Colds in Pets: This is How Dogs and Cats Stay Healthy

Sneezing, coughing, runny nose: a cold expresses itself in dogs and cats in a similar way to us humans. How do you avoid your pet getting sick?

It seems like an unwritten law: As soon as the temperatures slowly drop, the rain increases, and the days get shorter, our noses turn into rows of red, dripping prongs again.

It is true that pets such as dogs and cats cannot become infected with the flu – but they too can catch flu-like infections. This can be triggered by viruses or bacteria.

In cats, for example, most colds are caused by the feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus. However, common colds in pets can also be caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria.

Typical Cold Symptoms in Pets

These signs indicate your pet has a cold:

  • Sneeze
  • Sniffing
  • Watery eyes
  • Nose runs
  • Mild fever
  • Cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Apathy

This is How You Treat a Cold in Dogs and Cats

Very important: you must not simply give your cat or dog drugs that are actually intended for humans. Even other alternative remedies for humans, such as those based on essential oils, are usually more likely to harm animals than to provide relief.

Other home remedies that we use to relieve our cold symptoms also help dogs and cats. Including:

  • Chicken Soup: Contains important nutrients that aid in recovery.
  • Humidifying the air in living spaces: This is pleasant for irritated mucous membranes.

You can also help your four-legged friend by carefully wiping away any stubborn crusts in their eyes or noses with a damp cloth. Also, make sure that your pet continues to eat and drink enough.

So that your protégé is particularly warm during the illness, you can put an additional blanket in the basket or at his favorite place. If possible, you should clean them daily to prevent your pet from being infected again. Also, make sure to heat enough so that your pet does not freeze.

The following applies to all of these measures: although they can alleviate the symptoms, they will not cure the disease. In the milder course of the disease, the symptoms usually subside after a few days. Just give your animal rest and time to get well again. In more severe cases, the vet will help.

Does My Pet Have to See a Vet If I Have a Cold?

As a dog or cat owner, you should keep a close eye on the health of your sick pet. If there is no improvement after a few days, you should definitely make an appointment with the vet – this will prevent the cold from worsening into full-blown pneumonia if in doubt.

Caution is also advised with old or young animals, as well as with dogs or cats with previous illnesses. This is because you can be more susceptible to the effects of a cold. In general, you should consult a veterinarian if the animal starts coughing, has breathing problems, has discharge from the eyes or nose, is particularly lethargic, or stops eating.

“These are all signs that more intensive care is necessary,” explains veterinarian Dr. Rachel Barrack opposite the magazine “PetMD”. “Colds are quickly underestimated, but I think it’s better to be on the safe side.” It is often easier to treat illnesses right at the start – and your vet can prescribe the right medication if in doubt.

How Can I Protect My Pet Against Illness?

So that your dog or cat does not get sick, you can basically apply similar tips with which you would also protect yourself: Make sure that your animal has no contact with sick conspecifics and provide it with a balanced diet and sufficient exercise.

Your dog should not lie on the ground for too long in cold, snow, or wet conditions. After a walk in the rain you should also dry it off thoroughly – this also applies to your outdoor cat, who may prefer to stay at home from certain temperatures.

The animals can also be vaccinated against some common colds such as cat flu, parainfluenza, or kennel cough.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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