We can all easily recall the stuffy nose, watery eyes, scratchy throat, and more that comes with having a cold. If we’re lucky, the virus only hangs on for a couple days before moving on to the next unsuspecting victim, but in some cases, colds can last for a week or more.

Dogs and cats are also susceptible to a variety of contagious illnesses. But as cold and flu season drags on, pet owners may be wondering: Can pets catch colds from humans?

Do Pets Catch Colds?

The good news about the rhinoviruses we know so well is that they can’t be passed on to our four-legged companions. While there are plenty of zoonotic diseases out there, the common cold isn’t one of them. In short, humans have their own types of colds, and pets have theirs.

Take Notice

Pets can’t catch a cold from us, but symptoms of the dreaded virus, such as sneezing, coughing, and runny/stuffy nose, can be pretty similar.

Although most pet colds aren’t serious, it’s important to be aware of the difference between a mild cold and a more serious upper respiratory condition. Give us a call right away if your pet is experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • A dry, honking cough
  • Discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Rest and Recovery

There’s no cure for a pet cold besides time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage faster healing with an old-fashioned dose of TLC:

  • Make sure your pet gets plenty of rest. Limit walks and play until your pet has their energy back.
  • Keep your pet hydrated! Try a little bit of unsalted broth or ice cubes in their water bowl to encourage extra liquid consumption.
  • Provide the highest quality diet you can for your pet. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations.
  • Keep your pet away from other animals while they’re sick to prevent the spread of the illness.

Prevention is the Best Medicine

Keeping your pet’s immune system in tip-top shape is key to preventing a variety of health conditions, including a cold. Providing your pet with a high-quality diet and making sure they’re up-to-date on all vaccinations will go a long way to supporting long-term health.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Blue Valley Veterinary Hospital with additional questions or to schedule an appointment for your pet.