Why don't dogs get the common cold?

I have gotten the flu or a cold THREE times since New Years. It’s really starting to irritate me, but I look at my dog and she never seems to be sick (I know, I’m lucky because fixing a sick dog can be expensive). But, anyway, my point is: Dogs don’t seem to get a common cold-type virus like humans. Is it because they don’t interact with other dogs as commonly as we do with people? Is Kennel Cough the dog equivalent of a cold? Just curious!

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9 Responses to “Why don't dogs get the common cold?”

  1. vet tech says:

    The "common cold" for us is a general term describing similar symptoms that are caused by hundreds of different viruses. The same with the word "flu" there are thousands of different viruses, bacterium, and protozoa which can cause similar symptoms… but we give it all the same name.

    Some species of viruses are "host specific" meaning they only like humans, or cats, or dogs, etc. Some are "Zoonotic" which can be transmitted between humans and other animals.

    The viruses that cause flu or cold-like symptoms in dogs are mostly host-specific. So the virus that has attacked you just "passes through" your dog… it doesn’t stay and cause trouble. Viruses that cause runny noses, coughing, sneezing, fever, aches, watery eyes, diarrhea, and lethargy in dogs are similar, they are being shed, but just pass through you because you do not have a canine body. If a sick dog were to enter, however…

    -RVT
    (Registered Veterinary Technician)

  2. independant_woman says:

    dogs do get the common cold (and Kennel cough is a more serious dog illness)…it’s just that when your dog has a cold you may not notice becuase maybe you work outside the home and aren’t always around to notice that he’s sleeping more or sneezing often…don’t get me wrong -on average they don’t get sick as often as we do; the reason for that may be because they have a stronger immune system than we do – they live in nearly controlled environments with a limited number of different people/dogs they have access to (compaired to you) plus they have a stable diet unlike humans and there is never a reason for them to not get a good nights sleep

  3. chelebeee says:

    Kennel Cough would be like our common cold, but with dogs it takes them a while to get over it. Our 2 year old dog had it and it took about 2 weeks. The vet told us the only thing they could do is give antibiotics, but that doesn’t really help a cold any.
    Miraculously, our 11 year old dog (who sleeps right next to our 2 year old) didn’t get it.

  4. damnyankee1985 says:

    I think the closest thing dogs have to the common cold is "kennel cough." It’s contagious and is spread through other dogs’ sneezes and coughs. It’s highly common in dogs who come from the pound because of their close proximity to so many other animals. Kennel cough generally lasts about a week, much like the common cold, and can even lead to pneumonia. I learned this from the Humane Society when I adopted my beagle last August.

  5. zetagirlbunny says:

    Our colds and viruses are not zoonotic (not transferrable to canines or felines). Kennel Cough is very similar to our cold, just doggy form…the vaccination Bordatella is available at your vet clinic (normally required for grooming and boarding). Dogs (mostly your small breeds) have a collapsing trachea (tracheal bronchitis) that causes a lot of coughing when the pet gets excited or his collar is pressed against his neck.

  6. fdm215 says:

    "More recently, dogs have been attacked by flu. Dog flu is a more recent phenomenon, and has been first diagnosed in racing greyhounds in Florida. Dogs are usually down with fever or cough and fever. A runny nose and pneumonia are some other symptoms. Since this is a relatively new phenomenon, most dogs do not have the immunity against the virus that causes it. Inherent immunity from genes is also not present. On the sunny side, most dogs catch the milder form of the flu, and recover within a fortnight or so. The more severe form is a little complicated. It starts with cough, and then proceeds to fever. The dog may also suffer from pneumonia. This is caused by secondary bacterial infections that attack the natural respiratory lining within the respiratory tract, thus making the dog susceptible to other diseases. "

    for more info, including Kennel Cough discussion:
    http://www.web-rover.com/doghealth/canadoggetacoldflu.php

  7. Vet Tech says:

    Actually, dogs can get Upper Respiratory Infections/Viruses which hold many of the same symptoms as a human-type cold. Runny eyes, nose discharge, congestion in the chest/lungs. Kennel cough can be compaired more to pneumonia in humans. Hope this helps!

  8. Bozema says:

    Dogs just don’t contract human cold viruses. Lucky them!

  9. REnate says:

    No Kennel Cough is much more serious than a cold.

    Dogs do get colds sometimes. You should thank your stars that you baby has not gotten a cold or anything else.

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