You may have heard somebody use the phrase “sick as a dog” to describe someone being unwell. This might prompt us to ask whether, like us humans, dogs can catch common colds.

The answer is yes. Dogs do get colds, and they have very similar symptoms to the common human cold. These usually include:

  • Sneezing
  • A blocked nose
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Decreased hunger
  • Decreased activity
  • Increased sleeping

Also, some dog breeds like English Bulldogs and Pugs are more susceptible to respiratory illness, which means they may have more severe symptoms than a dog of another breed.

How do I treat my dog’s cold?

If your dog has a simple, common cold it will usually go away within a few days on its own. To speed up their recovery and to reduce their suffering, here are a couple of tips:

  • Keep them hydrated
    Give them plenty of water and make sure they’re drinking it. Some owners even swear by chicken soup, due to its comforting taste and watery content.
  • Make sure that they rest
    Give them some time off from their usual activity schedule. Avoid long walks, heavy play or anything too stimulating. Instead, make sure your dog has a warm, insulated and comfortable place to get some quality shut eye.
  • Give them vitamins
    Many pet-owners swear by herbal remedies like Mullein Leaves, Eucalyptus, Elderberry and Vitamin C. It may be worth checking with a holistic vet to make sure the ingredients and quantities are safe for your dog.

When do I see a vet?

Unlike other sick family members, we can’t talk to our dogs and ask them how they’re feeling to judge how sick they are. That’s why it’s important to pay close attention to your dog and monitor any symptoms they have.

According to the Canine Journal, you should consult a vet if your dog is sick for more than three or four days and either gets worse or just doesn’t get better. Puppies and elderly dogs generally have weaker immune systems, meaning that they take longer to recover from illnesses. It’s likely that they’ll need some medicine to kick-start their recovery.

Also note that some serious health conditions start off minor, with just a few cold-like symptoms, but progress, worsening over time.

Stay alert and ensure that you seek medical attention immediately if you suspect your dog is suffering from any of the below:

Kennel Cough

A contagious cough, usually transmitted when multiple dogs live in close proximity and share living or sleeping space. It is characterised by a frequent, loud “honking” cough that can sound quite startling. If your dog starts coughing and has recently been in a kennel, you should see a vet. Your dog will need treatment in order to get better.


Coughing is one of the most advanced stages of worms – especially heart worms – according to Web MD. This is often combined with the onset of other symptoms, like runny stools, vomiting, bloating, changes in appetite and coat. If your dog has any of these symptoms, expert attention could be life-saving.

Fungal infections

Fungus can settle into dogs’ lungs, making them cough repeatedly, damaging and often scarring the lung tissue. If untreated, the infection can spread deeper into the lungs, causing to pneumonia.

Canine influenza starts off by attacking the respiratory system, which is why its onset seems just like a cold. Yet, over time, the infected dog will develop a fever, queasiness, and confusion and may not feel like eating. If untreated, this can lead to pneumonia and breathing troubles. It can even be fatal.



Can I catch my dog’s cold?

Most viruses are not contagious across species. There is no virus currently known that affects humans and dogs, meaning that it is highly unlikely you will catch a cold from your dog, or that your dog will be able to catch a cold from you.