While pets can become ill any time of year, chances are higher in winter. Much like their pet parents, dogs and cats can experience sneezing, weakness, and nose and eye discharge. But can they catch our cold or flu?
Of course, not all canine and feline colds and flu is of the human kind. But, yes, humans can spread colds and flu to cats, according to veterinary experts.
“The virus attaches to cells in the respiratory tract of felines similarly to how it does in humans,” says Scott Weese, a Canadian researcher. He points to reports of H1N1 found in cats. Some viruses are also spread from cat-to-cat, though humans can’t catch those, Weese says.
Dogs, however, are free and clear from human viruses according to Weese, who tells Reader’s Digest dogs get viruses from each other.
One of the best ways to prevent your pet from becoming sick is to ensure he’s got a clean bowl and fresh water. Recently we wrote about the risks associated with public dog bowls. Dogs can contract highly contagious diseases like influenza virus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, and tuberculosis – even life threatening illness like canine distemper.
It’s always best to have your pet checked by a veterinarian, especially if symptoms worsen. If it’s a milder cold or flu, PetMD offers some great advice for caring for your sick pet.