The attachment people have to their pets can’t be overstated, so obviously a pet owner is going to be concerned when they see their animal sniffling. They will likely start worrying about how bad it could be, and prepare themselves for the worst case scenarios. However, while owners should watch their pets’ health, they shouldn’t necessarily jump to catastrophic conclusions when they see their animal sniffling.
Understanding what the symptoms mean will save stress on both human and animal. If an animal is sniffling without other symptoms, it might just mean a runny nose, a reaction to pollen or other allergens. This is of similar severity for dogs and cats as well as humans-- unpleasant, but temporary and treatable with mere rest and wiping. If there are symptoms of a worse illness, they will manifest in other ways-- lethargy, loss of appetite, unusually colored secretions, vomiting, and coughing, to name a few.
If one or more of these accompany the runny nose, you should definitely take your pet to a veterinarian. Also, if a cold persists for a week or more, it is a sign that the pet has a more severe illness that needs medical treatment. And for very young or very old animals, extra care should be exercised. But sometimes a sneeze is just a sneeze, and if the symptoms are minimal, the best course of action can be to simply take it easy for a few days-- just like with people.
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About the author:
A freelance writer/cartoonist living in LA, with my fiance' and our wonderful cat. You can see my work at www.rubysworldcomic.com and rubynation.smackjeeves.com