Sinus pressure. Coughing. Congestion. Feeling under the weather. While we are starting to enjoy the warmer temperatures (fingers crossed) and much needed sunshine, those afflictions are also signs of spring for many of us – humans. Unfortunately as the weather starts to heat up and the rain comes, our furry family members are at risk for many of the same symptoms and illnesses as well. The warmer days and dampness are a germ’s breeding ground and they can be spread amongst dogs – similarly to humans (through fecal matter, airborne, or other close contact). So let’s examine two of the most common illnesses in our pups – what it looks like, how long it can last, and how to prevent (or reduce) the chance of spreading germs.

Stomach Bug

  • Duration: usually 24-48 hours
  • Possible Symptoms: vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea
  • Additional Information: Regrettably, the stomach sickness in dogs is almost identical to the stomach flu in humans. MOST stomach bugs do not require a trip to the vet; however, you know your dog best – so if symptoms persist, he/she is refusing fluids, and/or they are a senior dog or a dog with additional medical issues – it would be best to consult your dog’s doctor. All dogs – assuming that they are feeling up to it – can return to daycare 48 hours after symptoms cease.

 

Kennel Cough or Upper Respiratory Infections

  • Duration: can last 1-2 weeks
  • Possible Symptoms: runny nose, reverse sneezing, sneezing, hacking/coughing, or choking up mucous or phlegm
  • Additional Information: As with upper respiratory infections in humans, there is always the risk and concern over a secondary infection in our pets. Again, you know your dog best – so if symptoms persist, he/she is refusing food and fluids, and/or they are a senior dog or dog with additional medical issues – it would be best to call your dog’s vet. All dogs – assuming that they are feeling up to it – can return to daycare 48 hours after symptoms cease.

Unfortunately, daycare for dogs is a lot like daycare for humans – close contact, no sense of personal space, and not nearly enough hand (err, paw) washing – and can see illness spread quickly. As your dog plays in the mud outside, they will be exposed to pathogens – some that can cause the above illnesses and some that are completely harmless – and subsequently, when they lick their paws to “clean” them, they have now ingested whatever they have stepped on or in – yuck!

One way to help prevent illness is to clean your dogs paws often – especially after they have been outside playing and even when they do not appear dirty. (Think of it as the equivalent of taking your shoes off before entering your home.) Pet owners can also increase the disinfection of ALL surfaces – toys, bowls, floors, and even the yard and be on high alert for immediate clean up of messes (especially with multiple dogs). Finally, being aware of the symptoms of common illnesses in your dog and keeping them home from daycare/boarding when they are showing symptoms can help us keep all of our dogs as healthy as possible.