Pet Wellness Guides > Do Dogs Get The Flu? - Pet Insurance Review

Do Dogs Get The Flu?

Posted: 04/17/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Pet care

Your dog has been sleeping a bit more and seems under the weather. And is his forehead a little warm? Is he sick? Do dogs get the flu and if so, what can you do to help your pup feel better?

The answer is yes, dogs can get canine influenza, called dog flu for short. But don’t worry, you can’t catch the flu from your pup. 

Keep reading to learn how you can help your pup get back to his old self.

Can Dogs Transmit Dog Flu to Other Dogs?

Yes, dog flu is highly contagious and can easily spread from one dog to the next. Boarding kennels, day care centers and shelters are notorious for the spread of dog influenza. Your dog can even catch and transmit the flu at a busy dog park.

The virus can spread through the air, as when dogs bark near one another or sneeze in close proximity. It can also be passed through shared contaminated objects like toys and food bowls. 

Unfortunately, dogs are the most contagious during the first several days after they have been infected, during a window of time when they do not show any symptoms. And this is why the flu is so easily spread to other dogs. 

Signs Your Dog Has the Flu

Your dog will show signs that are very similar to how you and I behave when we have the human flu. The signs can include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny Nose
  • Fever
  • Eye Discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of Appetite

Should your dog show any of these signs, it’s important that you bring him in to be checked out by your vet. Symptoms of dog flu can also mimic other health issues like kennel cough and respiratory illnesses. So it’s best not to assume anything and have your vet make an accurate diagnosis.

Your vet will perform a complete physical exam to look for signs of the flu and also ask you some questions regarding your pup’s recent eating habits, behavior, and whether they have been around other possibly-infected dogs.

If your dog has been sick for a few days without any signs they are on the mend, your vet may want to perform a culture swab to determine what exact virus you’re dealing with. There is also a blood test that can check for fly antibodies. 

Treatment Options for Dog Flu

Because dog flu is a virus, it doesn’t respond to antibiotics. The usual treatment is to focus on relieving symptoms and preventing complications while the virus runs its course. Vets often prescribe medications to reduce fever and alleviate coughing or congestion. 

Antibiotics may be prescribed if your vet sees signs of a secondary bacterial infection in the lungs. The antibiotics will stop the chance of pneumonia taking hold.

Those dogs who are very sick may need advanced care, such as IV fluid therapy and hospitalization. 

Caring for a Dog with the Flu

Like the people flu, the dog flu will typically run its course in 5-7 days. During this time, there are things you can do to help your sick fur baby be more comfortable:

Keep Them Isolated

If you have more than one dog, keep your sick pup in a separated room until they are all better to reduce the chances of your other pup getting ill. And always wash your hands after spending time with them to stop the spread of the virus to your other pups.

This doesn’t always stop the spread as, again, dogs are most contagious before they show any signs. But better to be safe than sorry.

Keep Them Hydrated

Encourage your pup to drink lots of water so they do not become dehydrated. If they are acting finicky, offer some low sodium or homemade chicken broth.

Make Them Feel Cozy

Think about when you’re sick. You have the chills and aches and you just want to lie in bed. Make sure to make your pup feel warm and comfy. If they don’t have one, get them a comfortable dog bed. If they are a short-haired breed and your house is cold, cover them with a blanket.

Pet Insurance to Help You Both Feel Better

While you can’t really prevent your dog from ever catching the flu, you can be reimbursed for the costs of covered vet care for things like diagnostic tests, hospitalizations, and prescription medications. Knowing you can be reimbursed for up to 90% of the vet bill gives you peace of mind and allows you to focus on helping your fur baby get better.

If you’d like to know who are the best pet insurance providers in the country, the following is a list with rankings based on over 150,000 authentic testimonies from real pet parents like you.

Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

RatingProviderTotal Review
4.9Healthy Paws7,477
4.8Prudent Pet125
4.5Pets Best7,196
4.3Pet Assure12


  3. Voorhees IEH, Glaser AL, Toohey-Kurth K, Newbury S, Dalziel BD, Dubovi EJ, Poulsen K, Leutenegger C, Willgert KJE, Brisbane-Cohen L, Richardson-Lopez J, Holmes EC, Parrish CR. Spread of Canine Influenza A(H3N2) Virus, United States. Emerg Infect Dis. 2017 Dec;23(12):1950-1957. doi: 10.3201/eid2312.170246. Epub 2017 Dec 17. PMID: 28858604; PMCID: PMC5708240.



The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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