While there are vaccinations for dogs that are required for pets, there are also dog vaccinations that are considered optional. One of these is a flu shot for dogs. Veterinarians will not force you to get a flu shot for your dog each year, but they may recommend it in certain cases. If you are not sure if your dog would benefit from this, here are several things you should know.
What Is Canine Influenza?
When dogs get the flu, it is called canine influenza. This is not the same type of flu that people get, and it cannot be spread from dogs to people. The dog flu does result in similar symptoms for dogs as the flu does with people, though.
For example, if your dog gets the flu, it may begin to feel very tired. It may also have a persistent cough, and it may also sneeze a lot and have watery eyes. Dogs with the flu also tend to feel very lethargic, run fevers, and even lose their appetites. Dogs that contract the flu typically experience symptoms for 10 to 21 days, but this varies. A dog with the flu may feel just like a person with the flu feels, and the dog will need a lot of rest until it feels better.
When Should You Get This Shot for Your Dog?
The flu in dogs is highly contagious, and it is transmitted through respiratory secretions which occur from barking or coughing. It can also be spread if a dog drinks out of the same water dish as a dog with the flu. Any type of contact between dogs and their saliva can spread the flu from dog to dog.
Because of this, you may want to consider getting your dog immunized against the flu if your dog will be around other dogs. For example, if you board your dog often at a dog kennel, you should consider getting it this vaccination. In fact, some kennels require that all dogs have this vaccination before they can stay. The purpose is to reduce the chances of dogs spreading the flu to each other.
You should also consider getting it if your dog goes to a groomer for services or if you take your dog to dog parks. In addition, if you are planning on traveling to a different city or state with your pet, you should consider protecting it by getting this vaccination.
If your dog will be around other dogs at all, getting the flu vaccination is a good idea. It's important to note that this vaccination does not protect a dog against all strains of the flu, but it does protect it against the main strains that affect dogs.
Are There Other Reasons to Get This for Your Dog?
If you love your dog and do not want to see it get sick, getting vaccinations for it is one of the best steps you can take as a dog owner. If your dog ends up with the flu, you will need to take it to the vet to receive medication for it. Most vets treat this with anti-inflammatory medications or antibiotics. If you can avoid having to give your dog medication, it is probably a good idea. You can talk to your vet about this, though, to see if your dog should get this vaccination or not.
Getting the flu shot for your dog is entirely your decision, but keep in mind that it can protect your dog. If you would like to learn more about flu vaccinations and other types of pet vaccinations, visit a veterinarian clinic today.