My Yorkshire Terrier Has a Cold, What Should I Do?


Can Dogs Catch Colds?

If you are wondering if your Yorkshire Terrier can catch a cold, the simple answer is “yes.” However, dogs cannot, typically, catch colds from people.

When people refer to “colds” we are talking about a group of over 200 viruses that cause the familiar symptoms of a common cold.

While rarely life-threatening, viruses are simply of fact of life for both you and your best friend.

Like all dogs, your Yorkie can pick up a cold virus from other canines as well as from sources such as water or food that is contaminated with a virus or bacteria.

Other dogs in your home or neighborhood could contract the virus causing your Yorkie’s cold.

Be safe and keep your little friend away from other dogs until the virus has passed.

While dogs can pick up infections that will produce cold-like symptoms, including coughing, sneezing, runny eyes, and nose, just like in humans, it typically involves different infectious agents.

This is because viruses are typically species specific and only in very rare instances, such as severe cases of certain types of parainfluenza, most of these types of infections cannot cross over between species.

This means, in most cases, neither you nor your Yorkie can transmit a viral infection to the other.

However, bear in mind that one of the hallmarks of viruses is their ability to mutate, so it is always best to use common-sense hygiene practices, like thoroughly washing your hands often, whenever you or your Yorkie are sick.

Many of the viruses that infect canines, a such as Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine parainfluenza, canine respiratory coronavirus and canine adenovirus type 2, will present with clinical symptoms virtually identical to symptoms seen in humans with cold viruses.

Symptoms of Colds in Dogs

You will usually recognize many of the symptoms in your Yorkie as the same ones you have when you get a cold.

Symptoms of colds in Yorkshire Terriers include:

  • Coughing
  • Congested or runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes

Yorkshire terrier facts

Treating Your Yorkshire Terrier’s Cold

While we all hate to see our little friends suffer, a mild cold will usually resolve on its own. Still, there are things you can do to make your pup more comfortable.

As human and canine physiology is actually quite similar, the same treatments that help with your symptoms when you get a cold will also help your Yorkie.

Inhale Steam

Use a standard vaporizer in the room where your Yorkie sleeps. Just as with humans, the steam will help open clogged nasal and respiratory passages.

Drink Fluids

Keeping your pup hydrated is critical. When mammals get dehydrated the immune system, the bodies best defense against any illness does not function at optimum efficiency.

Encourage your pet to drink plenty of water. Granted, this is easier said than done with dogs.

So, in addition to keeping plenty of fresh water available, try adding a little chicken or beef broth to some water.

Just be sure to use low-sodium broth as too much salt will actually increase dehydration.

Eating is Essential

Irrelevant of the old adage about starving a cold, both people and dogs should eat whenever they are not well.

Like staying hydrated, proper nutrition strengthens the immune system, so make sure your Yorkie is eating.

Offer him some flavored dog treats if his appetite seems off.


Just like you, your Yorkie probably won’t feel like exercising when he has a cold. Keep him quiet and let him rest so his immune system can do its job.

Yorkie laid down

Call Your Veterinarian

While a cold is usually no cause for concern, there are several causes of cold-like symptoms other than common-cold viruses.

Consult your Yorkshire Terrier’s vet if symptoms last more than a week.

With the cost of veterinarian care rising, many pet owners will put off taking their dog to the vet due to the expense.

However, pet health insurance can help cover some of the costs and make it easier for your best friend to see his doctor when he isn’t feeling well.

Just be sure to carefully shop around, as some insurance plans end up costing more, in the long run, than the actual treatments.

Your Yorkie’s vet will perform an exam to make sure a more serious condition isn’t at play.

Standard tests, such as blood work, fecal analysis and X-rays can help determine the cause of your pet’s cold symptoms.

While cold-like symptoms are usually the result of a canine-cold virus, the symptoms may also be signs of a more serious condition like bronchitis, kennel cough, canine influenza, parainfluenza, and even canine distemper.

Coughing may be caused by a bacterial or parasitic infection. Allergies and fungal infections can lead to lung damage, and possibly pneumonia.

If your Yorkie’s cold turns out to be kennel cough, for example, your vet may recommend antibiotics, cough suppressants and possible intravenous fluids, especially for puppies, older dogs or animals with compromised immune systems.

If your otherwise rambunctious Yorkie exhibits severe symptoms, such as being lethargic for more than a few days, ongoing vomiting and diarrhea along with cold-like symptoms you should call his vet without delay.

Illnesses that Mimic Cold Symptoms

If you think your Yorkie may have something besides a common canine cold, there are several other conditions you should be aware of that often present with similar symptoms.

Kennel Cough

It is a viral infection that causes a loud honking-sounding cough. Kennel cough is aptly named as it is usually transmitted between dogs housed in a closed environment, like a kennel.

Canine Influenza Virus

It causes cold-like symptoms, but will typically present with other flu-like symptoms, like fever.


Allergies to certain foods and environmental factors, like smoke, are just as common in canines as in people.

If your Yorkie seems fine other than a lot of sneezing, he may have an allergy.

Yorkie with open mouth


Parasites that infect dogs, like round and heartworms, are numerous and can cause chronic coughing by infecting your Yorkie’s lungs and trachea.

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