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How to Help Your Puppy Get Over a Cold

Profile picture of the author - Anna Lengacherby Anna Lengacher

Cough. Sneeze. Wheeze.

It’s obvious your puppy is far from living her best life.

She’s uncomfortable, and her nose is a bit runny too.

Sound familiar?

If this describes your puppy, it’s likely she has the flu.


Yes, believe it or not, dogs and puppies get colds too.

Though they get sick for different reasons than us, there are shared symptoms and comparable home remedies you should know to help them recover.

Today you’re about to discover what signs to look for, how to treat them, and when it’s time to see your local veterinarian.

Welcome! I’m glad you’re here.


Know the Symptoms

Similar to newborn babies, a puppy’s immune system is still developing and is slow in fighting bacteria and viruses on its own.

The result? They are highly susceptible to catching a cold.

Fortunately, we cannot pass our colds to them, nor can puppies pass their colds to us.

Nonetheless, just like us, they can still experience cold-like symptoms when feeling ill.

Symptoms that your puppy may be suffering from a cold include:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • wheezing
  • runny nose
  • headache
  • fever
  • red eyes
  • congested nose


Know the Home Remedies

sad sick puppy

When your puppy is ill, over-the-counter medicines usually aren’t recommended for puppy care, particularly not human cold medicines.

Instead, it’s the old-fashioned home remedies that are preferred to soothe and relieve puppy cold symptoms.


1. Chicken Soup

First up is chicken soup!

As odd as it might sound, chicken soup is a wonderful source of nutrients for puppies.

It’s packed with nutrition, provides needed energy, and encourages hydration too.

Choose a low-sodium version with chicken breast and brown rice, or try a homemade recipe for dogs, then serve it lukewarm straight to your little fur pal.


2. Steam

Steam keeps a puppy’s bronchial passages open and moist, making it easier for them to breathe.

To create steam, you can run hot water in the bathroom, close the door, and sit with your puppy as he breathes in steam from the tub/shower.

Alternatively, you can use a humidifier.


3. Stay Hydrated

Provide your little pup with lots of liquids when he’s feeling down.

Pure, filtered water and broth from soup are excellent sources of hydration.

Avoid giving juice as it’s high in sugar and not the best for your puppy’s stomach.


4. Stay Warm

Provide your puppy with lots of rest in warm, insulated bedding.

Protect your puppy from feeling cold.

Give him plenty of rest in warm, insulated bedding.

You might even consider heating up his bed with a hot water bottle, a heating pad, or really pamper him with a heated pet bed.


5. Keep Your Puppy Away From Other Animals

While you won’t be getting a cold from your puppy, this doesn’t always hold true for other dogs and animals.

Colds can travel easily from one pup to the next, whether it’s via a shared food dish, a favorite blanket, or just being in the same room together.

As such, when your puppy is showing signs of the cold, separate him from other dogs and animals.

This way you can keep the sickness contained and avoid spreading sickness to your other household pets.


6. Be Proactive

Don’t wait for the cold to set in before doing something about your puppy’s health.

Get a step ahead by taking action to build your puppy’s immune system.

Fresh air and sunshine are wonderful sources of vitamin D.

In addition, feed your puppy high-quality dog food specific to your puppy’s age.

Puppy, adult dogs, and senior canines all benefit from different kibble combinations.

So look for an age-appropriate dog food full of vitamins and nutrients.

By feeding your puppy a healthy diet, his immune system is able to grow stronger and is quicker to fight off unwanted doggy colds.


Know When to See Your Vet

Sometimes attention, love, and home remedies aren’t enough to cure your pup from a cold.

If your puppy stops eating, coughing is incessant, or coughing interferes with your puppy’s sleep, it’s time to see your vet.

Kennel Cough is the most common cause of colds and is treated with medicine.

If your puppy’s been coughing consistently, has a low fever, and yellow discharge from his nose, go ahead and see your vet for a diagnosis.

Also, if your pup’s been sick a few days or isn’t showing signs of improvement, visit your vet for the right puppy care.

Left untreated, colds and viruses may develop into pneumonia – that painful inflammation of the lungs, coughing, and breathing difficulty that plagues us.


Along the way, be alert to your intuition.

Deep down, what are you sensing is best for your puppy?

If you have doubts, don’t wait; see your vet.

Both you and your puppy will rest easier.


Or if you prefer to start with home remedies, your international puppy care at home can also go a long way.

What’s right for one puppy may be different for the next.

Yes, take advice.

Yet at the end of the day, what is your intuition telling you?


Puppy Cold FAQ

Q. Can dogs get colds? 

Yes, dogs can get colds. However, they do not catch them from humans, and neither can they pass them to humans. However, dogs of all ages can develop cold-like symptoms.


Q. How can you tell if your dog has a cold? 

Similar to humans, cold-like symptoms for dogs and puppies include coughing, wheezing, sneezing, red eyes, and a runny nose. They may also develop a fever and/or headache too.


Q. Do dog colds go away on their own? 

If it’s just a mild cold, then yes, it will likely go away by itself provided the puppy has lots of rest, liquids, and a place to stay warm.


Q. What can you do for a dog that has a cold? 

Feed your puppy chicken soup, provide steam via a humidifier, keep your pup hydrated, ensure your puppy stays warm, and separate your puppy from other dogs and animals.


That’s a wrap.

Now you know both the signs of detecting a puppy cold, along with how to treat the illness.

At the end of the day, know that you are your puppy’s best advocate.

No one cares for your puppy quite like you do.

You got this!

Profile picture of the author - Anna LengacherAs the Editor in Chief, Anna Lengacher helps dog lovers learn the ropes of finding, raising, and caring for their dogs so they can enjoy many happy memories together.

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