Avian flu. Swine flu. MERS and SARS. Is there anything else out there that can send a chill down our backs despite dressing in our Canada Goose gear? It is easy to become fearful for our health with all the viruses going around given it is so contagious. After all, you did your best to stand as far away from the red-eyed, sniffling person on the train and God knows you didn’t touch any hand rails or grips on the subway (duh), but you got dooped by shaking hands with someone that didn’t even look sick – a carrier of the virus. Nature’s form of trickery. The host is defeated but won’t start suffering for a couple of days yet which is long enough to get others sick. If you have children you know this for a fact.

It is easy to get caught up in the kerfuffle of vaccines, hand sanitizer and avoidance of all human contact during flu season, but recently, another population is being affected by those venom viruses and this time they’ve got four legs. Yes, that’s right, in Canada we are now seeing our pooches being affected by runny noses, watery eyes, cough, fever and lethargy. Just like, humans there are those who are more susceptible to getting sick than others such as those that already have respiratory issues but even healthy pups are no exception to getting the flu. And yes, just like the human flu, it is every bit as contagious.

That being said we do have one advantage over our pups that can help them through this terrible time – Google and the news. Stay informed for them and you can help protect them. Now, I did not know this, but it turns out you can get a flu shot for your pup (talk to your vet). There have not been many incidents of canine flu in Canada so quantities may not be running rampant but it is out there.

Here’s what you can do to protect your pup. First, take a breath! It is contagious amongst dogs but not communicable to humans (we’ve got our own microscopic predators to deal with). So to protect your pup and make sure you don’t let your dogs do what you wouldn’t do.


  • DO quarantine them if your dog is sick and even if your hands are raw from regular hand washing and sanitizing, don’t get lazy around your pups.
  • If you’ve been handling a sick pup, make sure you wash your hands well before handling another pooch.
  • Remember, for viruses it’s all about contact so avoid it at all costs.


  • Don’t let them share food and water bowls,
  • Don’t let them sniff or lick other dogs.

Remember this flu season to protect yourself the best way you know how but also keep an eye out for your bestest friend. He’s a hero, of course, but his kryptonite this year may be the flu.