Oh, the human cold. It’s the most common illness among humans, and it’s always miserable. From a stuffed up nose to body aches to a sore throat, the cold provides a plethora of misery no matter how healthy you are. You’re all too aware that the cold is extremely contagious (especially if one of your kids gets it!), but is it contagious to your dog as well?
Do Dogs Get Colds from Humans?
Luckily, a cold is one of the viruses that is impossible to transmit to your dog. If it was transmissible, can you imagine how many dogs would be suffering alongside their owners every winter? The human cold has evolved and adapted to survive only in a human body. It isn’t able to replicate and thrive in any other environment, including your dog’s body.
Is There a Canine Cold Equivalent?
Dogs don’t catch colds like humans do, but they can certainly get respiratory tract infections and bacterial illnesses like kennel cough. If your dog has an upper respiratory infection or kennel cough, they typically present with things like nasal discharge, a dry cough that gets worse at night, lethargy, a low-grade fever, or a loss of appetite.
If your dog gets an upper respiratory infection, your vet will listen to their lungs and if they sound bad, an x-ray might be requested. If their lungs sound fine, your vet prescribes an antibiotic and an antitussive (anti-cough) medication to keep them comfortable and help battle the infection.
How Do Dogs Get Colds?
Most respiratory illnesses are considered “social” diseases, meaning they catch them in places like dog parks, animal shelters, and boarding kennels. Kennel cough (bordetella) has a vaccination, but it doesn’t prevent the illness 100 percent; it simply makes the infection less severe if it does occur.
It’s very, very rare that your dog catches a common illness from you, but a common cold is impossible for your dog to get even if they’re immunocompromised. The next time you get a cold, don’t be afraid to snuggle your pup and share some close quarters with them. They’ll appreciate giving you comfort as much as you like receiving it.