Flu is normally a winter illness. Winter is cold and dry, allowing viruses like cold and flu to spread more easily (which is why running a humidifier can help). While flu season can sometimes last until June, we don’t normally worry about it in July or August.
But if you have dogs, you should. Last winter, dog flu spread in patches across the US. It still hasn’t cleared up—Michigan currently has a warning about an outbreak.
This isn’t just a kennel disease. Your dog isn’t safe just because they’re alone at home. Humans don’t get dog flu, but we can carry it, spread it, and pass it to our canine friends. Visiting another home with dogs, petting a friendly dog in passing, or, potentially, shaking hands with someone whose dog has it (the same way regular flu is passed around, except that humans don’t notice until their dog is sick).
Symptoms of dog flu include coughing and eye/nose discharge (it’s a respiratory infection just like in humans), fever, and lethargy/fatigue. And, just like humans, a dog’s immune system strength impacts how sick they’ll get. Most dogs will have mild symptoms for a few weeks—give them extra care and rest just like if you were sick. Some dogs, like older dogs, puppies, fat dogs, or dogs with other chronic problems may get seriously ill and need immediate veterinary care.
Keep your pups healthy with the same basic principles that work for humans. Make sure they have a diet that’s right for them, get plenty of exercise, and lots of stimulation/rest (as needed). You can also help support their immune system with just a few drops of colloidal silver in their water bowl (and for outdoor pets, it helps keep the water fresh!).
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