Protecting Your Dog from the Canine Flu

Flu is no fun for humans, and it’s hard on our four-legged friends, too.

When a dog catches the flu, many of the symptoms are similar to those that humans come down with: coughing (which can last 10 – 21 days), sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite and fever.

Because it’s highly contagious, canine influenza can spread rapidly among dogs who are in close contact with each other. It’s transmitted when an infected dog coughs, barks or sneezes around other dogs. While cats can also catch it, there is no evidence that either of the current dog flu strains – H3N8 and H3N2 – can infect humans.

Protecting your pet from the flu during a localized outbreak is pretty simple. First, talk to your vet about vaccination. And second, even if he’s been vaccinated, keep him away from other dogs until the danger has passed.

Of course, if your pup regularly visits daycare or goes to the dog park, the sudden isolation and lack of activity can be “ruff.” Dogs with nothing to do can easily become bored, depressed and even destructive. Here are five great ways to keep your pooch active, entertained and engaged until the flu has flown.

Take Extra Walks

If you normally take your dog for one or two walks a day, try squeezing in an extra outing. Choose off times of the day to reduce the chances of contact with other dogs. And be sure to steer clear of places in your neighborhood where dogs and their owners tend to congregate.

Play More PupPod

Because PupPod is interactive and continues to challenge your dog as he learns, it’s the perfect way to keep him both mentally and physically active. You can work in extra exercise by putting the toy and the rewards in different parts of the house or at opposite ends of the stairs. If your dog is a PupPod pro, try mixing things up by feeding him his whole meal using the toy and the optional Bluetooth feeder. Dogs love this challenge and we’ve seen some pups work for their meals for an hour or more!

DIY Agility

Have you ever wanted to give agility a try? Now’s your chance! With a little creativity, you can set up your own course at home. Create a jump by placing a broom between two chairs (for beginners, start with a broom on the ground and work your way up). Look for a collapsible tunnel at your local toy store. And stick PVC pipes in the ground for the weave poles.

Explore new places

Visiting a location you’ve never been before is a great way to keep your dog’s brain active. Going for a walk or a run in a novel place gives your dog the opportunity to smell, investigate and pee on all new things. His excitement will probably also result in a faster pace, meaning he’ll burn more calories, too. Just scout out the area ahead of time to make sure you won’t encounter a lot of other dogs.

Teach a new trick

Does your dog need to brush up on his manners? Work on leaving that food you just dropped on the floor? Or maybe even learn how to put up his own toys? By carving out some time for training each day, your dog will quickly learn some useful and/or crowd-pleasing behaviors. And when you combine traditional obedience or tricks training with a daily PupPod session, you’ll be amazed at how much happier, more relaxed and better behaved your dog becomes!

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