We hear it every year: get your flu shot. While you may take precaution to keep yourself from getting sick, did you know your dog can get the flu, too?
Fortunately, none of our dogs has had canine influenza. Our first family dog had kennel cough when we adopted her, and seeing your fur baby sick is not enjoyable!
So should you get your dog vaccinated against the flu? The answer honestly depends on your lifestyle. If your dog stays at home and doesn’t interact with other dogs, the chance of them getting infected is very slim. But, if they are at the dog park regularly, get groomed, or play with other dogs while on walks, then you should consider getting them vaccinated.
Bernie got his shot this weekend and he’ll go back in two weeks for a booster shot.
I reached out to the American Veterinary Medical Association to find out their guidelines for the flu shot. If you’re on the fence about getting your dog vaccinated, here are some questions you should ask your veterinarian.
- Has canine influenza been reported in our area?
- If so, which strain of the flu?
- Do you offer vaccines for both strains?
While there are no known cases of the first strain of canine influenza being transferred to humans or other animals, a second strain that popped up just in the past few years has been transferred from dogs to cats. And cats can pass it along to other cats as well.
Fortunately, most dogs that catch the flu recover in about two weeks. Death is usually associated with pneumonia that accompanied the flu.
If you touch an infected dog or get the virus on your clothes, you can transfer it to your dog. So it’s always best to wash your hands and change clothes if you’ve been around other animals, especially dogs that have been coughing or sneezing.
As for your daily walks with your pooch, don’t worry they won’t catch the flu from another dog’s feces. But they can catch other bacteria from it, so keep them away for good measure!
Do you get your dog vaccinated against the flu?
Katrina Neeper is an executive producer at ABC2 News. Email her at email@example.com, follow her on Twitter @KatrinaNeeper, and like Weekdays at Bernie's on Facebook!