How Can I Prevent the Spread of Dog Flu?

The Best Care for an Infected Dog

The best treatment is prevention: make sure your dog gets an annual Dog Flu vaccination.

But, if your dog shows signs of illness or is diagnosed with Dog Flu, it's important to be proactive about preventing the disease from spreading. The canine influenza virus is a highly contagious respiratory infection that's easily transmittable from dog to dog and, in some cases, cats.

80-90% of dogs exposed to
the virus get sick1

4 ways Dog Flu can spread

  • Dog-to-dog contact: Passed from dog to dog through direct contact
  • Coughing or sneezing: Healthy dogs can breathe in virus particles in the air from coughing or sneezing by infected dogs
  • Contaminated objects: Healthy dogs can come into contact with objects touched by infected dogs
  • Human-to-dog contact: Healthy dogs can come in contact with humans who haven't sanitized after touching an infected dog

Remember! Dog Flu doesn’t just affect dogs—the disease can spread to and from cats, too.

The rules of Dog Flu disinfection

Whether you’re a dog owner or work with dogs at a pet care facility, it’s very important to prioritize cleanliness during an outbreak.


Wash with soap and
water or use an
sanitizer as the Dog
Flu virus can stay
active on your skin for
up to 12 hours.


Keep toys, food and water
bowls, and other surfaces
touched by dogs clean with
soap and water, as
well as disinfectants.


When working at a pet
care facility and handling
dogs, wear gloves to
protect against the
Dog Flu virus.


Clean your clothes after
contact with an infected dog
as the virus stays active for
24 hours. Changing your
shoes before visiting other
dogs is also necessary.

If your dog is diagnosed with Dog Flu, it is
important to keep them out of shared spaces and
places other dogs frequent for 4 weeks. Avoid:

  • Doggie daycares
  • Kennels and shelters
  • Dog parks
  • Dog-racing facilities
  • Dog shows
  • Pet stores
  • Groomers
  • Any other places dogs frequent

When taking your dog to the veterinarian

Dog Flu is a viral infection that can pose a real danger to your dog. It can cause nasal discharge, high fever, pneumonia, secondary bacterial infections, and other symptoms. If you're concerned that your dog is showing signs of canine influenza, see your veterinarian right away.

Unlike Bordetella, or kennel cough, which is a bacterial infection there is no "cure" for Dog Flu. However, your veterinarian can confirm the diagnosis and provide supportive care, helping to make your dog more comfortable as the virus runs its course.

It’s a good idea to wait in the car when at your veterinary clinic. Clinic staff may want to keep your dog isolated from other pets in the waiting room.

Looking for More Information
on Dog Flu Outbreaks?

1. Crawford C, Spindel M. Canine influenza. In: Miller L, Hurley K, eds. Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters. Ames, IA: Wiley-Blackwell; 2009:173-180.


Read common questions about Dog Flu strains, spread and vaccinations.

Are you a Professional?

We have tools and tips to help contain the spread of Dog Flu in your facilities.