Canine influenza aka Dog Flu is a menacing new threat to all dogs.  The emergence of the new virus caused a lot of uproar and worry last year when there was a large outbreak in NY that affected thousands of dogs. This has naturally led to many questions about the disease, how to prevent it, and the risk to our canine pets.

In an effort to help educate our community about this new disease, to dispel misinformation, and clarify the abundance of information now circulating, we are going to discuss and outline information here. There are also several links provided below that give further details. We encourage everyone to reach out to their primary vets to discuss your questions and concerns. IF you don’t have a vet, please feel free to reach out to our partner vet, Venturing Vets by email (, by phone (914)-888-6365, or online at You can also reach out to us here at Bark & Purr, in person or via phone at (914)-476-2275.

Before we get started a quick note for new and existing clients: Due to the significant health risks posed by Dog Flu, we are now requiring vaccinating all dogs who attend daycare, grooming, or boarding. The vaccine is a series of two injections given 2 to 4 weeks apart. If your dog has signs of respiratory illness, please call your vet immediately for advice or to schedule an examination to assess their condition.

Canine Influenza is a highly contagious disease in dogs caused by the TYPE A influenza viruses, which are known to infect animals such as dogs. The two types of flu viruses are H3N8 and H3N2. The H3N2 virus should not be confused by the seasonal human influenza virus by the same name (H3N2). The H3N8 viruses originated in horses and have been known to exist in them for over 40 years. The H3N2 virus is better recognized by its original name, “bird flu”. However, this strain can also infect cats. Both have evolved, over time, to be able to infect dogs. The H3N2 virus has been found in over 30 states since its discovery in 2015, while the H3N8 is quickly spreading throughout the country, because of this they are both considered an EPIDEMIC in the USA by the CDC.

 Fortunately, the dog flu is not transmittable from our fur babies into the human population. However, we can transmit it between dogs. This is likely to occur if you are in contact with an infected dog, or even touch a toy or another object that the infected dog has contacted, and then touch another dog before cleaning their hands. Washing your hands is not only vital to protecting YOU against diseases, it is vital for your pets as well.

Canine influenza can be spread through virus particles in the air or by coming into close physical contact with other dogs. It can also be caught if a dog touches or plays with and object infected by a sick dog. Considering that Canine Influenza is a relatively new disease in the dog community, most dogs are still susceptible and haven’t built up a natural tolerance.

The signs of illness in dogs are :


Runny Nose



Eye Discharge

Reduced Appetite  

If your shows any of these signs, contact your veterinarian and avoid taking the dog anywhere that may expose another dog, until they have fully recovered and been cleared by the vet.

The following statistics about the general course of the illness have been reported to the CDC:

Between 80-90% of pets WILL display signs of infection

Roughly 10-20% WILL NOT display any signs of infection

Most dogs will show mild symptoms, however

Around 20% of dogs may develop a more severe form, known as pneumonia; and

Around 8% of dogs MAY die from complications of the Canine Flu

There is no specified treatment for the Canine Flu. The best treatment remains VACCINATION aka EFFECTIVE PREVENTION. The vaccine has been clinically proven to reduce: 1) the chances of infection and 2) the severity and length of the time the dog is sick IF they do contract the virus.

For more information please clink the links below and our quick facts infographic!

Canine Influenza (FLU)

Dog Flu by Anna Burke

Canine Influenza: Pet Owners’ Guide from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)