What To Do When Your Dog or Cat Has The Flu?

What To Do When Your Dog or Cat Has The Flu?

What To Do When Your Dog or Cat Has The Flu?

Gosh, when your pet sneezes, it is one of the most adorable things in the world. However, just like humans, it is a sign that something is not altogether right with your beloved pet!

As anyone who has ever owned a pet knows, our furry friends are susceptible to many of the same illnesses that afflict humans. And while it's relatively rare for dogs and cats to catch the flu from their owners, they can contract many viruses from other animals.

Try as we might, we cannot protect and shelter them all the time, so when they go for a walk or a romp in the park, there are many other canine buddies to catch a doggy cold from. And if your cat is a roaming one, the feline flu bug likely came from another one of its pals living in the neighborhood.

While there is no cure for the flu, early diagnosis and treatment can help to alleviate symptoms and prevent serious complications. So if you think your pet may be sick, don't hesitate to give your vet a call just to be safe.

Symptoms Of Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, aka “Cat Flu”

Just like humans get the flu, so do cats, hence, “cat flu”! Though best to contact your vet if your cat seems down or sick, some common symptoms of cat flu to look out for are:

  1. Sneezing
  2. Fever
  3. Loss of voice
  4. Runny eyes and nose
  5. Dribbling

In most cases, treatment isn’t necessary unless symptoms are severe. In that case, antibiotics may be provided. In addition, it IS possible to vaccinate your cat against the flu and administer booster shots to keep the sniffles away, but just like humans, the flu is something that your cat should be well-equipped to handle.

To prevent eye ulcers from forming, eye drops or lubricants may be prescribed, and steam can help break up the discharge or mucus from your kitty’s eyes and nose. You can always have a hot shower in your bathroom and keep your kitty in the room for the steam to work its magic.

It is best to isolate your cat until they are in the clear and no longer have symptoms of the flu and are no longer carriers of the pathogen. If you have other animals, separate your sick cat's food and water bowls from other cats and wash your hands before touching other cats to avoid cross-contamination.

Symptoms Of Canine Influenza, aka “Dog Flu”

Caused by a specific type A influenza virus, canine influenza can affect any dog. No dog is immune to these viruses unless they have been specifically vaccinated.

Symptoms of canine influenza include:

  1. Labored breathing
  2. Fever
  3. Green discharge from eyes and nose
  4. Coughing
  5. Sneezing
  6. Tiredness
  7. Decreased appetite

Your vet can conduct tests and diagnose dog flu, and anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medication can be prescribed. Most cases of dog flu have mild symptoms which will subside as your dog’s natural immune system defends against the foreign invaders.

If there isn't the need to admit your dog to the hospital, here are some precautionary measures you can take at home and some treatment methods you can use in the comfort of your own home.

  • Make sure your dog is well hydrated. Hydration helps speed up the recovery process.
  • Feed your dog or cat some supplements to boost their immune system to help better fight the virus.
  • Using a warm washcloth, consistently clean your dog's face of any discharge coming from its eyes or nose.
  • Feed them warm soft foods. Warming the food enhances the smell and can stimulate your dog’s appetite if he or she is looking particularly lethargic and lackluster.
  • It is best to isolate your dog as the flu can spread from one dog to another or one animal through another through coughing, sneezing, and barking.
  • Wash your hands every time you are going to touch another dog to prevent the flu from spreading.
  • Separate your dog's water and food bowls from other dogs so that the chance of the bacteria spreading is minimized.

What To Do If My Dog or Cat Is Sick?

We love our pets dearly and it pains us to see them sick. However, some sickness is natural in all living things, and our bodies need to learn how to fight off viruses for our immune systems to grow stronger.

So don’t panic! Make your pet as comfy as possible by doing a few things.

  • Wipe the discharge and gunk from their eyes and nose which will help them breathe better and smell their food.
  • Keep them well hydrated by encouraging them to drink or spiking their water with some naturally flavored broth or fruit juice.
  • Stay with them as much as you can. Everyone knows it isn’t much fun being sick, and your presence will be a great comfort to your pet who might be feeling a tad miserable.
  • Try to coax them to eat some very light food like lean chicken, tuna, boiled rice, and broth.
  • Keep your pet as comfortable as possible and nurse them back to health. Not only is it valuable bonding time, but when your pet is ill is when they need your reassurance that everything will be okay.
  • If you have multiple pets in the same household, isolate your sick pet and sterilize all their water bowls and dishes to prevent the bug from spreading to your healthy pets.
  • If your pet is showing severe symptoms like extreme weakness or a high fever, that’s when you may consider taking your pet to the vet.

 How Long Does Cat and Dog Flu Last?

The symptoms of cat flu and dog flu may disappear after a week or two if their condition isn't severe but they may still act as carriers. The signs of the flu begin to show around five to seven days after being infected with the virus.

Even when your pet has been treated and the symptoms abate, they can still be carriers of the virus, so continue to exercise caution and keep them isolated from your other pets. In addition, consider feeding them some supplements like fish oil or immune system support to help them fight the invading bacteria.

The runny nose and discharge from the eyes may take some time to heal but your cat or dog will most probably get their energy and appetite back within the first two weeks of being exposed to the virus.

Final Thoughts

Being sick is no fun, anyone can attest to that! But it is natural and part of life, so keep your pet comfortable and be there for them, and they should come out of a bout of flu stronger and ready to take on the world again soon.


Leave a comment

* Required fields

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.

Slider with alias cube-animation1 not found.