Top dog flu symptoms – What to do

5 Oct, 2023

Top dog flu symptoms – What to do

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If you are a dog owner and your dog is acting as if they are under the weather, you need to assess their symptoms. Look out for these dog flu symptoms listed below and if you suspect your dog has influenza then you need to get a real vet’s diagnosis to protect your pet. Read on to learn how best to assess your dog’s state of health and the likelihood that they have dog flu.

Dealing with Dog Flu Symptoms: Recognising Influenza and Treatment

Black labrador suffering with dog flu symptoms
If you suspect your dog is suffering with flu symptoms get a vet’s diagnosis

In recent years, pet owners have had a growing concern about the spread of dog flu, also known as canine influenza. Understanding this highly contagious respiratory infection is crucial for every dog owner to ensure the well-being of their furry friends. 

By recognising the symptoms of dog flu and taking appropriate measures for treatment and prevention, we can protect our beloved pets from this potential threat to their health.

What is Dog Flu?

Dog flu has many symptoms that can vary from mild to severe. While most dogs recover with proper care and treatment, some may develop complications, so it is important to stay vigilant.

When a dog becomes infected with the Influenza A virus, it may experience symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. These symptoms can be similar to those experienced by humans when they have the flu. 

However, unlike humans, dogs cannot communicate their discomfort verbally, so dog owners must be observant and seek veterinary care if they suspect their dog has contracted the flu.

How is Dog Flu Transmitted?

The Influenza A virus spreads through respiratory secretions, such as coughing, sneezing, barking, and direct contact with contaminated objects or surfaces. Dogs that come into close contact with infected dogs may potentially have a higher risk of contracting the virus. Understanding how dog flu spreads can help us take necessary precautions to prevent its transmission.

Like humans, dogs can spread the flu through respiratory secretions; tiny droplets are released into the air when an infected dog coughs, sneezes, or barks. Other dogs, leading to infection, can inhale these droplets. Additionally, the virus can survive on surfaces briefly, so dogs can contract the flu by contacting contaminated objects or surfaces.

Dog owners need to be aware of the high risk of transmission in places where dogs gather, such as kennels, grooming salons, and dog parks. In these environments, dogs are more likely to come into close contact with each other, increasing the chances of spreading the virus. 

Recognising the Symptoms of Dog Flu

Identifying the signs of dog flu is crucial for prompt intervention and treatment. Keep an eye out for physical and behavioural changes in your furry friend, as they could indicate canine influenza.

Physical Signs of Canine Influenza

Dogs affected by flu may exhibit symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge. They may also experience persistent fever, lack of appetite, and general lethargy. These physical signs are typically the first indicators of potential infection and should not be ignored.

Behavioural Changes in Your Dog

In addition to physical symptoms, your dog’s behaviour may change if they are affected by dog flu. They may appear depressed, disinterested in activities they normally enjoy, or have difficulty breathing. Keep an eye out for any unusual changes in behaviour, and consult your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms.

Recognising dog flu symptoms as resident dog sitter and house sitter

If as the resident house sitter pet sitter the dog in your care is exhibiting unusual behaviour and unusual coughing and sneezing and a nasal discharge alert the owner. Ask if you can take the dog to the Vet’s for an assessment and diagnosis. The Vet will explain how to treat dog flu symptoms. Then follow through with the treatment the Vet advises, all with the pet owner’s permission.

Early Detection

small dog being treated at a vet's surgery
Your Vet can help to treat any dog flu symptoms

Early detection is key when it comes to managing dog flu effectively. Regular vet check-ups and home monitoring are crucial in identifying the early signs of canine influenza.

The Role of Regular Vet Check-ups

Regular visits to your veterinarian can help catch any potential health issues before they worsen. During these check-ups, your vet can assess your dog’s overall health and discuss any concerns you may have. They can also administer a flu vaccine, which we will discuss in more detail under the section “Preventing Dog Flu.”

Home Monitoring for Dog Flu Symptoms

While vet check-ups are essential, monitoring your dog’s health at home is equally important. Watch for any changes in behaviour or physical symptoms mentioned earlier. Notify your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog may have contracted dog flu, as early intervention can make a significant difference in their recovery.

Treatment Options for Dog Flu Symptoms

If your dog is exhibiting dog flu symptoms then move quickly to get a real vet’s diagnosis. Various treatment options are available to alleviate its symptoms and aid in its recovery.

Veterinary Treatments for Canine Influenza and Managing Dog Flu Symptoms

Your veterinarian may prescribe antiviral medications to help manage dog flu symptoms. These medications can help reduce the severity of the infection and ease your dog’s discomfort. In severe cases, hospitalisation may be necessary for more intensive care.

Home Care for Dogs with Flu

Providing your dog with a comfortable environment is crucial during its recovery. Ensure they have plenty of fresh water and nutritious food, and keep them isolated from other dogs to prevent further transmission. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions for additional home care measures to help manage your dog flu symptoms and to handle your dog’s specific needs.

Preventing Dog Flu

Prevention is always better than cure, and this is no different when it comes to managing dog flu symptoms and preventing your dog from suffering with influenza. Taking the necessary precautions can significantly reduce your furry friend’s risk of contracting this viral infection.

Vaccination Against Canine Influenza

Vaccination is highly recommended as a preventive measure against dog flu. Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate vaccine for your dog. 

Hygiene Practices to Prevent Dog Flu

Good hygiene is essential in keeping your dog healthy and free from contagious viruses. Regularly clean their food and water bowls, toys, and bedding. Avoid contact between your dog and unfamiliar or sick dogs, especially during outbreaks. By maintaining good hygiene practices, you can protect your dog from potential infections.

How to deal with dog flu symptoms in summary

Awareness of dog flu symptoms and the importance of early detection and prevention is essential for every responsible dog owner. Recognising the signs, seeking timely veterinary care, and implementing preventive measures can create a safe and healthy environment for our beloved four-legged companions.

Looking for trusted pet sitters

How to find dogsitters

You might prefer to research the ways to find the right solution for you. Perhaps you have even Googled ‘How to find a dog sitter near me?

Maybe you have found kennels that are local to you. Or perhaps your search engine has returned a list of various options including dog sitting websites, or house sitting websites.

What makes an ideal dogsitter?

A good dogsitter is one who will care for your pets while you are away. More than likely they will be a live in dogsitter. They will be a dogsitter that will come to your house, and will stay for as long as you need them by agreement. And when the dogsitter is caring for your pets they know what a dog needs before the dogs knows it.

local dogsitters
A great dogsitter will anticipate what your dog needs

Further reading about dogsitting with Housesitmatch

At we always try to share useful and informative blogs and practical advice with our members. Read on to find some helpful articles with useful tips for dog owners and dog sitters about dogsitting.

What is dogsitting with Housesitmatch

Dogsitting in Cornwall – Joys and responsibilities

Dog sitters’ tips – Dog’s body language and how to read it

The Affordable Alternative to Dog Kennels

What is House Sitting?


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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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