Opinion column: Pets, do dogs catch cold? | Digital medium The Northern Fox

Dogs do have respiratory symptoms with symptoms similar to those of humans. Not subjecting them to the cold for a long time helps to avoid them, always considering that, depending on the breed, their ability to regulate body temperature varies.

Warmer clothing and heating are some things we activate to combat the cold and avoid catching a cold, but what about pets?

Antonio Bizama, academician of Veterinary Medicine at the San Sebastián University and director of the Master’s program in Small Animal Clinics, explains that, although it is not called a cold; dogs do have respiratory symptoms in the upper airways, with runny nose, congestion and cough. They are contagious among themselves, but are not transmitted to humans. Nor do viruses that affect people infect pets.

Can we vaccinate dogs to prevent these pictures?

There are polyvalent vaccines that prevent diseases such as adenovirus type 2 and parainfluenza, viruses that cause respiratory conditions in the upper airways. They are administered annually and, in turn, protect against pathologies such as distemper.

There are other complementary ones, such as the KC vaccine, which acts against tracheobronchitis, which is characterized by irritation of the mucosa of the trachea and the upper respiratory tract, causing an intense and persistent cough. Tracheobronchitis is highly contagious among dogs, which is why it has been colloquially called kennel cough.

Can vaccines be supplemented with vitamins?

There are no vitamins or minerals that prevent upper respiratory diseases except a good diet; keep animals dewormed; and not expose them to too much cold, as this favors the presentation of this type of pathology.

Are there breeds that have a harder time regulating their temperature?

There are differences between races. Those with long fur, such as a Siberian or Saint Bernard, are adapted to the cold and have no complications being close to 0°C. It is different for those with short fur, such as bulldogs and boxers, which should not be subjected to less than 7°C.

Considering that dogs heat the air they breathe in through the nasal cavity, brachycephalic (short-snouted) dogs, such as pugs, are less efficient at gaining heat. Another group of special attention is the elderly or those with serious chronic diseases such as cancer, joint or heart problems; because their temperature control mechanisms are less efficient. They should not be exposed to low temperatures, since a respiratory condition could have other consequences or complicate their underlying disease.

How to protect them from the cold?

When an animal is subjected to an excess of temperature, heat loss mechanisms are activated, which is why it is harmful to remove it abruptly to a frozen environment. Ideally, they should not stay in very cold places for more than 30 minutes, so it is important to prioritize short walks and avoid the time when the minimum is recorded. If possible, an alternative is to wear a layer or shoes to keep them warm, remembering that temperature control is by air.

Is it advisable to suspend the walks? On very cold days, it is advisable to limit the exposure time. Depending on the breed and its needs for open air and space, if the walks are shortened, it is suggested to make up for this difference by enriching the environment with toys and having activities inside the house. It is also important that they are not subjected to excessive heating. How do you know what the optimal point is? Dogs regulate their temperature by moving away or approaching heat sources.

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Opinion column: Pets, do dogs catch cold? | Digital medium The Northern Fox

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