My Dog Has a Cold, What Can I Give Him? – The Complete Guide

My Dog Has a Cold, What Can I Give Him? – The Complete Guide

As a dog lover and owner, it’s always concerning when our furry friends fall ill. One of the most common ailments that dogs can experience is the common cold. Just like humans, dogs can catch a cold from being exposed to other sick dogs or from environmental factors such as changes in temperature and humidity. It’s essential to know how to care for your dog when they have a cold, so they can recover comfortably and quickly. In this comprehensive guide, I will provide you with various remedies and treatments to help your dog when they have a cold. You’ll find everything from natural remedies to over-the-counter options to ensure you have the information you need to care for your dog during this time.

Key Takeaways

  • Knowing how to care for your dog when they have a cold is essential for their well-being
  • There are various remedies and treatments available to help your dog recover from a cold
  • Proper hygiene practices and preventive measures can reduce the risk of your dog catching another cold
  • If your dog’s condition worsens or doesn’t improve, seek professional veterinary advice

Understanding Canine Colds

If you’re concerned that your dog might have a cold, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms. While dogs can’t catch the same cold viruses as humans, they can contract several different kinds of dog-specific viruses that can cause similar symptoms.

Signs of a Dog Cold

The most common symptoms of a dog cold include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to monitor their condition closely and provide appropriate care.

Causes of Canine Colds

Dogs can catch colds from other dogs, particularly in environments where they are in close contact, such as kennels or dog parks. While uncommon, dogs can also catch colds from humans, although the viruses are different from those that affect people.

It’s also important to note that the stress of travel or boarding can compromise a dog’s immune system and make them more susceptible to picking up illnesses.

Distinguishing a Cold from Other Conditions

The symptoms of a dog cold can be similar to those of other medical conditions, such as kennel cough or canine influenza. If you’re unsure about your dog’s condition, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis.

In the next section, we’ll discuss when it’s necessary to seek professional help for your dog’s cold.

Consulting a Veterinarian

While home remedies and over-the-counter treatments may help your dog recover from a cold, it’s always best to consult a veterinarian to ensure your dog receives proper care. In some cases, what appears to be a cold could be a sign of a more severe underlying condition.

“If your dog’s symptoms persist or worsen after a few days, it’s time to seek professional veterinary care,” says Dr. Smith, a licensed veterinarian with ten years of experience. “Your vet can perform a physical exam, run tests, and recommend appropriate treatments to help your dog feel better.”

It’s also important to consult a veterinarian if your dog displays any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent coughing
  • Fever lasting for more than two days
  • Nasal discharge lasting more than a week
  • Lethargy or loss of appetite

During a veterinary visit, the vet may check your dog’s temperature, listen to their lungs and heart, and evaluate their overall health. Depending on your dog’s condition, your vet may recommend treatments such as antibiotics, prescription cough syrup, or other medications to alleviate their symptoms.

Remember, delaying a visit to the vet could make your dog’s condition worse. If you’re unsure whether or not your dog needs professional care, it’s better to err on the side of caution and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Home Care for a Dog with a Cold

If your furry friend has a cold, you can take several steps to provide them with comfort and care at home. Here are some helpful tips:

Provide a Warm and Quiet Environment

A warm and cozy environment can help your dog feel more comfortable while they recover from a cold. Consider providing a warm blanket or bed, and place it in a quiet area to ensure they can rest without distractions.

Hydration is Key

Ensuring your dog stays hydrated is crucial when they have a cold. Offer them plenty of fresh water and consider adding water to their food to increase their fluid intake.

Nutrition is Important

While your dog might not feel like eating during a cold, it’s essential to offer them nutritious and easy-to-digest food. Boiled chicken, rice, and a small amount of vegetables can be a good option.

Help Your Dog Breathe Easier

If your dog has a stuffy nose, you can help them breathe easier by creating a steam room. Run a hot shower, close the bathroom door, and let the steam build-up. Bring your dog into the bathroom, and let them breathe in the steam for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to dry them off after the session.

Offer Herbal Teas

Natural remedies such as herbal teas can also help relieve a dog’s cold symptoms. Echinacea tea, for example, can help boost their immune system and reduce inflammation. However, always consult with a veterinarian before giving your dog any natural remedies.

Monitor Your Dog’s Condition

Keep a close eye on your dog’s condition and watch for signs of improvement or deterioration. If their cold symptoms persist or worsen after several days, seek professional veterinary advice.

By following these home care tips, you can help your furry friend feel better and recover from their cold. However, always consult with a veterinarian before trying any new treatments, and remember to prioritize your dog’s comfort and well-being throughout the recovery process.

Natural Remedies for Dog Colds

If you prefer natural options for your furry friend, there are several remedies you can try to alleviate your dog’s cold symptoms. These remedies may not only help treat the cold but also boost your dog’s immune system to prevent future illnesses. Here are some of the most effective natural remedies for your dog’s cold:

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas can help relieve your dog’s cold symptoms and keep them hydrated. Chamomile tea can soothe inflammation and alleviate coughing, while Echinacea tea strengthens the immune system. To prepare the tea, steep one teabag in hot water for five minutes, let it cool, and give your dog one tablespoon per 20 pounds of body weight twice a day.

Steam Therapy

Steam therapy can help clear your dog’s sinuses and ease breathing. Bring a pot of water to a boil, remove it from the heat, and place it on a heat-resistant surface. Cover your dog’s head and the pot with a towel, creating a steam tent. Let your dog inhale the steam for 10 minutes, twice a day. Make sure the steam is not too hot to avoid burning your dog.

Immune-Boosting Supplements

Immune-boosting supplements can help your dog fight off infections and colds. Vitamin C and Echinacea can strengthen the immune system, while omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation and improve respiratory function. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate dosage for your dog.


Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an effective natural remedy for your dog’s cold. You can add a teaspoon of honey to your dog’s water or mix it with their food twice a day to soothe coughing and sore throat.


Garlic has antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties, making it a potent natural remedy for your dog’s cold. You can add a small amount of finely chopped or crushed garlic to your dog’s food once a day to alleviate symptoms and prevent future infections. However, make sure not to give your dog too much garlic, as it may cause stomach upset.

By trying these natural remedies, you can help your furry friend feel better and recover faster from their cold. However, always consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new remedies or supplements, especially if your dog is on medication or has an underlying health condition over-the-counter medications for Dog Colds

If your dog is experiencing cold symptoms, you may consider giving them over-the-counter (OTC) medications to alleviate their discomfort. However, it’s important to know which OTC medications are safe for dogs and how to administer them properly.

Safe OTC Medications for Dogs with Colds

Common OTC medications used to treat dog colds include:

Medication Symptoms Treated Administration
Robitussin Coughing 1 teaspoon per 20 pounds of body weight, every 4-6 hours. Do not give if the medication contains acetaminophen or caffeine.
Benadryl Sneezing, runny nose, and allergies 1 milligram per pound of body weight, every 8-12 hours. Do not give if the medication contains other active ingredients.
Sudafed Congestion 1 milligram per pound of body weight, every 8 hours. Do not give if the medication contains other active ingredients.

It’s crucial to follow the recommended dosages for your dog’s weight and not exceed the prescribed amount. Additionally, it’s essential to verify the medication is safe for your dog, as certain ingredients can be harmful, such as acetaminophen or caffeine.

Potential Side Effects of OTC Medications for Dog Colds

While OTC medications can help alleviate your dog’s cold symptoms, they may have side effects.

  • Benadryl can cause fatigue, dry mouth, and urinary retention in dogs.
  • Sudafed can increase heart rate and blood pressure and cause restlessness and agitation.
  • Robitussin may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in dogs.

If your dog experiences any severe side effects or their symptoms worsen, seek professional veterinary help immediately.

Proper Hygiene Practices

When your dog has a cold, it’s crucial to take steps to prevent the virus from spreading to other pets or family members. By following proper hygiene practices, you can minimize the risk of transmission and ensure a safe, healthy environment for everyone. Here are some tips for maintaining good hygiene:

  • Wash your hands frequently: Cold viruses can spread through contact, so it’s essential to wash your hands regularly, particularly before and after handling your dog or their belongings.
  • Clean your dog’s bedding: Wash your dog’s bedding frequently, ideally in hot water, to kill any viruses or bacteria that may be present.
  • Disinfect common areas: Regularly clean and disinfect common areas in your home, such as floors, countertops, and doorknobs, to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Keep your sick dog separate: If you have other dogs or pets, keep your sick dog separate from them to avoid spreading the virus. Provide them with their bedding, food, and water bowls, and limit their contact with other pets or family members.

By following these simple hygiene practices, you can help prevent the spread of the cold virus and protect your dog and other pets from getting sick.

Rest and Exercise Balance

During a dog’s recovery from a cold, finding the right balance between rest and exercise is crucial. Too much exercise can worsen symptoms, while too little can hinder their overall fitness. Below are some tips to help you strike the right balance:

  • Opt for shorter walks: Instead of long walks, consider shorter, more frequent ones. This will help your dog stay active while preventing exhaustion.
  • Provide a comfortable resting environment: Create a warm and cozy resting area for your dog where they can rest undisturbed. Avoid placing the bed in high-traffic areas or areas with loud noises that could disturb their sleep.
  • Monitor exercise tolerance: Observe your dog’s behavior during and after exercise to determine their tolerance levels. If they appear more tired than usual or have difficulty breathing, it’s a sign they may be overexerting, and you should cut back on activity levels.
  • Gradually increase exercise: Once your dog starts feeling better, you can slowly increase the length and intensity of exercise. However, be sure to monitor their symptoms and adjust accordingly.
  • Avoid strenuous activities: While it’s essential to keep your dog active, it’s best to avoid any strenuous activities such as running or jumping until they have fully recovered.

By following these tips, you can help your dog maintain their fitness levels while ensuring they get the rest they need for a speedy recovery. Remember, it’s crucial to listen to your dog’s body and adjust their routine accordingly.

When to Resume Regular Activities

When your dog starts feeling better after their cold, it’s important to give them time to fully recover before returning to their routine. A good rule of thumb is to wait until your dog has been symptom-free for at least a few days before gradually reintroducing their usual activities.

If your dog was on medication, make sure to finish the full course as prescribed by your veterinarian. Stopping medication prematurely could lead to a relapse or the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

When it comes to exercise, begin with short walks and gradually increase the duration and intensity over a few days. Avoid strenuous exercise or activities that may put a strain on your dog’s respiratory system.

Keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior and monitor for any recurring symptoms. If you notice any changes, reduce their activity level or consult with your veterinarian.

Monitoring Your Dog’s Progress

As your dog recovers from their cold, it’s important to keep a close eye on their progress and observe their symptoms. Here are some key things to look out for:

  • Appetite: Is your dog eating and drinking normally? Lack of appetite can be a sign of a more serious issue.
  • Energy levels: Are they lethargic or more energetic? Dogs may need additional rest during their recovery, but drastic changes in energy levels could be a cause for concern.
  • Coughing and sneezing: Are their coughing and sneezing improving or getting worse? These symptoms may persist for a few weeks after the initial onset, but they should gradually improve over time.
  • Nasal discharge: Is the discharge from their nose clearing up? If the discharge changes color or becomes thicker, it could indicate a secondary infection.

By tracking these symptoms and observing your dog’s behavior, you can get a better sense of how they are recovering and if any changes need to be made to their treatment plan.

Tip: Keep a journal or record of your dog’s progress, noting any changes or improvements. This can be helpful when consulting with your vet or comparing to futurist e colds.

If your dog’s symptoms are not improving or are getting worse, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian for further guidance. They may need to adjust the treatment plan or perform additional tests to determine if there are any underlying issues affecting your dog’s recovery.

Preventing Future Cold Cases

Preventing your dog from catching a cold is not always possible, but there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of them getting sick.


Vaccinations play a vital role in preventing a wide range of illnesses, including colds. Check with your veterinarian to ensure your dog is up-to-date on their vaccinations and to discuss any additional vaccines that may be appropriate for your dog’s lifestyle.

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet can help strengthen your dog’s immune system and reduce their risk of getting sick. Ensure your dog’s diet is well-balanced and includes all necessary nutrients. Avoid feeding them table scraps or foods that are known to cause digestive issues.

Regular Exercise

Exercise is essential for your dog’s overall health and well-being, including a healthy immune system. However, overexertion can weaken your dog’s immune system, leaving them vulnerable to illnesses like colds. Ensure your dog gets regular exercise but takes appropriate breaks during playtime.

Minimize Exposure to Sick Animals

One way to reduce the risk of your dog getting sick is by minimizing their exposure to sick animals. Avoid taking your dog to places where other dogs might be sick, such as boarding facilities or dog parks.

Proper Hygiene Practices

Proper hygiene practices can prevent the spread of illnesses between animals. Disinfect your dog’s toys, bedding, and feeding bowls regularly, and ensure anyone who handles your dog washes their hands thoroughly.

Regular Veterinary Check-Ups

Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help catch any potential health issues before they become serious. Discuss your dog’s vaccination schedule, diet, and exercise routine to ensure they are as healthy as possible.


By following the remedies and tips provided in this guide, you can provide comfort and support to your furry friend during their recovery. Remember, if your dog’s condition worsens or doesn’t improve, don’t hesitate to seek professional veterinary advice. Your veterinarian can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend the best treatment options for your dog’s specific needs.

Preventing future cases of dog colds is also crucial. Regular visits to the veterinarian, vaccination, and a healthy diet can all help reduce the risk of your dog catching another cold. Additionally, practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands and regularly disinfecting your dog’s bedding, can minimize the risk of transmission.

Monitoring your dog’s progress throughout their recovery is essential. Keep an eye out for signs of improvement and be patient as they heal. With the right care and attention, your furry friend will be back to their energetic, playful selves in no time.


What can I give my dog with a cold?

It’s best to consult with a veterinarian before giving your dog any medication. They can recommend appropriate remedies based on your dog’s specific condition.

What are the symptoms of a dog cold?

Common symptoms of a dog cold include coughing, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

When should I see a vet for my dog’s cold?

If your dog’s symptoms worsen or persist for more than a few days, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

How can I care for my dog with a cold at home?

Provide a warm and quiet environment for your dog, ensure they have access to plenty of fresh water, and offer easily digestible and nutritious food.

Are there natural remedies for dog colds?

Yes, natural remedies such as herbal teas, steam therapy, and immune-boosting supplements may help alleviate your dog’s cold symptoms. However, consult with a veterinarian before trying any natural remedies.

Can I use over-the-counter medications for my dog’s cold?

In some cases, over-the-counter medications may be necessary to provide relief to your dog. However, always consult with a veterinarian before administering any medication to ensure appropriate dosage and safety.

What hygiene practices should I follow to prevent the spread of the cold virus?

Practice regular handwashing, clean your dog’s bedding frequently, and disinfect common areas to minimize the risk of transmission to other pets or family members.

How can I balance rest and exercise for my dog with a cold?

It’s important to allow your dog enough rest while still maintaining their overall fitness. Adjust their activity levels by reducing exercise and providing ample opportunities for relaxation.

When can my dog resume regular activities after a cold?

Once your dog starts feeling better and their symptoms have subsided, you can gradually reintroduce regular activities. Monitor their response and consult with a veterinarian if needed.

How should I monitor my dog’s progress during their cold recovery?

Keep an eye on their symptoms, look for signs of improvement such as decreased coughing and increased energy levels, and reassess their condition if their symptoms worsen or don’t improve.

How can I prevent my dog from getting another cold in the future?

Take preventive measures such as regular vaccination, providing a healthy diet, and minimizing exposure to sick animals or environments.

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