Dogs, cats, and H1N1

Until recently, the H1N1 virus was thought primarily to affect people. Well, and pigs, of course. But reports of cats and ferrets coming down with the illness have been on the books since April. And now, experts say that even dogs may be at risk.

Two cases of canine H1N1 have appeared in China, and researchers believe the dogs caught the virus from people. While there’ve been no confirmed cases in the U.S., the findings indicate that human to canine transmission is possible.

Common sense goes a long way toward protecting your pets from the H1N1 virus. A few reminders:


  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze
  • Watch for the symptoms in your pets: coughing, sneezing, runny nose, difficulty breathing, changes in appetite, and lethargy
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Limit physical contact, particularly around your pet’s face, when you are sick


  • Share medication with your pets
  • Let cats or dogs play with or chew on used tissues
  • Share your bed with your pets if you’ve got the flu

The good news? The World Health Organization states that H1N1 infections in pets were “isolated events and pose no special risks to human health.”