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Do Dogs & Cats Catch Colds?

Do Dogs & Cats Catch Colds?
January 6, 2019

In a word, yes! 

Dogs and cats CAN catch colds, as well as the flu. Their symptoms include the same kind of symptoms that we have when we get a cold, including:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Lack of energy
  • Fever

Dogs are not capable of catching a human cold, but cats are. So when you’re sick or when anyone in your family is sick, make sure to limit cuddle time with your cat. However, you cannot catch a cold from your dog and cat if they are sick. But, they can still help to spread disease.

If you are sick and cuddled up with your pet, and then your spouse or child cuddles up with your pet, germs may rest on the pet and transfer that way. If you’re trying to keep a cold or the flu from spreading to your whole family, remember the way pets can spread the cold too.

How Do Dogs and Cats Catch Colds?

Just as you can catch a cold anytime you leave the house (or if you live with other people who also leave the house), so can your pet.

The groomer, pet boarders, puppy training, dog parks, or even on walks— all of these are places your furry friend might pick up a cold. If your dog or cat spends a lot of time at the pet hotels or frequents the groomers, you may consider asking your veterinarian about a pet flu vaccine that could help keep illness at bay.

Are There Pet Diseases Humans Can Catch?

There are a few, but you can avoid them by being as vigilant with your pet as you are with your human family members. Dogs and cats can get lyme disease from ticks, just as humans can; ensure you routinely check your dogs and outdoor cats for ticks. They can’t pass lyme disease to you, but if your family members were outdoors with your dogs and cats, the ticks can get on them as well.

Making sure your pets are vaccinated is another way to keep anything your dog or cat could catch from spreading to you. The rabies vaccination is of the utmost importance for any of your four-legged family members.

How To Treat Your Pet’s Cold

You’d treat the common cold in your pet just as you would with yourself or your family. Getting plenty of fluids and healthy food will help your dog or cat to get well soon. They may seek solitude and quiet, just as you would when you’re sick. Make sure to let them rest and skip the evening walk if they just aren’t feeling it.


Keep a close eye on your pet; further symptoms or symptoms lasting longer than a week or so might indicate a more serious issue that would warrant a trip to the vet. Canine parvovirus would include vomiting and diarrhea and, if left untreated, it could be fatal. Kennel cough also needs to be treated by your vet, as well as heartworms. All of these conditions might start out looking like the common cold or the flu, so pay attention to new or worsening symptoms.


If you have questions or concerns about your dog or cat’s flu or cold symptoms, it is always best to just call the vet. The experts at Academy Animal Hospital are always on call to make sure your furry friend is feeling his or her best!