Does your dog need a flu shot?
The H3N8 influenza virus, or canine flu, affects dogs of all ages and can cause serious flu-like symptoms for a couple weeks. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a flu vaccine for canines, not every dog may need it.
Dogs most at risk of canine influenza
- Young and older dogs are more susceptible to the more serious form of the disease.
- If you’ve recently adopted a dog from an animal shelter, rescue group or pet store, it has a higher risk of coming in contact with the canine flu virus.
- Other high risk areas for dogs include dog parks, kennels and doggie daycare.
- If you live in (or your dog has recently visited) Colorado, Florida, New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania, your dog has a higher risk of getting the virus. More cases have been reported in these areas.
What to do if your dog exhibits flu symptoms
- Symptoms in dogs include a persistent cough and runny nose along with a fever and could last at least 10 days.
- Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog is coughing. Inform the office staff so they can avoid spreading the disease in the waiting room.
- Local veterinarians know how high the influenza risk is for their practice areas. Discuss whether your dog needs the vaccine.
- Dogs that already have the flu may need the vaccine because it can reduce the duration and severity of illness.
- Use dog groomers and boarding facilities that are reputable and where you feel comfortable. Ask the facilities what steps they will take if dogs appear ill.