The Winter season is officially here, and with those icy temps and snow flurries also come the peak of flu season.

Keep The Sanitizer and Kleenex Ready

Not only is December and January a time for holiday festivities and cozy snow days, but it is also the peak of flu season.  And according to the CDC, the 2022 to 2023 season is looking to be a doozy with record-high cases already reported. Many experts are warning that this could be one of the worst flu seasons in years.

A Ruff Flu Season

Not only is the flu running rampant among humans this year, but it is also spiking among canine companions as well. According to, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinios, and Tennessee have all seen recent reports of dog flu.

As a dog owner, the last thing I want is for my three spoiled pups to become ill. It is important to know what symptoms to look for and how to treat it if your furry friend comes down with the flu.

Here's what you need to know to keep your pet healthy this season.

What are the Signs of Canine Influenza?

According to PetMD, dogs that are infected with the flu can develop two separate illnesses. The first is a milder case involving a cough, nasal discharge, and will normally go away on its own after 10 to 30 days. The second is more severe and results in fever of 104 degrees or higher with symptoms that come on very quickly. This form may escalate into pneumonia, a cough that produces blood, difficulty breathing, or develop into secondary bacterial infections if left untreated.

General signs to watch out for in both forms include:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • red eyes and discharge
  • runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • lethargy

What if Your Pup Catches the Flu?

If you notice your dog showing signs of canine influenza, don't fret!

According to the CDC, treatment largely consists of keeping your pup comfortable and hydrated while their body fights off the virus. You may also want to contact your vet for a cough suppressant or antibiotics if a secondary bacterial infection develops.

Unsplash/Ryan Stone
Unsplash/Ryan Stone

For more severe cases, PetMD warns that more aggressive treatment may be needed such as more antibiotics, fluids, and sometimes hospitalization. Canine influenza can cause death if left untreated, so it is important to monitor symptoms with your vet.

In all forms of treatment, isolation from other dogs is key as dog flu can be just as contagious as the human strain.

Keep Your Furry Family Members Healthy

Like many pet illnesses, canine influenza is completely preventable.

Currently, there are flu vaccines for both strains that can be administered yearly. With the first vaccination, they will also require a booster after 2 to 4 weeks. After the initial dose, dogs can receive the shot annually among their other annual vaccinations.


As with humans, canine flu is highly transmittable through respiratory droplets. It is important to keep your dog away from places where a large number of dogs are present such as dog parks or boarding facilities if there is an outbreak in your community. Pet owners can check the Dog Flu Outbreaks Map to see whether there is an outbreak in your city. If you suspect your dog is carrying the virus, isolation from other dogs is key to prevent further spread.

Luckily, canine flu cannot be transmitted to humans so you can give your pup all the extra pets and snuggles while they are in isolation.

Stay Informed

For more information on canine influenza and local outbreaks, check out the CDC and AVMA websites. Pet owners can also contact their local veterinarian.

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