Dogs are susceptible to a wide variety of viral and bacterial infections, but vaccines are available to protect your pet from many of them. There are also things you can do to help prevent and treat other infections, but you may still have to deal with your dog getting sick sometimes.
So, do dogs get colds? Upper respiratory infections will cause your pet to experience dog cold 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, have them examined by a veterinarian you trust to diagnose and treat the condition.
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Taking a dog's temperature
A dog who is experiencing chills along with symptoms such as a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing may be running a fever and should have their temperature checked. A dog's normal body temperature typically ranges between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature that is higher than 102.5 degrees is considered to be a fever.
You can choose an aural (ear) or rectal thermometer to take your dog's temperature but don't choose a glass thermometer because of the risk of breakage. Taking your dog's temperature might be a two-person task. One person can hold and calm the dog while the other person inserts the thermometer in the ear canal or rectum depending on the thermometer you're using. Be sure to follow all the thermometer manufacturer's instructions and consider giving your dog a treat if they're up for eating it after you've taken their temperature.
Administer antibiotics to your dog as needed
If your dog is suffering from a bacterial infection, your veterinarian may need to prescribe them an antibiotic to help them return to good health quickly. Antibiotics may be prescribed for illnesses, like kennel cough. Kennel cough is a bacterial infection that spreads from dog to dog and is common in boarding facilities and animal shelters. If you think your dog has kennel cough, keep them away from other dogs until they have healed.
How to help when your dog has a cold
Give your dog plenty of love and supportive care to help them recover from the fever quickly. Keep them in a warm room that is free of drafts to help combat chills. Do not give your dog over-the-counter human fever reducers. Medicines for human beings can poison dogs and otherwise cause serious health consequences.
If your dog is sick, limit their activities and place them in an area where your dog can be kept quiet and is unlikely to become stressed. An indoor room where they are 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 them 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.
Take care of other causes of chills in dogs
If your dog seems healthy and then rapidly develops chills, tremors, vomiting, or other symptoms of illness, these may be symptoms of poisoning rather than a cold or fever. Ingesting poison can cause a dog to start shaking or trembling, or they can even have seizures. Seizures, which in some cases may be mistaken for chills, can also be caused by heat stroke, canine epilepsy, and a number of other serious conditions, such as cancer, pancreatitis, and diseases of the immune system.
Hypothermia can also cause chills. If your dog has been exposed to a cold environment and is shivering, take quick actions. Dry their fur thoroughly if wet and put them in a warm room. Next, wrap your pet in warm towels and blankets that have been heated in a dryer. If your pet's temperature is 99 degrees F or lower, take them to your veterinarian right away.
Also, if your dog is acting ill and experiencing chills, has a sudden onset of symptoms, or intermittently seems to suffer from shaking or trembling, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.