I had a cold last week and now my dog is coughing. Is it possible I gave it to her?
We used to say viruses were species specific – meaning they only attack one species, like humans, or dogs. But, in the last few years, we’ve learned more. A few years ago, when avian flu was a big concern, we found the flu in birds, humans, pigs, dogs, and cats. So, maybe you should did share your cold with your dog. We can also share bacteria between people and animals – a sneeze is full of bacteria from your nose. If you sneeze into your hand then pet your dog, you can also share your bacteria.
When we worry is when either you or your dog have a weak immune system – you know, the one who catches every cold of the season? That patient can benefit from good therapy during the cold/flu, as well as build immunity before the next cootie arrives.
Humans do great drinking tea with ginger and a touch of honey to clear the sinuses. Believe it or not, you can share this with your dog. She might not drink as much as us, but some ginger on her food, a teaspoon of honey and lots of available fluids will help her nose clear up and soothe her throat.
A strong immune system comes from eating the best foods out there. And, just like when we are sick, we don’t want dessert, we want soup, so will our dogs. Homemade chicken soup is healing food for both species. After the flu is over, chicken and veggies works great to support general immunity. Supplements like vitamin A and D during the winter can also help fight infection, as well as glandular support containing thymus. There are many herbal remedies that help fight off viral infections, too! Yin chiao and Phytogen are two of my favorites.
So, yes, you may have shared a little cold with your dog; we can help keep her healthy so it doesn’t become a bigger issue.
Dr. Cathy Alinovi DVM
As a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Cathy treated 80% of what walked in the door — not with expensive prescriptions — but with adequate nutrition. Now retired from private practice, her commitment to pets hasn’t waned and she looks forward to impacting many more pet parents through her books, research, speaking and consulting work. Learn more at drcathyvet.com