Sneezing & Coughing

Dogs don’t get colds the way we do, but they can get some serious upper respiratory disease. See the doctor.



I have a 7-year-old mixed breed (lab & husky).  Over the past couple of days she has been sneezing and coughing.  Do dogs catch colds? I’m not sure what to do?


Dr Nichol:

Your dog is in good company. I too am mixed bred. I have worked in a lab but have never been husky, though I have wanted to be. I am no longer 7. I’m 39. Again.


Dogs do not catch colds. When we humans have a cold what we really get is a complex of several organisms that may be different from one cold season to the next. Most of the time the primary infectious cause is a virus that is specific to humans. Dogs don’t get this virus. Thus what your girl has is not as simple as: drink plenty of fluids, take extra vitamin C, and wait it out.


So what could cause the sneezing and coughing? There are several possibilities including a foreign body like a grass awn stuck in her throat or an infection in her nasal sinuses. If she is unvaccinated we need to also consider distemper. To get well, antibiotics may be all she needs but her doctor might also suggest diagnostic work like cultures or anesthesia for a special exam of her nose and throat. My advice is that you take this girl directly to your veterinarian. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. She is unlikely to get over this thing on her own.