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Can My Dog Catch a Human Cold?

I have three dogs. Yes, three! Every morning they walk around sneezing as if they were hit by a dash of pepper, and it made me think about if they were able to catch a cold from me.

Can your dog catch a cold from you? The answer is no. The viruses that cause the colds are quite different.

Signs and Symptoms of Your Dog Having a Cold

Even though your dog can’t catch your cold, they still exhibit similar signs and symptoms to the human condition of having a cold. Look for these symptoms: sneezing, watery eyes, coughing. runny or stuffed up nose.

Though these symptoms may be prevalent, make sure to distinguish these cold symptoms from other possible, more severe symptoms (more below).

Catching a Cold from Other Dogs

So you can’t pass on your cold to your dog, but your dog can catch a cold from other dogs.

If your dog is having cold symptoms it’s a good idea to limit contact with other dogs. This means not taking them out in public, with you to other people’s houses with dogs, and definitely avoiding the dog park. The bottom line, just the same as if you had a cold, be courteous and avoid instances where you can pass it on.

How to Treat Your Dogs Cold

Again, consider what you do to treat your own cold. This includes fluids and rest. Your dog may seem a little off during their cold, acting a tad more lethargic. That’s okay.

As long as they are eating and keeping hydrated you should be okay to help them ride it out. There are a few things you can do to lessen the stress the cold puts on your dog.

Encouraging your dog to rest, drink, and eat benefits their immune system, giving them the resources to fight off the infection. If their nose is runny or their eyes are goopy, you can wash them with a warm, damp cloth to keep them comfortable.

To address their congestion, you can put a humidifier in the room (where they sleep and normally rest). Additionally, to help ease their congestion, you can bring them into the bathroom while you run a hot shower.

When to See a Veterinarian

Your dog will most likely recover on their own in just a day or two. But if the symptoms linger, definitely check in with the vet. Here are a couple of indications that you need to head in for a checkup:

  • Is not eating and drinking
  • Appears to be uncomfortable, more so than you would expect from simple discomfort
  • Has noticeable difficulty breathing
  • Discharge from your dog’s eyes and/or nose is yellow or green
  • If their symptoms haven’t greatly improved within a week

Caution: Do not give your dog over-the-counter cold remedies for humans without first consulting your veterinarian—they are dangerous when given to dogs.


If you have a cold at the same time your dog has a cold, you can go ahead and still snuggle. There is no way that either of you can pass on the cold bug to one another. And there is no way that your dog got the cold from your, or vice versa.

Dogs love human contact and get comfort from their owner’s attention. And let’s face it, so do you!

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