It’s that time of year…and while we are dealing with one of the worst human flu seasons in over 10 years, it appears that the dog flu may be coming to a neighborhood near you. If it hasn’t already, that is. Want to know how to possibly help ward off canine influenza?
Can my dog get the flu?
Dogs sure can get the flu, also known as canine influenza. But it’s not the type of flu that humans typically get.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there’s been a surge in the strain known as H3N2. Even though it can be spread year-round, they’re seeing an uptick in cases.
It’s a very contagious airborne virus and it can be spread in tons of different ways. Most commonly, dogs will transmit the dog flu through direct contact, barking, nasal discharge from runny nose and coming in contact with contaminated surfaces. These include things like leashes, kennels, dog bowls and anything shared at places like dog parks or pet stores.
One theory as to why canine influenza seems to be more rampant this time of year is that more people are going back to in-person work or traveling, which means more dogs are spending time together in kennels or doggie day cares. All it takes is one dog with dog flu to walk into a doggy day care or boarding center and the several others there are all exposed.
Additionally, during the pandemic, dog shelters were fairly empty as people adopted dogs in epic quantities. Those shelters are now far more full, and conditions for canine influenza are prime.
What are the symptoms of dog flu?
Similar to humans, dogs with canine influenza will exhibit symptoms like lethargy, coughing, runny noses and possible upper respiratory distress. They also include eye secretions, fever and lack of appetite. Experts recommend that if your dog shows any of those symptoms, or any digestive distress, and has recently been in a dog park, grooming facility or kennel, you may want to have them checked out by a vet. While typically not fatal and presenting more like a heavy cold, canine influenza can be fatal, so you’ll want to know if it’s the dog flu you’re dealing with.
How long does it take to recover from the dog flu?
The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests that dogs with canine influenza will typically heal over a two to three-week period, provided that they are kept well-hydrated and comfortable. Sometimes a vet will prescribe an antimicrobial to help the recovery process. Dogs with dog flu are most contagious in the first two-to-four days they contract it, and sadly, it’s estimated that most all dogs exposed to the virus will get sick in some way. If your dog shows any cold or flu-like symptoms or has been exposed to any dogs showing any of those symptoms, vets recommend isolation for a few days to prevent spread.
Many veterinarians will recommend the canine influenza vaccine, particularly if their dogs are in contact with other dogs regularly. The vaccine is not 100% effective, but vets believe it may help symptoms be less severe. It’s something to discuss with your vet for sure.
How can Bernie’s Perfect Poop help fight against the dog flu?
The best way for dogs (and humans!) to protect themselves from viruses and bacteria is to have healthy guts. When your dog’s gut is healthy, their immune system is able to more effectively fight against viruses like canine influenza. Dogs with healthy guts may have faster recovery times and may present symptoms with lesser severity because their bodies are more capable of battling the virus.
Supplementing your dog’s diet with premium fiber and digestive enzymes optimizes your dog’s nutrition absorption, and this is what helps ensure they have all the fuel they need to keep their organs and immune system functioning properly. More, by adding in pre- and probiotics, you’re helping your dog’s microbiome fight an attack by a virus from the start. Studies show that healthy guts lead to healthy immune systems and a better ability to ward off viruses and lessen symptom effects.
That’s just what Bernie’s Perfect Poop was designed to do, too! When we created Perfect Poop, we wanted to do what we could to make sure our dogs’ gut health was as good as it could be. We know that the key to long, happy lives with our best friends is their good gut health, and we wanted a simple, delicious and effective way to do this with every meal.
If we’ve learned nothing in the last few years, it’s that viruses will likely continue to be unavoidable at some point, and we can only protect our dogs to the best of our ability. So give them Perfect Poop with every meal and know you’re helping battle things like the dog flu from the inside out!