PhotoYou aren't the only one who can get the flu. Your dog can get it too. It's known in veterinary circles as canine influenza, a respiratory infection caused by the H3N8 virus.

It's actually a pretty new strain, which means that nearly all dogs can catch it since they haven't had a chance to build an immunity to it. So if your neighbor’s dog has it or you take your dog to the dog park, watch out.

Symptoms generally appear in 24 to 48 hours. Here's what to watch out for:

A persistent cough. It may sound like kennel cough -- that dry hacking cough. Your dog will probably have a sore throat as well. But it shouldn't create any long-lasting damage. The cough can last from 10-30 days.

Runny nose. The discharge is usually clear at first but it can turn green or yellow. Your vet can give you meds to dry this up.

Fever. Your dog's temperature could go as high as 106 degrees. A normal temp is anywhere from 99.5-102.5.

Taking your dog to the vet is the only way to get an accurate diagnosis. If your dog should get the flu, make sure they are eating properly. Select a high quality pet food and feed 3-4 small meals a day.

Make sure your dog stays inside and has a comfortable place to rest. If you don't have one already, look for a big soft comfy bed. 

Your dog needs rest. While an occasional walk is good, don't do too much -- your dog needs to keep his resistance up. If he is worn out it will hamper his ability to fight off the infection.

Just as with humans, wash your hands to be sure you aren't spreading the virus. Don't let your pets share toys or drink from strange bowls. The virus can stay on an object up to 48 hours.


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