Contagious Illnesses for Social Dogs


Just like daycares or classes for children, there is always the risk that a dog can catch a virus or cold from socializing with other dogs, or simply being near them. Not only can they catch something at class, daycare or the kennel, they can catch it from the dog park, going into a pet store, passing another dog on the street – Almost anywhere! Some dogs have a higher immune system and do not catch as many viruses; some immune systems in dogs are lower or immature, and are more susceptible.

Here are a few common canine illnesses and their symptoms:

(Kennel Cough, also called Canine Cough)
Bordetella is a bacteria, although there are other viruses that can be a part of the complex. Usually sounds like your dog has something caught in his throat and is trying to cough it up. Dogs do not cough constantly, but usually when they get up from lying down, have been running, eating, etc.

Sometimes their eyes may be goopy and they may have a runny nose. Just like a flu shot, you dog may be vaccinated for kennel cough, but may still acquire it. Kennel Cough, or Canine Cough is an airborne bacteria, so your dog could get it anywhere, even if they never leave their own backyard. You could pick it up on your shoes while walking down the sidewalk and bring it home, they could get it from stepping into a pet store or a vet’s office – even without ever greeting another dog!


Recognized as one of the most common waterborne diseases. Dogs are most likely to get this from drinking standing water from a puddle at a dog park or while on a walk. Our veterinarian states that it is highly unlikely they would acquire Giardia from drinking from the water bowls at daycare or boarding. They could, however, contract Giardia from eating the feces of an infected dog. Some symptoms are diarrhea, gas, greasy stools, and nausea.

Viral Papilloma

Also called “Puppy Warts”. This virus can only be spread among dogs. To become infected, the dog generally needs an immature immune system, thus this infection is primarily one of young dogs and puppies. Viral Papillomas are round, often having a rough, jagged surface looking like a sea anemone or a cauliflower. They occur usually on the lips and muzzle of a young dog. In most cases treatment is unnecessary, but it is always advised to check with your veterinarian.

Just like at a child daycare or even at your workplace, there is always the possibility that your dog can catch a cold or virus from socializing with other dogs.  Not only can they catch it at class or at dog daycare, but at a kennel, the dog park, the pet store, or even just meeting other dogs on their walks.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, please keep him from social settings, and talk to your veterinarian.

Thanks to Dr. Jesse Sondel of Sondel Family Veterinary Clinic, and Dr. Sarah Kalstrup of True Veterinary Care for their input on this information!
–Giene and the Dog Face Team

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