Pets & Colds
Anyone can get sick at any time during the year, but wintertime is the primary time that colds are passed from person to person. What pet parents and National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) members should know is that pets as well as people can catch colds. There are differences between the viruses that infect people versus those that infect pets, but the symptoms are the same: sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes.
Viral upper respiratory disease is not communicable between species, so there is no need for pet caretakers to be concerned that they may be infected by their pets or vice versa.
It is important to be able to tell the difference between a pet with a common cold and a more serious health issue. Kennel cough is often found in kennels or boarding facilities and may be recognized by a honking sound. If a dog has been boarded recently, probability of this diagnosis is high. Other contagious cold-like illnesses that can be transmitted from infected pets include the influenza virus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, and tuberculosis. Pets are also susceptible to several types of parasite that may mimic a cold but spread to the lungs, heart and trachea
If a pet is coughing or sneezing, but otherwise in good health, the cold can be treated in the same way as a human cold, with plenty of liquids and healthy food.
A humidifier may be placed near the pet’s resting area. Upper respiratory conditions usually last only a few days, but all pets are different. The immune systems of young and senior pets are weaker than those of healthy mature animals, therefore infections are more easily acquired in these age groups.
It is always important to remember that any questions or concerns should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian, who is able to prescribe the necessary medications for a full recovery.