Attention, dog owners! Is your pet vaccinated against the flu? If the answer’s “no,” veterinarians everywhere suggest you get them vaccinated ASAP, because there’s been a spike in dogs developing the potentially fatal canine influenza, nicknamed the “dog flu.”

What exactly is the dog flu? Dr. Edward Dubovi is the director of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. He says the dog flu is just like the human flu because sufferers experience the same telltale symptoms like coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, and even a fever.

Dogs get sick with the flu just like humans do, by coming in contact with someone who’s infected, but in this case, another dog. In fact, all it takes is one coughing or sneezing pup in the dog park to pass the flu on. Which is exactly why a lot of animal shelters, groomers, and dog boarding facilities have temporarily closed down, because they’re prime breeding grounds for the dog flu.

Experts say that antibiotics help most dogs recover within two weeks. But in older dogs, or dogs that are ill, it can be fatal, because it often leads to pneumonia and other serious conditions.

That’s why vets suggest you get your dog vaccinated now, especially if you’re planning on boarding them for the holidays. You can get one at most animal shelters and vets’ offices for about $25.

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