Here’s what you need to do to protect them

Winter brings the cold and flu season. Coughs and sneezes are common. It’s not just humans that can be affected by seasonal illnesses. Our pets are also susceptible.

Pets don’t have the same arsenal of remedies as us. What can we do to help our four-legged friends if they fall ill, and how can you prevent them from getting sick in the future?

Cold and flu

The same is true for our pets. Just as we are more likely to spread respiratory diseases indoors when we are with others, so too can our dogs. Dogs often contract infectious diseases after they have been in kennels or training classes indoors or during competitions where they were in close proximity to other dogs. Airborne particles can spread infections, as well as sharing water and contaminated surfaces.

In some cases, we may unknowingly transmit infections to our pet animals, particularly if we’ve previously touched or stroked an animal that is infected. Even after several hours, some disease-causing bacteria can remain on clothing and shoes. Washing hands, changing clothes, and maintaining good hygiene are easy but effective ways to limit the spread of infections. This is especially true if you regularly come into contact with animals.

Sometimes, diseases are passed from one species to another, such as animal to human. They are zoonotic and range from mild illnesses to deadly ones, like rabies. In these cases, it is necessary to take more drastic measures in order to contain the virus.

The cold virus is only specific to humans. However, there are dog and cat versions that can cause similar symptoms in our feline friends. Although the viruses that cause colds only affect humans, there are versions of these viruses that can also infect dogs and cats. These versions may cause symptoms similar to those of our feline and canine friends. It’s good to know that our pets can’t share their cold.

Flu is also a species-specific virus, but the influenza virus can mutate and “jump” over the species barrier. This does not mean that flu can be transmitted between humans and animals, but it is possible. It is important to maintain good hygiene during an outbreak and avoid close contact.

Cold symptoms

When your cat or dog gets a cold, it will have symptoms that are similar to ours: sneezing and runny eyes, coughing or fever, fatigue, or even a reduced appetite.

It’s important to consult your veterinarian if you suspect your pet may be sick. This will ensure that you receive the right diagnosis. You may need to give your pet specific medication (such as antibiotics). Do not treat your pet using human medication. Even over-the-counter medicines that we find safe can be toxic to our pets. Ibuprofen is harmful to dogs.

Make sure that your pet has a quiet, warm place to rest. Shutterstock

You can help your sick pet in many ways. Ensure that your pet is warm and comfortable. This will help them to recover. This can be done by providing them with extra bedding or pet-safe clothing. Coats can be worn indoors or outdoors to keep joints warm. To keep their environment pleasant, wash or replace the bedding on a regular basis. It will also help to reduce the risk that the infection spreads to other pets within the household.

Rest is essential. Make sure that your pet is in a safe, quiet place – away from other animals and people. Reduce your pet’s exercise, especially if they have a respiratory illness. This will help to reduce stress on their body.

Always have clean, fresh drinking water available. Consider adding warm water to the drinking water if it is extremely cold. It is important to provide water for outdoor pets.

Your dog may have kennel-cough if they cough and retch or even gag. It is highly contagious, so a dog that coughs should not be allowed to come in contact with other dogs until they are fully recovered. It is important not to bring a dog that has kennel cough into your veterinarian’s waiting room. The kennel-cough virus cannot be spread to cats or other pets.

Seasonal illnesses are usually mild and self-limiting for most healthy pets. The majority of pets will recover within a couple of days. If you are concerned about your pet’s health, whether it is young or old or has other conditions, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Keep your pets healthy.

You can take many steps to lower your pet’s risk of getting sick.

Ask your veterinarian if any local diseases are of concern. Although vaccinations can’t stop everything, they do help to support your pet’s well-being and reduce the chance of serious illness.

Simple yet effective measures to support pet health include:

Keeping pets at a healthy and lean weight.

Feeding them a well-balanced diet.

Ensuring they have access to clean drinking water.

Keep their bedding, water, and food bowls clean to reduce the risk of disease.

Our pets may share our lives, our beds, and even our homes. But we need not worry about them catching our seasonal colds or coughs.



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