Canine Flu

Did you know that your canine companion can get the flu? In fact, there’s an outbreak going on now. Fido’s version, canine influenza virus (CIV) – also often called the dog flu—is an influenza A virus. There are several strains, but the two that are most common in the US are H3N8 and H3N2. These strains are both extremely contagious, and are the culprits behind the current outbreak. A local vet offers some information on this below.


If Fido gets the flu, he’ll likely have many of the same symptoms as you would, such as coughing, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, and reduced appetite. Of these, coughing is the most common. It may also be the most persistent. That said, our furry friends all react differently to the flu. Some pups will not show any symptoms at all. Other dogs may bounce back after a few days, or stay sick for weeks. A few will become severely ill. In rare cases, dog flu can be fatal. Senior dogs and pooches with chronic illnesses and/or immune deficiencies are at highest risk.


Fido’s flu can spread extremely quickly. The virus is transmitted through droplets of saliva, and can remain active in respiratory droplets on surfaces for several hours. Pups can easily contract it through shared toys or dishes. Fido could also get sick by greeting or nose-booping another pooch, or even just by sniffing a stick at a park that a sick dog played with hours ago.

Dogs that have contracted the flu remain contagious for about a month. As one can imagine, places like dog parks, daycares, grooming salons, and kennels can quickly become hotspots of contagion. Another potential source of spread? People! Someone who pets an infected dog and then a healthy one may quickly spread the illness from pooch to pooch. Be aware of the risks when taking Fido to different places. You can also track the current outbreak online here.


Unfortunately, there is no cure for the canine flu. In most cases, dogs recover on their own, though they may need some extra TLC. You’ll need to keep your furry pal comfy and hydrated, and monitor him carefully. If you know or suspect that your pup has the flu, reach out to your vet and ask for specific care tips.

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? We’re here to help!

Our Advice on Canine Flu

What is Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) or dog flu?

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV), commonly known as dog flu, is a highly contagious respiratory infection in dogs caused by specific Type A influenza viruses. The most prevalent strains in the U.S. are H3N8 and H3N2. Symptoms include coughing, nasal discharge, fever, and lethargy, resembling human flu.

How do dogs react differently to the flu?

Dogs’ reactions to the flu vary widely. Some may show no symptoms, while others exhibit coughing, fever, and lethargy. Severity ranges from mild discomfort to severe illness. Puppies, seniors, and dogs with underlying health issues are more likely to develop severe complications from the flu.

How long do dogs with the flu remain contagious?

Dogs with the flu typically remain contagious for about four weeks. During this period, they can quickly spread the virus to other dogs through respiratory droplets. It’s crucial to isolate infected dogs from others to prevent further virus transmission.

Can humans contribute to the spread of canine flu?

Yes, humans can inadvertently contribute to the spread of canine flu. While the virus doesn’t infect humans, it can be carried on our hands or clothes after touching an infected dog and transmitted to healthy dogs through physical contact. Good hygiene practices are essential to prevent this.

What care and treatment should be provided to a dog with the flu?

For dogs with the flu, supportive care is critical. Ensure they rest, stay hydrated, and eat nutritious food. Isolate them from other dogs to prevent spread. Over-the-counter cough suppressants may help but always consult a vet first. In severe cases, your vet may recommend medications or hospitalization for intensive care.

Contact us, your local animal clinic in Easley, SC!

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