As if we weren't having a bad flu season already, here's some more bad news . . . apparently your DOG can catch the flu too. Luckily, canine influenza is rarely deadly, but it IS very contagious. Here are four tips on how to keep your dog safe.
1. Look for symptoms. Dog flu symptoms involve the respiratory system. So look for coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, sluggish energy, and a reduced appetite.
If you DO notice any of those, keep them away from other pets and get them to a vet. Dogs diagnosed with the flu should be kept away from other dogs for at least 21 days. YOU won't catch the flu from your dog, but other dogs or cats might.
2. Be especially careful with dogs that have a higher chance of getting sick. Older dogs and dogs that regularly go to the dog park, doggy day care, or a boarding facility are at a higher risk of coming down with dog flu because of how contagious it is.
3. Get them a vaccine. Yes, there IS a flu shot for your dog. And just like the human one it doesn't entirely eliminate your dog's risk of getting sick, but it CAN reduce how severe their illness is and how long they're sick. Not all vets offer it though.
4. Watch for an outbreak. Dog flu is highly contagious, so be on the lookout for an outbreak in your area. And if there IS one, use extra caution and avoid public areas like dog parks as much as possible.
(USA Today / KCRA / WWLP / PetMD)