Flu in Dogs

  Summary: “Can dogs get the flu?” Yes, they can! Read on to learn about flu in dogs, the symptoms, and how to help…    Can Dogs Get The Flu?  Yes, dogs can get the flu (otherwise known as canine influenza). There are two known strains in the United States (H3N8 and H3N2).   Flu germs […]

Oct 19, 2023·3 min read
Flu in Dogs


Summary: Can dogs get the flu?” Yes, they can! Read on to learn about flu in dogs, the symptoms, and how to help… 


Can Dogs Get The Flu? 

Yes, dogs can get the flu (otherwise known as canine influenza). There are two known strains in the United States (H3N8 and H3N2).  

Flu germs are airborne so they can be passed between animals via sneezing, coughing, and barking. But canine flu is at its most contagious in the incubation period; where no symptoms have developed yet, so simply being in close contact can put a dog at risk.  

Canine influenza is most common in dogs that spend time at dog parks, in kennels, at a dog groomers, a vets or if they’re a shelter dog. However, most of the time the infection remains mild.  

Dog Flu Symptoms 

Symptoms of flu in dogs include: 

  • Sneezing 
  • Coughing 
  • Lack of interest in food 
  • Runny nose (Which begins clear, and then progressively becomes a green-like yellow) 
  • Watery eyes 
  • Increased body temperature 
  • Dry, warm nose 
  • Irregular sleeping patterns 
  • Lethargy 
a portrait shot of a brown-eyed Yorkshire Terrier against greenery

In rare cases, flu in dogs can become more severe. Signs of severe canine influenza include: 

  • A body temperature over 104°F 
  • Extreme lethargy 
  • Wheezing or breathing difficulty 
  • Increased heart rate 

If you spot any of these four signs in your dog, they should see a vet as a matter of urgency.  


Unfortunately, there is no cure for canine influenza, and most of the time, a vet will advise you to let it run its course, isolate them from other animals and keep them hydrated.  

However, if you’re worried about your dog, they should absolutely see a vet who will most likely test them for the flu virus, and want to rule out infections like Kennel Cough.  

If your dog develops signs of severe flu, they should see a vet. The vet may want to keep them overnight and administer them fluids and medications that can support the body in fighting off the virus and help them with their breathing. 

A dog usually recovers from flu themselves in about 2-3 weeks unless they develop severe influenza, pneumonia, or any secondary infections that require veterinarian intervention.  

the profile of a black and tan miniature dachshund against a white background

Can Dogs Get The Flu From Humans? 

Thankfully, there are no known cases of humans contracting the flu from their dog. However, according to preliminary studies, it is possible for a dog to contract flu from a human, but it is very uncommon.   

When swine flu was doing the rounds in 2009, the state of Oregon discovered that 10 cats and 1 dog contracted the H1N1 virus and at least one of these pets had contracted it from their infected owner. So, yes, it’s possible… But rare! 

Dog Flu Shot 

You can now obtain a dog flu shot that protects a dog from contracting canine influenza which requires two doses; a second shot is administered two weeks after the first.  

Proof of vaccination may be required by some dog boarding facilities. Vaccination can be discussed with your vet and is certainly an appropriate consideration for dogs who spend time at doggy daycares, kennels, or dog parks.


“Can Dogs Get The Flu From Humans?” Wag Walking https://wagwalking.com/wellness/can-dogs-get-the-flu-from-humans  

“Flu In Dogs” Wag Walking https://wagwalking.com/condition/flu  

Author Dr. Klein, Jerry CVO “Do Dogs Need A Flu Shot? Facts About The Canine Influenze Vaccine” American Kennel Club, Sept 28. 2021 https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-flu-shot-canine-influenza  

Sarah MiltonS

Sarah Milton

Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!

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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
*In Amazon Pet Health Category in 2022
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