Avoid the Dog Flu This Winter

By December 04 | See Comments

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Avoid the Dog Flu This Winter
dog-flu-blog

Once winter rolls into town, many parents will take their kids to the doctor to get the flu vaccine. No one wants to spend long days shivering under a blanket, but are dog owners neglecting to protect their furry friends?

The story of dog flu

According to Dogster, the pooch version of the influenza virus - called H3N8 - was

first identified in 2004

. The canine strain is highly contagious among dogs, but has never affected veterinarians or pet parents. Infection risks increase in places with a large number of dogs and high turnover rates, such as animal shelters and kennels. There's an optional vaccine for canines who don't frequent these facilities, too.The dog flu affects their respiratory systems and results in symptoms that are similar to kennel cough, which is considered to be the common cold for pooches. The virus spreads both through the air and infected objects that have come into contact with carriers. Like other diseases, young puppies and senior dogs are at the greatest risk due to weakened immune systems.Because it's relatively new, canines don't have a natural immunity to the virus like humans do. Therefore, their

symptoms can fluctuate anywhere from mild to severe

, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infected pooches might start coughing, sneezing, or even develop a slight fever.If pooches are sick with the flu, their treatment usually involves the same protocols as humans - lots of rest and water. However, any severe cases will require a visit to the vet's office for professional treatment.

Manage dog health care in the winter

The extreme cold is on its way, and with it comes the risk of disease. But the right precautions allow owners to practice optimal

dog health care

to ensure that their furry friends avoid canine flu and other diseases.The Association of Professional Dog Trainers explained that one of the hazards that pups face during the winter is

paw damage from the harsh weather conditions

. Salt is usually poured onto roads and sidewalks to prevent slips, but the material can cause severe irritation to the paw pads. The source recommended pet parents purchase boots to protect their pooches from salt and chafing.Signing up for

PetPlus

grants owners access to countless accessories and supplements at discounted prices that can make

dog health care

easy to maintain.

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