Chill dog: the low down on canine influenza


Winter is just around the bend and your furry little friend is just as susceptible to the weather as us humans. This means they are also at risk of developing a common cold or influenza just as we can when the weather starts to turn.

Therefore, it’s important to know the facts about canine influenza to ensure you’re prepared if your pooch catches it.

After all, you’ve already prepped them for winter, you’ve stocked up the yummiest food and you picked up a top policy from the best pet insurance compare site – it’s now time for a little influenza 101 and how to prevent it:

What is canine influenza?

Dog flu – commonly known as canine influenza – is a contagious respiratory disease. Typical doggos don’t have natural immunity or defences against the illness, so they are highly susceptible to catching it from other pooches.

There are different illnesses that cause it

There are two illnesses that cause canine influenza: the H3N2 and H3N8 viruses. The H3N8 variant is similar to that of the one that causes horse flu and it is believed that this illness jumped between the different species. This being said, it is now considered a canine-specific virus.

The H3N2 originally was found amongst birds though has also spread to dogs, but it is believed that cats are also susceptible to the variant.

How do they catch it?

Canine influenza spreads through respiratory droplets created when the infected dog sneezes or coughs. It can also be caught by contact with a contaminated surface.


There are a range of noticeable symptoms of the illness, including:

Runny nose
Greening or yellowish nose/eye discharge
Trouble breathing
Smaller appetite

It can be difficult to diagnose the illness as symptoms are similar to that of a common cold as well as more dangerous illnesses like heart disease or pneumonia. If you are concerned about your little pooch’s health then it is important to consult a vet who can run proper diagnostic tests for them.


There are different ways to treat the virus depending on its level of severity. If they only have a mild case, the doggo should have plenty of good, solid rest, as well as monitoring, increased fluid intake and a temporary change of diet.

In cases where coughing is more serious, your pup’s vet can prescribe cough suppressant medicine. Most dogs recover from the illness within two to three weeks, however some may require hospitalisation if their condition becomes serious, with some unfortunately not making it through the illness.

How to prevent the virus

The best thing you can do is prevent your furry little friend from coming into contact with infected pups, as well as having them vaccinated with both the H3N2 and H3N8 shots to prevent severe disease caused by flu virus. What’s more, you may like to disinfect any toys they play with to ensure there isn’t the risk of taking on any bad bacteria.

As pet owners, it’s always important to monitor your cheeky little friends to ensure there are no sudden changes in behaviour, comfort, appetite etc. In the winter months, this includes monitoring for some of those nasty symptoms we mentioned above (runny nose, coughing, loss of appetite etc.) Giving good health supplements like omega 3 for dogs Australia can  be really helpful in boosting the immunity of your dog.

By doing this, you will be able to keep on top of your pup’s health and ensure that they haven’t caught a sneaky little cold or a yucky flu!