HEALTH

Traveling puts pets at greater risk for canine influenza

May 14, 2024, 10:00 AM | Updated: 6:19 pm

FILE -- A comfort dog waits for its owner at Salt Lake City International Airport. Experts warn to ...

FILE -- A comfort dog waits for its owner at Salt Lake City International Airport. Experts warn to immunize dogs against canine influenza before travel. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — When dog parents travel, sometimes dogs travel too and if that’s the case for you, experts say now is the time to immunize traveling dogs against canine influenza. 

It could be especially dangerous in Utah, because canine influenza is not common in this state. So, experts say many pet owners skip the immunization. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, the contagious respiratory dog flu only spreads between dogs, not between humans and dogs. And, unlike humans, there isn’t a specific flu season for dogs. But, during travel season, there are much higher chances of dogs picking up the illness out of state. 

Veterinarian and owner of Davis mobile Veterinary Services Dr. Amanda Vockler said the time and money spent to prevent canine influenza is worth it if a dog does get sick. 

 “Not many dogs have natural immunity against [influenza],” Vockler said. “Anybody that is traveling or happens to be going anywhere where there’s a lot of dense dog population, such as a dog shows [should immunize their pets].”

For Utah-raised dogs, foregoing the immunization before traveling can be highly dangerous. 

“[Dogs] do tend to end up in the hospital in an intensive care type of situation,” Vockler said.

The canine influenza vaccine and booster takes about 6 weeks to complete, so planning ahead is key. Even if your dog isn’t traveling with you, many boarding facilities, or doggy daycares, have started requiring it.

Read more: Here are the health benefits of having pets

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Traveling puts pets at greater risk for canine influenza