Can Dogs Get Colds?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – can dogs get colds? My dog seems to be “sniffling” or have the sniffles and I was just wondering if dogs get colds. Can I get it?


R. J. – Dover MD


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote asking if dogs get colds.. A “cold” is contagious viral infection generally affecting the upper respiratory infection. Common signs are sneezing, nasal discharge, coughing, runny eyes, etc.

Dogs can get upper respiratory infections that are contagious and viral. They actually call the problem “Kennel Coughing”. It is very common in dogs that have been boarded, at the groomers, dog parks or other areas where there are lots of dogs.

Because the condition is generally caused by a virus – antibiotics generally don’t help and it just takes time for your dog to clear the infection. However, antibiotics are often prescribed to help prevent or treat secondary bacterial infections.

An article that might be helpful to you is Kennel Cough in Dogs (also called Infectious Tracheobronchitis).

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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