It's Cold and Flu Season
My kids are coughing, my dog is coughing, I'm coughing…
Welcome to cold and flu season.
Puppies, just like young children are especially susceptible to colds this time of year. When a dog gets a cold, it's called "Kennel Cough." It is similar to the same cold kids get all the time.
They can get sick when the weather changes or they are put under stress. The biggest stresses are change of weather, change of environment and traveling. Also, exposure to the virus in the air. Even when taking your healthy puppy to the Veterinarian or pet store, they are exposed to viruses on environmental surfaces and in the air.
I have found even on a nice day in the winter, some of my puppies break with coughing and runny nose after playing outside for the first time. Some puppies get colds never having gone outside, apparently for no reason. But it's really not 'no reason.' The culprit is air born viruses. Doggy day care, friends with dogs, etc. People coming into your or my home may carry in viruses on their hands or clothes. Dogs can also catch colds from other dogs, and people. Especially from children.
When kids are sick, with the coughing and sneezing around your puppy/dog the virus can mutate into Kennel Cough. Don't panic, the Kennel Cough virus from dogs does not mutate the other way and make children sick.
You cannot catch Kennel Cough from a dog.
It is interesting to note not every puppy will catch a cold under the same circumstances. Just as in people, they have different immune systems and some may be more susceptible than others. Most puppies from good breeders are vaccinated against Bordetella (ie Kennel Cough). But as we know, getting a flu shot doesn't guarantee you won't get the flu.
Summation: A Cold, in dogs, is called "Kennel Cough" and is carried by airborne viruses. There is really no way to completely protect against it.
If your dog or puppy gets a cold the vet may give you drops (an antibiotic) but, as you know, antibiotics don't cure a cold. It has to run its course. The antibiotic is to prevent the cold from developing into something worse.
Symptoms are coughing, runny nose, lack of appetite and general malaise. He may sleep a lot, cough after drinking water and coughing at night while trying to sleep.
Treating Kennel Cough is the same in a puppy/dog as in a child. Keep the puppy inside the house, avoid drafts, keep his room at a constant temperature. Carrying him around is
NOT beneficial to curing a cold. Keep exercise and excitement to a minimum, don't let him get over tired. Keep him in his crate! Feed 3 times a day. As long as the puppy is eating, he will get over the cold in 5 to 7 days. The cough, unfortunately, may linger for 2 weeks.
If he doesn't want to eat offer anything he likes. Try soaked dry food with some canned mixed in. If he doesn't eat enough, try baby food beef or chicken mixed with soaked dry food. Cooked chicken, cut up in small pieces, is always a favorite. Keep fresh water available at all times. Sometimes they will drink chicken broth, it's good for them. No you will not spoil him. When his cold is gone he will go back to eating dog food.
If he still isn't eating enough, buy Nutri Cal from the vet or pet store. Put a glob or 2 of Nutri-Cal in his mouth, wait 15 minutes, offer food again.