Health | 1 Min Read

Can dogs catch the flu?

You’re no doubt familiar with the expression ‘sick as a dog’ but you may wonder whether dogs can catch COVID or even the common cold.

Thankfully dogs can’t catch our colds and while there have been some cases of pets testing positive to COVID, the symptoms have been mild. While your dog can’t catch your flu they can still catch respiratory diseases from one another with symptoms mimicking that of humans. 


Sneezing, coughing, running nose, watering eyes and lethargy are classic symptoms of canine respiratory illnesses. If you hear a hacking or honking like cough, your dog may have the highly contagious Kennel Cough. In these cases, please contact your vet and let them know what signs they are presenting with - it’s important to keep your dog isolated from other dogs to prevent spreading the infection.

Be the best nurse for your dog

  • Just like us, fluid intake is important. Frequently replenish their water bowls with fresh, clean water. 
  • If your dog is coughing, use a harness when walking to prevent irritation to the trachea. 
  • Keep your dog quiet so they can recover. No running or active play. Minimize exercise except for short toilet walks outside. Dogs need rest just like us. 
  • Seek urgent veterinary attention if your dog is showing signs of breathing changes or if they appear generally lethargic or unwell.

And what about COVID?

While it is possible for your dog to become infected with COVID, there have been no confirmed cases in Australia. Evidence from overseas suggests that even if a dog becomes infected, they have mild disease and often no symptoms. 

And while overseas cases have shown that a dog can develop a more serious illness, it’s often as a result of pre-existing health conditions. 

At the time of writing, there continues to be no evidence that COVID can be transmitted from dogs to humans. Additionally, there is low risk that pets can infect other animals they’re in close proximity with. 

Lastly, when it comes to COVID vaccination for your dog, the current advice is that it’s not required. There are no approved animal COVID vaccines registered in Australia.