Did you know your dogs can get the flu? Here's how to protect them

(Bria Bell | WBTV)
(Bria Bell | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Many of us have been using a little bit more hand sanitizer and soap as we all keep a close eye on the flu this season as the virus continues to spread, but did you know dogs could also catch the flu?

It's flu season for us humans and as we all work to stay healthy by keeping our hands clean and paying attention to the possible symptoms of the virus, we can't forget about our furry friends because they too can catch the flu.

"For our dogs, we unfortunately have to be cautious all year round," says Long Animal Hospital Associate Veterinarian Frances Deller.

The influenza virus that affects humans is a tad bit different from the virus that dogs can get.

"If you do have the flu yourself, you don't have to worry about giving it to your dog," Deller adds.

The type of flu that does affect dogs is contagious from K-9 to K-9 and if not treated the results can be deadly.

"It's critical to give your pet the kind of defense that it needs to stay healthy,"  says dog owner Beth Thompson.

"Being on top of shots is the only way to stay safe from all these things that can happen," says Rob Benjamin, another dog owner.

The number one way to make sure your puppy is protected, is to schedule an appointment for a vaccination.

"Definitely, a flu vaccine is something that I would keep current for them," Deller recommends.

And what about cats, can kitties catch the flu too?

Deller confirms, "They cannot, we have not had any reports of flu in kitties."

To determine if your dog has the flu, symptoms include sneezing, coughing or a fever. If you are ever unsure you can always call your local vet as a precaution.

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