What Is the Treatment for a Dog With a Cold?

Having a sick pet dog can be distressing for both owners and dogs alike. Dogs often contract respiratory illnesses which have similar symptoms to the human cold virus, such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose and runny eyes. The American Veterinary Medical Association states that treating these symptoms with medicinal and natural remedies can help your dog feel better.


While dogs do not get the same cold virus that humans get, the symptoms of a respiratory infection are very similar. The Dog Health Guide lists some cold-type infections that dogs get, such as parainfluenza, kennel cough, pneumonia and distemper and includes a list of treatments such as antibiotics, vaporiser, limiting outdoor time, rest or a steam treatment.

Natural Remedies

According to the Dog Health Guide, certain vitamins and herbs help boost a dog's immune system and speed up recovery times from cold-like illnesses. Health stores carry herbs such as Elder flowers, Mullein leaves, calcium sulphate, ferrum phosphoricum and Hepar sulphuris.


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that antibiotics work on bacterial infections such as parainfluenza and some types of kennel cough. If your dog's cold is viral, antibiotics will not help the symptoms or make the dog feel better. However, a dog with a virus has a compromised immune system, meaning secondary bacterial infections are common.


According to the CDC, keeping your dog up-to-date with its vaccinations can prevent certain canine viruses, such as canine influenza, distemper and kennel cough. Mar Vista Animal Medical Center states that these illnesses are contagious and spread between dogs in kennel environments such as boarding facilities and animal shelters. Boarding kennels often require a dog to be current on its vaccinations before it can stay.


According to the Dog Health Guide, giving a dog an over-the-counter cough or cold medicine is not a good idea unless specifically directed by a vet because dogs can easily overdose on human cough and cold medication.

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About the Author

Writing since 2009, Catherine Hiles is a British writer currently living Stateside. Her articles appear on websites covering topics in animal health and training, lifestyle and more. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Chester in the United Kingdom.