to alleviate the symptoms, it is best to leave them to get over the cold on their own. Looking after them in a few simple ways can make the process more tolerable for them, and they'll recover in a few days.

Here we'll give you some tips so that your dog can get over the cold without any problems:

  • Keep the dog warm and dry: Just like humans, dogs are very susceptible to changes in temperature when they are suffering from colds. Place your dog next to the radiator and make sure that it has enough blankets. Dry its paws well after taking it for a walk.
  • Make the walks shorter: Don't subject your dog to excessive exercise. When suffering from a cold, the dog will be more apathetic and won't want to play. You should also avoid taking it out for a walk at the coldest times of day.
  • Encourage it to drink: It might be the case that it doesn't drink or eat much during these days. You should always encourage your dog to drink when it's sick, and make sure that you provide it with enough water, even in small doses. A dog with a cold loses liquids through mucus, and it is advisable to replace them. You should give it a little bit of chicken broth, which will help your dog to get rid of the mucus from its throat and give it a boost of nutrients.
  • Repose: Let it rest. Try not to excite it or make it play during these days. Your dog might try to follow your lead, but it will quickly get exhausted. After a few days of rest, it will start to get better and become more active.
  • Avoid contagion: If you have several dogs at home, it is very easy for them to catch the same cold. Try to keep your dogs apart during these days.
  • Avoid smoke or dust: You should always do your best to avoid exposing your dog to tobacco smoke or other kinds of smoke, especially when it's suffering from respiratory problems.
  • Vitamin C: Help your dog improve its defenses with Vitamin C supplements. These will help it to fight off colds. Consulting the veterinarian.
  • Honey: if your dog coughs a lot, you should give it a teaspoon of honey to relieve it.

Your dog should fully recover from the cold within one or two weeks. In order to prevent relapses, make sure you protect it from the cold and feed it well all year round. This will keep its immune system strong enough to overcome any cold.

In severe cases, your vet will treat infections with antibiotics. Remember that these should always be prescribed by the specialist, and that you should never medicate your dog yourself.

Colds in Dogs - How are colds in dogs treated?

Should you go to the vet if your dog has a cold?

Dogs normally get over a normal cold in one or two weeks, but there may be cases in which you should go to the vet in order to rule out serious diseases, or to receive a specific treatment.

If your case is one of the following, we recommend going to the vet:

  • Two weeks have passed and you haven't noticed any improvements in your dog's health.
  • There is blood in its mucus or nasal secretions.
  • Your dog doesn't eat or drink.
  • Your dog is old or a puppy. The defenses of these dogs aren't the same as those of a healthy adult dog.
  • You hear a wheezing, whistling sound in your dog's chest when breathing.
Colds in Dogs - Should you go to the vet if your dog has a cold?

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Colds in Dogs, we recommend you visit our Breathing diseases category.

Write a comment
Add an image
Click to attach a photo related to your comment
What did you think of this article?
1 of 5
Colds in Dogs