Canine Influenza: How to Keep Your Dog Healthy During Flu Season

The Flu and the Swine Flu have been the hot topic during the last few months. Dogs are not exempt from catching the flu. Canine Influenza is an H3N8 and H3N2 influenza virus that has been known to exist in horses and can jump species. In 2023, cases of H3N2 influenza respiratory illness in dogs (initially in Philadelphia, North Texas, California and Florida) were reported.

Dogs do not have a natural immunity to this virus because it is so new to dogs. Signs of canine flu are alike the kennel cough, including a thick nasal discharge and slight fever.

Canine influenza is spread by an airborne expulsion and through contaminated surfaces. The virus can stay infectious for close to 48 hours, on garments for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours. Therefore sharing kennels, crates, food and water bowls, collars and leashes are areas that need to be monitored closely when dealing with the virus.

black and white short coat medium dog on snow covered ground during daytime

There are similar respiratory infections that mimic the dog flu. Two blood samples can confirm canine influenza. One blood sample is drawn while the dog is sick and the second 2 to 3 weeks later.

There are canine influenza vaccines for H3N2 and H3N8 which have proven to reduce the occurrence and severity of lung lesions, as well as the duration of coughing and the overall virus. The vaccine is made from inactivated virus and is administered by an injection in two doses, two to four weeks apart. The canine influenza vaccine may be given to dogs six weeks of age or older and can be given annually for flu protection. Dog owners should seek advice from with their veterinarian to determine whether the vaccine is appropriate for their dog.

At the moment, there is no confirmation that humans can catch the canine influenza virus from dogs. To back this up, there has been no recognized cases of humans infected to date.

Similar to the Swine Flu and the Seasonal Flu, it is inevitable that dogs will continue to spread the virus. Owners should take the necessary precautions to keep your dog in good physical shape during this flu season. No need to worry about your dog contracting the virus while visiting your Veterinarian as most trustworthy Pet Professionals normally keep their clinics disinfected and are conscious of unhealthy symptoms of their patients.


  • Joanne Gallagher

    The guest author is a passionate dog lover and enthusiast with years of experience in canine care and training. With a deep understanding of dog behavior and a commitment to promoting responsible pet ownership, the author shares insightful tips and engaging stories to enrich the lives of both dogs and their owners. The views and opinions expressed in articles written by guest authors on our website are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of our platform.

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