Recently, I went on a trip that forced me to board my dog for the first time in more than two years.
Shockingly, getting her into a boarding facility was just as tough as getting a toddler into an uppity pre-school: She need an entrance interview. And a physical. And they wanted to know if she was up on her vaccines.
The woman at the facility asked, “Has she had her flu shot?”
Flu shots? For dogs?
Turns out, though, that canine influenza is a real problem for pooches. Although the American Animal Hospital Association does not deem it as a core vaccine, many veterinarians recommend the shot if your dog often comes in close contact with other dogs – think doggie day care centers, dog parks, training classes and boarding facilities.
People, especially veterinarians, can also transmit the disease by handling one infected dog and passing it to another.
Unfortunately, though, there isn’t a season for dog flu. It’s more proximity than season, And just like the flu, canine influenza hits some areas harder than others. Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Florida had the most reported cases this year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu originated as a horse influenza virus, but starting cropping up in greyhounds around 2004. Since the dog flu is still new, there aren’t many variant strands, so the vaccine doesn’t change year to year.
If you choose to vaccinate your dog, the shots will cost about $25 to $35 and your dog will require two rounds about a week apart.
Think your dog needs to have a flu shot? Talk to your vet about it.