Can Dogs Catch Colds?

It is possible for dogs to catch colds, but they don’t usually experience them in the same way as people do. In addition, dogs can’t catch colds from people and neither can humans be infected by canine colds.

Simply put a canine cold is usually associated with an upper respiratory infection which produces similar symptoms to those that people experience when we contract a nasty cold.

Symptoms in dogs can include;-

  • Congestion and discharge from the nasal passages.
  • Mild coughing.
  • Runny eyes.
  • Sneezing.
  • Low level fever.
  • Lethargy.
  • Lack of appetite.

Symptoms are not usually severe and most dogs will recover after a few days. It is important to keep you dog warm and dry. Cold weather conditions can make bronchial tubes constrict which will make the dog feel more congested.

If your dog has a loss of appetite you could try him with some boiled chicken and brown rice as this will help strengthen his immune system and generally make him feel more comfortable.  It is also essential the dog is kept hydrated with plenty of fluids and again, you could tempt him with chicken broth if he is reluctant to drink.

If your dog’s symptoms appear more sever, it is important to seek veterinary attention since cold symptoms could also be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Puppies and geriatric dogs are more at risk.

If your dog’s cold symptoms worsen it is possible to treat the dog with antibiotics, however these will be ineffective against possible viral conditions.

Some other more serious conditions affecting dogs can sometimes manifest themselves in the same way a cold would, so it is important to monitor your dog carefully. Some infections your dog will still be able to fight off himself, while others will develop into more serious illnesses without appropriate intervention.


Parainfluenza is one of the more common illnesses that have symptoms similar to the canine cold.

Adenovirus Type-2

This is one of the chief causes of kennel cough. Although most vaccines protect dogs from this virus it is doesn’t completely protect them from the many strains, but it should reduce the severity of the virus and most dogs should recover.

Kennel Cough – 

This is caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria and symptoms are similar to the common cold. Symptoms include a chronic cough, as well as discharge from the eyes and nose. Dogs usually recover from kennel cough unless they are already weak, or their immune system has been compromised. Although dogs can be vaccinated for kennel cough, the vaccine does not protect the dog from all strains of the disease.


This is a very contagious canine disease. Distemper can be very serious and the outcome is often fatal.


While dogs can indeed catch colds, they are usually mild and most dogs can cope with the symptoms well. However, it is always important to monitor your dog if he, or she, has cold symptoms. Seek advice from your vet if your dog deteriorates in any way. Never give your dog cold remedies which are meant for humans as these could be highly toxic to dogs.