Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of Dog Flu?

The symptoms of Dog Flu include coughing, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. In more severe cases, you may notice faster breathing, depression, or anorexia. If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, be sure to speak to your pet's veterinarian.

What is the difference between Dog Flu and canine (kennel) cough?

Canine (kennel) cough is an infection caused by the Bordetella bacteria. Its symptoms are almost identical to Dog Flu, including a cough, running nose, lethargy, loss of appetite, and fever. The biggest difference between the 2 infections is that canine (kennel) cough is treatable with antibiotics and Dog Flu is not. That's why annual vaccination is so important. If you plan to vaccinate your dog for canine (kennel) cough, consider having both vaccinations administered in the same visit.

How do I know if my dog has Dog Flu and not a different upper respiratory infection?

Because the symptoms of Dog Flu are so similar to many other upper respiratory infections, the only way it can be properly diagnosed is through veterinary testing. Dog Flu can be much more severe.

Can Dog Flu affect humans?

No, humans cannot be infected with Dog Flu.

Is Dog Flu the same as human flu?

Dog Flu is caused by a different virus than human flu; however, its symptoms are very similar. Also similar is the importance of annual revaccination, to ensure continued protection against the disease. However, Dog Flu viruses are more stable than human flu viruses. Therefore, there is no need to annually compose a new Dog Flu vaccine as is the case for the human flu vaccine.

Can Dog Flu affect cats?

Dog Flu can affect cats. The symptoms of Dog Flu in cats are very similar to those seen in dogs, including lethargy, fever, sneezing, and potentially pneumonia. However, unlike dogs, coughing is not a common symptom for cats. For that reason it may be more difficult to tell if your cat has caught the virus. If you notice any of the other symptoms, speak to your pet's veterinarian right away as cats can pass the virus to dogs and other cats if proper precaution is not taken.

How is Dog Flu spread?

There are 4 main ways Dog Flu is spread: dog-to-dog contact, through coughing or sneezing, contact with contaminated objects, and human-to-dog contact.

How contagious is Dog Flu?

Dog Flu is highly contagious and if not vaccinated, most dogs are susceptible as they have not yet developed natural immunity.

Is Dog Flu seasonal?

Dog Flu is not seasonal. It is transmitted from dogs who have caught the virus, so dogs and cats are susceptible to the virus all year round. That's why it's important to have your pet vaccinated annually.

How do I protect my dog from getting Dog Flu

The best way to protect your dog from Dog Flu is through annual vaccination. If there is an outbreak in your area, keep your dog away from places heavily frequented by other dogs. If you come in contact with other dogs, be sure to wash your hands and clothes so you don't pass it on to your pet.

Is my dog protected for life with the Dog Flu vaccination?

No. It is recommended that following the initial series of two vaccinations, a single dose should be given every year1.

How can I help prevent the spread of Dog Flu?

If your dog is diagnosed with Dog Flu, keep them away from places heavily frequented by other dogs. It is also important to prioritize cleanliness if your dog is infected. Wash your hands with soap and water after touching your dog, disinfect surfaces your dog has come in contact with, and wash your clothes.

1. Ford RB, et al. 2017 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines.


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

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