What To Do If Your Dog Gets A Cold

What do do if your dog catches a cold.While the cold virus is not the same in dogs as it is in humans, meaning we won’t pass the cold to each other, the same miserable symptoms effect our dogs. Sneezing, runny nose, headache, even fever, can all happen when our dogs have a cold.

But how do we determine if our dog has a cold? How do we make sure it isn’t something more serious, like kennel cough?

If your dog has a dry cough that makes a honking sound, and if they have recently been boarded it is likely to be kennel cough, which will need to be treated by a veterinarian. As always, if your pet is not feeling well, consult your veterinarian for the best care.

Here are some tips to help your dog feel better if they have a cold.

Preventative Medicine

Nobody wants to see their furry friend sick, so doing what we can to keep them healthy is the first step. Remember, just like in humans, a healthy immune system is the best line of defense your dog can have. This means feeding them a high quality diet, making sure they get fresh water, and keeping them clean. I know that last one sounds strange, but since our dogs live most of their lives low to the ground, they are actually more in contact with germs that can make them ill than you might think.

Spotting The Problem

Common symptoms of cold that you can observe from your dog: running nose, wheezing, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, and discharge from the nose that is yellowish green in color. Lethargy and not acting like themselves is another key. Another thing to take note of is that it might look like a cold to you, but there are times when it is not and could be something more serious such as kennel cough, pneumonia, canine para-influenza, and canine distemper among others. Again, always check with your vet if you are concerned about your dog’s health.

Giving Them Some TLC

Just like when we are sick with a cold, there are a few comforting things we can do for our pets.

Chicken broth, or soup (just make sure there are no bones) can be helpful for your dog. The best is if it is homemade to avoid high sodium content in store bought versions.

Keep your dog warm. Use a blanket to make them warmer, raise the temperature in your home if it’s winter, make sure they come in quickly when they have been out in the cold. You can even use an electric throw blanketto keep both of you snuggled up and warm!

Humidity can help too. Use a humidifier, I especially like this one because it is warm air instead of cool. You can also bring them in the bathroom with you while you take a shower or bath. Just like in humans, humidity helps open the airways.

Make sure they get plenty of fluids. Sometimes when dogs don’t feel well they avoid drinking, one of the very things that can help them feel better! Keep an eye on them and encourage fluids if needed.

If you live in a multi-dog household, try to keep your sick dog away from the others. Just because our dogs can’t pass their cold virus to humans doesn’t mean they won’t be sharing it with other dogs. And as always, if symptoms get worse or don’t change after a few days it is time to head to the vet.


  1. Kathleen Rogers says:

    Thank you for your service. Miss Daisy is 6 years old Havenese and has never had a cold, but within the past 24 hours I noticed she had a bit of a cough, and was sneezing, now I see clear fluid coming from her nose. Wasn’t sure if a dog ever got a cold, but now I know! We’ll just keep an eye on her, she is also our Fur-Child!!!

  2. cheryl brace says:

    my dog has already been on three different anti-bia. and he still is sick my vet now has him on children’s colf med. hope this works.

  3. Debbie says:

    Mine dog like to stay under the blacket with me all the time that ok she 5andhalf poundes thank you she drinking loves of water that ok

  4. Pam says:

    Thank you for the info- will keep a close eye on our 3 month old Malamute puppy. Good thing Santa brought him a fluffy bed for Christmas. [even if he prefers the cool floor]I guess he will get some broth for Christmas too!

  5. Melis says:

    This sets my mind at ease. My 4 month old puppy has been sneezing a lot since the weather change and his appetite has been fluctuating. I hope it truly is just a seasonal cold.

    • Aimee says:

      If it persists or your puppy has vomiting or loose stools be sure to take him to the vet. Puppies are more susceptible to things than adult dogs, it never hurts to be sure. 🙂

  6. Terri says:

    Thanks for this info. It was very helpful and put my mind to rest. Now, I know I don’t have to take her to the vet just yet.

  7. connie says:

    Thanks for the article, I brought my GSD home from boarding while on vacation and she had a hard, dry cough and goobers in her eyes, plus her nose was not cool and wet. She hasn’t coughed now in several days, has had no loss of energy or appetite. But I am watching her. She’s my baby!

  8. Adam says:

    Good article. I think people forget that your dog is susceptible to many of the same things as we are.

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