Dog Flu Facts

It’s that time of the year again! The Center for Disease Control recommends people begin getting flu vaccinations in October. On the pet side, the H3N8 virus, or canine influenza, has been a growing concern.  H3N8 is the virus that causes flu in dogs, and while there are no known cases of a human catching the flu from their pet, it can be passed from dog to dog. Here are some important dog flu facts:


  • The H3N8 virus, more commonly referred to as the Dog Flu or canine influenza. The dog flu first emerged as a threat in 2004. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says canine influenza has now been detected in more than 30 states. In the most extreme cases, the Dog Flu can lead to the development of secondary bacterial pneumonia and can lead to death.


  • Canine influenza is extremely contagious and while humans are not affected by this flu strain, they can unknowingly pass it from an infected dog to an unaffected dog.
  • Dog flu can also be spread directly from dog to dog and via contaminated objects.
  • Dogs in kennels, boarding facilities, or animal shelters, at dog shows, or in close proximity to other dogs are at a higher risk of contracting canine influenza.


  • Fever
  • An unproductive dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy


  • Intravenous fluid and electrolyte replacement
  • Diuretic drugs that remove fluid from the lungs
  • Broad spectrum antibiotics
  • Cough suppressant to reduce tracheal inflammation that may lead to bacterial infection
  • Dog Flu vaccine. Consult with your veterinarian to see if vaccine is appropriate for your pet

Thank you to PurinaCare Insurance for providing us with this great dog flu fact sheet. We hope that you will find it helpful as we enter the flu season. Talk to your vet to see if your dog(s) should get the dog flu vaccine, and be sure to keep an eye on your pet to keep them healthy and happy!
About PurinaCare Insurance Services Inc.
PurinaCare Insurance Services Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, is dedicated to providing pet owners with a Lifetime of Care® for their dogs and cats.  PurinaCare® pet health insurance is offered to dog and cat owners in most states.  PurinaCare is committed to promoting responsible pet care, providing humane education, supporting community pet involvement, and fostering the positive bond between people and their pets.  PurinaCare pet health insurance is underwritten by Central States Indemnity Co. of Omaha, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. PurinaCare pet health insurance is also offered as a direct benefit to select employees and associations nationwide and its high-deductible policies have earned the AAHA Seal of Acceptance.  For more information about PurinaCare pet health insurance, call 877-8-PURINA or visit

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