It’s hard to imagine your pet having the same illnesses as you do during the winter months…but it’s true that dogs can contract viral infections that cause cold-like symptoms. If your dog has a cold, you can help him stay comfortable and recover. A veterinary examination is often necessary for infections, but you can also treat viral illnesses at home. 

First it's important to recognize the symptoms of a canine cold: lethargy, runny nose, watery eyes, coughing and sneezing. 

What you can do to treat and reduce the duration of your dog's cold

1) Food and Water. Provide your dog with as much food and water as he wants, to provide the energy to fight off the infection. 

2) Healthy Food only! Food that is not meant for dogs can only make the situation worse. Provide him with food that is rich in nutrients that will help to improve his condition.  

3) Be Aware of Dehydration. Sick dogs are prone to dehydration because they do not feel up to drinking, and running a fever can cause fluid loss. Make sure water is available to your dog all day long, and encourage him to drink it whenever you can.

4) Try Broth. Dogs love soup and broth when they’re feeling under the weather, so try giving your dog warm broth if he acts disinterested in food.  This will also add some caloric intake and will be soothing to your dog.  

5) Try a Steam Bath. Put your dog in the bathroom with the hot water running for about 10 minutes.  This will moisten the mucus passages and may make the dog’s cough more productive, helping to break up the congestion in his airways.

6) Enforce Rest. Rest is the key to recovery from illness so don’t push play or exercise at this time. Allow your dog to rest and recover.

If you keep a sick dog hydrated, provide him with a healthy diet, and let him rest, his cold will be gone in no time!  If the cold seems to be prolonged, there infection could require antibiotics from the veterinarian.  Call your vet with any other questions or concerns.