What Can You Give Your Dog if He Has a Cold & Chills?

By Jen Davis

Dogs, much like their owners, are capable of catching an assortment of illnesses. Upper respiratory infections will cause your pet to experience symptoms similar to what a human does with a common cold. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, runny nose or eyes, lethargy and, in some cases, the chills or shaking. Anytime your dog is sick, it is a good idea to have him examined by a veterinarian to ensure proper diagnosis and prompt treatment of illnesses.


A dog that is experiencing chills along with symptoms such as a runny nose, coughing and sneezing needs to have its temperature checked. A dog's normal body temperature typically ranges between 101 degrees and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature that is higher than 102.5 degrees is considered to be a fever.


If your dog is suffering from a bacterial infection, your veterinarian may need to prescribe him an antibiotic to help him return to good health quickly. Penicillin is commonly given to dogs, as is tetracycline. Antibiotics are the normal course of treatment if your veterinarian suspects your dog is suffering from a cold-like illness such as kennel cough. Kennel cough is a bacterial infection that spreads from dog to dog and is common in boarding facilities and animal shelters.

Love and Attention

Give your dog plenty of love and attention to help him recover from his fever quickly. Keep him in a warm room that is free of drafts to help combat chills and give him plenty of fluids. If his fever is higher than 103, wet his fur with some cool water to help bring his fever down. Do not give your dog over-the-counter human fever reducers. It is very easy to overdose a dog on human medicines and can cause serious health consequences.

Limit his activities and place him in an area where he can be kept quiet and is unlikely to become stressed. An indoor room where he is separated from children and other pets is a good place for a sick dog. You can place a humidifier in the room to help alleviate your dog's runny nose and congestion. A warm blanket or bed to lay in may help keep him more comfortable. Avoid table scraps and treats until your dog is feeling better. These items can be difficult to digest and may upset a sick dog's stomach.

A Note About Chills

If your dog seems healthy and then rapidly develops chills, tremors, vomiting or other symptoms of illness, these may be the symptoms of poisoning rather than a cold or fever. Ingesting poison can cause a dog to start shaking, trembling or even have seizures. Seizures, which in some cases may be mistaken for "chills," can also be caused by heat stroke and canine epilepsy. If your dog is experiencing the chills without a fever or exposure to unusually cold weather, has a sudden onset of symptoms or intermittently seems to suffer from shaking or trembling, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.