Dogs suffering from a cold or respiratory infection may exhibit symptoms such as a runny nose, a mucus discharge from its eyes, a cough and or a slight fever. As in the case of all illnesses, it is best to act quickly and treat the patient before the condition becomes worse. Fortunately, because dogs live in such close proximity to people, it is easy to notice the first signs of a cold, which normally manifests itself through a general lethargy. Although a veterinarian may need to examine the dog, most dog owners are quite capable of caring for and medicating their ill dog.
Offer your dog fluids on a regular basis. Boil a small piece of chicken or a number of beef bones and add the broth, once it has cooled, to the dog's water to encourage it to drink. Draw up water into a syringe and drip this into the corner of the dog's mouth if the animal is particularly lethargic. Obtain a powered electrolyte solution from your veterinarian, which can be mixed into the dog's water to control dehydration.
Give your dog steam treatment. Steam will ease your dog's tight chest. Allow a bath or shower to run until the bathroom has steamed up and then sit with the dog in the closed room for up to 15 minutes. A steam treatment should be repeated two to three times per day.
Add vitamins to the dog's diet. Vitamin B complex increases appetite, which is helpful if the dog is refusing food. Moreover, vitamins boost the animal's immune system, which is important when the dog is fighting or recovering from a cold. Vitamins A, C and E can all be included in the diet during treatment and recovery.
Administer a cough suppressant during severe bouts of coughing in order to relieve some of the animal's discomfort. Contact a vet about which cough suppressant to use and how much is safe to administer.
Seek veterinary assistance. Colds in dogs are the first stages of a respiratory infection, which may involve the parainfluenza virus. Always seek veterinary assistance if a dog's cold becomes worse, because if left untreated, viruses could lead to the death of the dog.