Vaccinating your pet is a great way of helping them to stay happy and healthy, especially when it comes to diseases such as canine influenza.
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know to help you decide whether to vaccinate your dog against canine influenza by answering the following questions:
- What are the symptoms of canine influenza?
- Does my dog need a canine influenza vaccine?
- When should I vaccinate my dog for influenza?
- Is the canine influenza vaccine 2 shots?
- Does the canine influenza vaccine have side effects?
- How long is a dog contagious with canine influenza?
Vaccinations are a great option for pet parents to help keep their dogs happy and healthy. So let’s take a look at the canine influenza vaccine in detail to help you make the best choice for your pet.
Disclaimer: Please refer to the information in this article as a guide only. If you want more information about vaccinating your pet, contact your veterinarian.
What are the symptoms of canine influenza?
The symptoms of canine influenza can occur following a dog’s exposure to the virus in the environment or to an infected dog. It can also be involved in dogs who are suffering from kennel cough.
Canine influenza shows similar symptoms to flu in pet parents, which can include:
- Lack of appetite.
- A cough that lasts for a few weeks.
- Reduced energy.
- Material (discharge) exiting the eyes or nose.
- Increased temperature.
If your dog is showing one of the above symptoms, then it’s best to take them to your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Don’t forget, that seeking advice early on in, often increases the chances of your pet making a thorough recovery.
It’s also good for pet parents to know that not all dogs who are infected with canine influenza show symptoms. This makes matters for pet parents with unvaccinated pets complicated, as it’s not possible to avoid the infection by keeping dogs away from other dogs who appear unwell.
If your dog enjoys spending time with other dogs, or in environments where dogs are frequently present (such as parks or groomers), then the risk that they will come into contact with canine influenza is probably pretty high.
Here’s a selection of the best dog vitamins that would help improve your dog’s health before vaccination:
Does my dog need a canine influenza vaccine?
Vaccinations work by exposing your pet to a killed or inactive form of the disease-causing microorganism. This means, that if your pet comes into contact with the microorganism again, since their immune system has already met it, it will develop a faster response.
Overall, this means that your pet is less likely to develop a serious form of the disease vaccinated, which can sometimes even be life-saving. Not only does this help keep your pet happy and healthy, but it can also save pet parents from high veterinary costs associated with the hospitalisation of infected animals.
Although mild infections of canine influenza can be treated by a veterinarian, it’s best to prevent them from occurring in the first place. The possibility of your dog being able to recover from canine influenza depends on a variety of factors, but sadly this disease can be fatal in some cases.
Since it can survive in the environment, and not all infected dogs show symptoms, vaccination can be a great tool in helping to keep your pet protected.
When should I vaccinate my dog for influenza?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the first vaccination can be given to your dog when they are six weeks old.
They then need to have another vaccination between two and four weeks afterwards, and a booster vaccination every year after. It’s important not to forget the booster, as it could mean your pet needs to start the whole vaccination course again.
We recommend setting a reminder and talking to your veterinarian about which vaccinations they recommend for your pet.
Is the canine influenza vaccine 2 shots?
Yes, as we explained earlier, the canine influenza vaccine involves two initial shots, and then a booster vaccination every year afterwards. Booster vaccinations are very important, as they help ensure that your pet remains protected, so don’t forget to set a reminder else your dog may need to start their vaccinations again.
Does the canine influenza vaccine have side effects?
Just like with us humans, after they’ve had a vaccination, your pet might not feel 100% themselves for a short while. They may be a little more tired than normal, and you may also notice a small lump at the injection site. This is nothing to worry about and usually passes after a short while.
In rare cases, your dog can develop a severe allergic reaction to the vaccination, called anaphylaxis. In this case, you might observe some of the following symptoms, you need to take your dog to a veterinarian immediately:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Raised, red, bumps on the skin (Hives).
How long is a dog contagious with canine influenza?
Canine influenza is pretty contagious, with dogs suffering from symptoms after being exposed to the virus either directly from an affected animal or in an environment contaminated by secretions from an infected dog.
Infected dogs are thought to be a source of infection for other dogs (and cats) for around four weeks after they were first exposed to the virus. This means it’s very important to keep infected dogs separate from other animals.
The canine influenza virus can survive for 1-2 days in the environment, however is easily killed by common disinfectants. If your dog has canine influenza, then it’s best to check with your veterinarian regarding how best to minimize the risk to other pets.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article about the canine influenza vaccine. Vaccinating your pet is a great way of minimizing your pet’s chances of becoming sick from preventable diseases and is recommended by veterinarians.
Charlotte qualified as a veterinarian in 2023 and has been working as a writer for several years helping pet parents understand how to help their pets live happy healthy lives whilst pursuing her interests in wildlife conservation.
She enjoys traveling and has undertaken positions in Belgium, Spain, Austria, Germany, and the Galapagos and has a 15-year-old rescue dog called Chiki.