This Is How You Can Protect Your Dog From Massive Dog Flu Outbreak

Yikes! The dog flu has spread across 46 states.

Flu season is in full swing, and it’s already been declared the worst one in years.

But with all the flu cases going around, it’s easy to forget that humans aren’t the only ones being affected by it. In fact, there are two different strains of influenza that dogs can come down with. And dog flu has spread quickly this year. So far, there have been confirmed cases of canine influenza in 46 states.

tired dog photo
Flickr | dwblakey

This is just the latest rash of cases. Last spring, there were canine influenza outbreaks in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.

The canine flu is a highly contagious airborne disease. No matter the time of year, infected dogs can spread the illness to other dogs, and sometimes to cats. According to the American Kennel Club, 80 percent of all dogs exposed to the virus will contract it. The airborne virus can travel up to 20 feet. It also spreads through contaminated pet accessories, like bowls, leashes, crates, clothing and more. Basically anything that comes in close contact with infected dogs can spread the virus.

Dog owners are right to be a bit worried, but it’s not cause for panic because—like with humans—there are plenty of ways to prevent your pup from getting sick.


How To Keep Your Pup Healthy

To help keep your dog in top shape, you can get them vaccinated. There is a vaccine for dogs that is effective for up to one year for both strains of canine influenza. It reduces the severity of the illness. It also reduces the amount of the virus that infected dogs shed and how long they shed it. It’s not a requirement, so be sure to ask your veterinarian to order it.

Including vaccines, there’s even more you can do to keep the flu from spreading. If your dog contracts it, avoid having them share toys and bowls with other dogs. It’s also best to steer clear of areas where dogs gather, such as parks and boarding or daycare facilities, until the increase in infection has subsided.

dog park photo
Flickr | susanjanegolding

How To Treat Dog Flu

Fortunately, the canine flu is treatable. Dogs will generally recover fully after two or three weeks of experiencing symptoms.

If your dog shows flu symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately. Common symptoms include a dry cough, lack of appetite, lack of energy, discharge from the nose or eyes, difficulty breathing and a fever (above normal temperature of 101 to 102. The vet can do a quick blood test to detect the virus.

If you don’t take your sick pooch to the vet for treatment their flu can become severe and even turn into pneumonia. “If you notice the signs, get in touch with your veterinarian, knowing that this can be a very serious disease and it can cause severe illness,” Dr. Jennifer Bonovich, a veterinarian in South Carolina, told Fox News. “Some cases do require hospitalization and it can cost several thousand dollars.”

veterinarian photo
Flickr | Army Medicine

While you don’t want to spread the illness, you do want to share the info so more pet owners are in the know and dogs stay healthy.