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Why?

Techly Explains: Can a dog catch a human cold or flu?

Can our beloved and furry companions contract from us our most common and uncomfortable of illnesses? The short answer: No. Well wait, actually, yes.

First off, let’s differentiate a Cold from the Flu. Although they share similar symptoms they’re actually two different maladies. A Cold is a minor respiratory illness that can haunt our lives just for a few days, while Flu can put you in bed for weeks. The former is caused by several hundred viruses, while Flue is the work of the nasty family of the Influenza virus.

Cold symptoms usually start with a sore throat, a runny nose and a mild cough. Although fever can appear in some cases, -more so in children and senior adults- it’s fairly uncommon.

Flu on the other hand, shares symptoms of Cold such as sore throats, cough and a runny nose, but these are accompanied by more severe indications such as fever, headaches, and muscle aches. Vomiting and Diarrhea can also come along as uncomfortable bonus tracks. It’s worth mentioning that Flu can also evolve into a much more dramatic scenario like pneumonia.

The different viruses that cause both cold and flu in humans cannot survive in a dog. It’s also known that the viruses which provoke the canine counterparts of these diseases – and have almost identical symptoms- cannot live in a human system.

The thing is, Influenza virus can survive on your skin for two minutes, and even for a whole day on your clothes. If you pet an infected dog, or if it sneezes or coughs on you, it is possible that you can carry the disease to other animals. And it goes both ways. A dog with human influenza virus in its fur can infect any person who makes contact with it.

This is why it’s recommended to be extra careful with hygiene when both you and your adorable four legged friend start showing the symptoms. Constantly washing our hands and keeping the pet’s bowl, bed and resting spaces clean is an effective way to avoid the illness from spreading.

Light sneezing and coughing can be treated just like a human cold, with plenty of hydration, rest, warmth and even some good old boneless chicken soup. You know your pet more than anybody, so if you feel the charming Nerf Herder is feeling unusually downbeat, lacking appetite, and displaying a lot of discharge from the nose and/or eyes, it might be the time to take the dog to the vet. Just as with us puny humans, a poorly treated Flue can turn into a myriad of serious, life threatening complications.

So, how do you prevent this nightmare from happening? First off, you can keep your dog indoors during cold, wet weather, because overexposure to low temperatures create the ideal situation for the virus to infect a body. Provide your dog with plenty of exercise, fresh water and super healthy foods so its immune system is strong enough and capable of handling whatever bug comes its way.

In the case of Flue, there is a vaccine. According to Barry N. Kellogg, senior veterinary advisor to the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association “The vaccine doesn’t necessarily prevent the flu,” but he does say vaccination will make the disease less severe.

So there you have it. Techly has come to the rescue once again.

About the author

Filmmaker. 3D artist. Procrastination guru. I spend most of my time doing VFX work for my upcoming film Servicios Públicos, a sci-fi dystopia about robots, overpopulated cities and tyrant states. @iampineros

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