Dog flu is highly contagious and can be passed from one breed to another. A dog who does not show symptoms may still be contagious with the disease. Symptoms develop within 2 to 5 days after exposure. Most infected dogs recover within 2 to 3 weeks. Dog flu can progress into pneumonia if not treated or if the immune system is too weak to fight off the infections.
Dog Flu Symptoms
Dogs exposed to the same virus can manifest a wide variety of different symptoms. Dog flu is sometimes confused with kennel cough because one of the symptoms is a dry hacking cough which may last for 1 to 3 weeks. In the dog flu, however, other symptoms may be present. These include blocked sinuses, sneezing, and runny eyes. Yellow or green thick discharge from the nose indicates a nasal infection. If the upper respiratory symptoms are severe enough, the dog's breathing may be rapid and shallow or he may struggle to breathe.
Your dog may also seem depressed or listless and may lose his appetite. He may be dehydrated and have very little energy for playing. If the immune system is too weak, a high fever, up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, or a secondary opportunistic infection such as pneumonia can develop.
Boosting the Dog Immune System
Boosting your dog's immune system will help to quicken the healing from dog flu as well as preventing further outbreaks. It's the job of the immune system to protect your dog's body from cells infected with bacteria, a virus, fungus, or parasites. The immune system also filters out toxins and keeps cells strong enough to combat dog illness such as the dog flu. If the immune system is weak, micro-organisms containing toxins and infections can pass through the immune defending cells.
The best ways to boost the immune system involve basic nutrition and supplements. A dog who eats whole foods free from chemicals and fillers and allergens such as soy, wheat, and corn will have greater health than a dog who has a poor diet. Your dog's diet should be rich in natural ingredients that mimic what he would eat in the wild and the food should have a high moisture content.
A good diet can be supplemented with various vitamins, minerals and herbs. Adding these during an outbreak of dog flu can greatly speed up the recovery process. The neem tea leaf increases the production of T-cells which defend your dog's body when the immune system is under attack. Other supplements such as omega fatty acids, vitamin C and zinc are also helpful to a dog who has the flu.