Dog Flu viruses are highly infectious

Easily Transmitted From Dog to Dog

This respiratory infection is relatively new, so almost all dogs are susceptible to infection when exposed because they have not built up natural immunity. Most dogs that develop an infection caused by this virus have a mild illness, but some dogs get very sick and require treatment in a veterinarian's office.30,31

Dog Flu can pass between dogs through virus particles in the air (coughing or sneezing) or by coming into physical contact with other dogs (dog kisses). It can also be transferred indirectly—like if a dog touches or plays with objects that were touched by infected dogs (food bowls or toys). Humans can even transfer the virus between dogs if they do not properly sanitize after touching an infected dog, or if their clothing isn't cleaned.31

Years of Rapidly Spreading Viruses

The first confirmed outbreak of Dog Flu infection occurred in Florida at a Greyhound racing facility in 2003.2 Since that time, the incidence of Dog Flu infection has increased, and outbreaks have been reported in dog-racing facilities, dog shows, dog parks, shelters, kennels, veterinary offices, and pet stores in many US states.1,4-8

For more information on Dog Flu outbreaks in your state, take a look at our outbreak map.

You can help prevent the spread of Dog Flu by vaccinating your dog.

If your dog has any of the signs of Dog Flu infection, help prevent the spread.

  • Keep your dog home and avoid activities, for at least three weeks.26
  • Be sure to keep your dog's toys, and food and water bowls, clean with soap and water. You should disinfect your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer), and wash clothing after exposure to dogs that have signs of respiratory disease to avoid transmitting infection to other dogs.26,31
  • Knowledge and common sense are your best defenses against Dog Flu. Be aware of any information about outbreaks in your area, and take appropriate precautions.31

It Can Spread Before You See Symptoms

A dog can be infected with Dog Flu for 2-4 days before any symptoms are present. Symptoms can last anywhere from 7-10 days depending on the dog, with preliminary data showing intermittent symptoms for up to 24 days.2

FIGURE: Canine influenza H3N8 in the United States

Dog Flu map