4 Common Winter Pet Illnesses

4 Common Winter Pet Illnesses

February 3, 2022

Wintertime isn’t just the season where many humans start feeling under the weather—it’s also when many pets start getting sick. The good news is that if you know what to look for, you can help keep your pets as healthy as can be.

Continue reading to learn more about some common winter ailments and to get answers to questions like “Can dogs get sick from being cold and wet?”

Kennel cough

Canine infectious tracheobronchitis (or kennel cough) is a viral infection affecting both cats and dogs. While your pet can catch it any time of year, it’s most common in the winter when animals are in close contact with each other for extended periods. Signs of kennel cough include a dry, honking cough, runny nose, sneezing, fever and loss of appetite.

Most cases clear up on their own, but be aware that it is contagious. If one of your pets has it, be sure to isolate them from your other pets.

The sniffles

We often get asked if dogs can get a cold from humans. While it is possible, the chances are extremely low because the viruses that cause colds rarely jump from species to species; however, dogs and cats can get a runny nose and slight cough, just like us.

Take care of your ill pet by wrapping them in a warm blanket and feeding them a bland diet of boneless chicken and rice or chicken soup broth. If your pet is very young or old or has preexisting conditions, you may need to have them examined by a vet.


People also ask us if dogs can get sick from being cold and wet. The answer to that one is absolutely. If dogs or cats are left outside in the cold for prolonged periods, they can catch hypothermia. Symptoms include shivering, lethargy, depression, slow heart rate and stiffness.

If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, take their temperature with a rectal thermometer. If your dog’s temperature is below 100.5°F or your cat’s temperature is below 100.4°F, wrap them in a warm blanket, and take them to the vet.


Spending time in freezing temperatures can also lead to frostbite. This medical condition occurs when your animal’s body gets too cold and starts drawing blood out from the limbs to maintain a safe core body temperature. Frostbite can range in severity from a red nose to blisters or darkened skin.

Your best bet is to bring your pet to the vet if you think they have frostbite. Waiting too long to seek medical attention can lead to complications like gangrene.

Schedule a checkup for your pet today

Do your part to keep your four-legged friend healthy this season by scheduling a routine check-up with our team at St. Francisville Animal Hospital. The team at our animal hospital is equipped to treat any condition, and we work quickly to get your pet back on their feet as soon as possible.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about questions like “Can dogs get a cold from humans?”

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