A time every year comes during which the cold, sniffles, and the flu start taking over the schools and offices and it seems like almost everyone is carrying their tissues or napkin along with them. Such prevalence of colds in the winters can let the virus pass on to the dogs too.

Reading this might raise the question “do dogs get colds?”.

What Is A Cold?

Do Dogs Get Colds?

A generalized term “cold” means the virus that causes certain symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, congestion, coughing, and a scratchy throat. In the case of humans, the virus causing cold is usually the rhinovirus and some other culprits.

These viruses are specific to humans and do not pass over to the dogs or cats and similarly, the dog’s viruses cannot pass to the humans. Therefore, the term cold is used to describe a dog or cat illness and has similar symptoms to a human cold.

In the case of dogs, these viruses are the canine respiratory viruses including the canine adenovirus type 2, the canine parainfluenza virus, or the kennel cough. In the case of cats, the virus symptoms are similar to the human cold and are usually called herpesvirus or calicivirus.

Therefore, if you are pondering over the question “can dogs get colds?”, then the answer is yes but the viruses causing cold in humans and dogs/cats are very different.

What Are The Dog Cold Symptoms?

What Are The Dog Cold Symptoms?

Dogs and cats do catch a cold at times and their symptoms are similar to the general human cold symptoms. They may have a discharge from their noses and labored breathing because of congestion, wet sneezes, and lethargy napping. These symptoms last up to 5-10 days.

A runny nose is the most common symptom and even in the case of a healthy dog, a mild runny nose occasionally is not a cause for alarm but a chronic or severe nasal discharge may indicate health issues.

A mild runny nose is characterized by small amounts of watery discharge and can be a sign of nervousness too. In case of a severe one, the discharge is thicker and the color is other than that of clear water and may contain blood or pus. 

This is characterized by nasal discharge and may range from watery to thick and may contain blood or pus. The upper respiratory organs produce nasal discharge and it is important to remember that while sneezing the discharge might be different.

If you see these symptoms in the discharge of your dog, then these might be a cause of concern and should be looked into before it becomes chronic or serious.

What Are The Symptoms Of Cold In Dogs?

do dogs get colds
What Are The Symptoms Of Cold In Dogs?

The symptoms of runny nose in dogs are nasal discharge, swollen or puffy eyes, and a reduction in nasal respiration. Trouble in breathing is also observed and the secretion on the fur of the dog’s face or the arms.

The dental health of the dog is also reduced and bad breath is observed. There are different types of cold which are mild, or periodic, infrequent runny nose. There are severe or chronic runny nose and the causes of it are-

  • Allergies are caused by the reaction of the dog’s immune system.
  • The foreign objects are caused in the nasal passages.
  • The bacterial or the fungal infections of the dog’s sinuses and the nasal mites which is a parasitic infection of the dog’s sinuses.
  • Dental diseases like abscessed teeth, periodontitis, and gingivitis are some kinds of bacterial infections caused in the nasal passages.
  • Nasal cancer or nasal adenocarcinoma.

What To Do If The Dog Keeps Sniffling?

What To Do If The Dog Keeps Sniffling?

Everybody gets sniffles at some point in their lives and even the dogs can catch a cold. The problem with that is that we do not always know if it is a cold or something worse than that.

If you think that your dog might have a cold then it is better to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian and he will perform a physical exam and suggest some diagnostic changes to find the cause of the symptoms and the best possible treatment will also be mentioned.

The minor colds usually resolve by themselves and a more serious infection may require antibiotics, suppressants, and fluids. The sick dogs may be contagious to other dogs and you should keep the other dogs from interacting to stop the spreading of the disease.

Can Dogs Catch A Cold From A Human?

do dogs get colds
Can Dogs Catch A Cold From A Human?

When it comes to the viruses which cause cold, then the answer is no for the spreading of the virus. Cold viruses affect humans and are species-specific and do not affect dogs or other pets.

Some reports have shown that humans and dogs can share some infections caused by the influenza viruses and one should always wash their hands properly when your dog is sick. Keep reading to know on ‘do dogs get colds’.

Can I Catch A Disease From My Dog?

Can I Catch A Disease From My Dog?

Many diseases can spread from animals to humans but this does not likely happen with the dog and these can be prevented by handwashing frequently and visiting the vet regularly. Some of the common diseases which might spread into humans from their pets are-

  1. SALMONELLA is a poisoning that occurs as a result of contaminated food and the dogs and other pers can spread it to the humans through their feces. The signs of salmonella poisoning include stomach pain and fever.
  2. RABIES spreads through the saliva of the infected animals and is fatal. Rabies can be spread from pets like the dog or cat and even from a wild animal and early signs of fever or headache can cause confusion, sleeplessness, or agitation.

If your dog keeps on sneezing and snorting then it becomes obvious that these define that it is an involuntary outflow of air from the lungs through the nose and mouth and is usually caused as a response to some irritant present in the upper airway of the pet.

Snorting might look similar to sneezing but is involuntary and a voluntary effort is on the part of the snorter. Dogs might sneeze for all sorts of reasons and they are related to the working of the upper respiratory tract.

Dog sneezing and runny nose is caused by a variety of reasons and the most common causes of these infections are mentioned below-

  1.  Both the cats and dogs can suffer from infectious diseases that manifest at least in the part of sneezing. Any infectious disease that affects the upper respiratory tract can cause the animal to sneeze. Anything from the kennel cough to the distemper virus can cause these infections and are the most common culprits.
  2.  Anything from cancer to polyps to the foreign bodies causes the excess tissue in the upper airways can cause the irritation of the nasal passages and therefore sneezing.
  3. Allergic rhinitis is not as common in pets as it is in humans but both dogs and cats are susceptible to allergies which might affect the nasal passages as well as nasal inflammation for a variety of the other immune system-related processes.
  4. Snorting van is caused because of obesity and excess weight and they tend to display similar symptoms from the animals who suffer from upper airway obstruction or irritation.
  5. While both sneezing and snorting are expulsions of air, reverse sneezing is an involuntary action and only some dogs experience this problem. These episodes may last from a few minutes at a time and it is not uncommon for a dog to do this after they have been out for a walk.

What To Do If Puppies Cold Symptoms Are Seen?

do dogs get colds
What To Do If Puppies Cold Symptoms Are Seen?

All the pets who suffer from sneezing and snirting at a frequent rate follow a different pattern than before and it is better to consult a veterinarian and some tips for the pet owners are mentioned below.

  1. Confine your pet and put it in a crate or a small space to observe his behavior.
  2. Long walks and long durations of exercise should be avoided until the pet is taken to the veterinarian.
  3. If your pet has a temperature over 101-102 degrees then get him to a vet as soon as possible.

Do Dogs Get Colds: Summed Up

If your pet suffers from other symptoms mentioned above like difficulty in breathing, poor appetite or pain, or simply does not act like themselves then take him right away to the veterinarian or to an emergency hospital.

If a nasal discharge is observed and is present or if it is being productive meaning mucus, blood, or some other material is produced then your pet should be taken to the doctor. These are the signs that your dog may need an urgent consultation with the doctor and the tips mentioned can be used to resolve.

There are many other things that a vet may help while the dog is being checked and they may provide some routine or medicines which will help and resolve the infection in the pet.


She's a New England native who enjoys traveling, reading, yoga, and of course, a content creator. When she's not writing about awesome pet facts, you can find her exploring NYC restaurants and art museums, and playing with her furry companion.

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