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Have you noticed a change in your German Shepherd’s behavior? Is he eating less, sneezing, or it seems there is a discharge coming out of his nose every day?

Are these signs of an allergic reaction or does it have something to do with a bacterial or viral infection? Are these German Shepherd cold symptoms?

Perhaps it is something much worse?

Hold on… let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Even though some symptoms can mean many different health issues, we have to look at the bigger picture.

The symptoms mentioned at the beginning are quite possibly symptoms of a cold.

Thinking our dog has a cold doesn’t mean we can just get on with our life, but it is much better than thinking our doggo has a serious respiratory problem.

However, there are 9 GSD cold symptoms you shouldn’t ignore if you want your dog to stay healthy and happy without developing any further health issues.

And, we’re going to talk about them all…

German Shepherd Cold Symptoms

german shepherd lying on the groundgerman shepherd lying on the ground

The German Shepherd is generally a healthy dog breed. Although European lines are less prone to developing hereditary diseases, all types of GSDs are equally susceptible to having a cold.

Of course, your dog’s immune system plays a major role. Just like in humans, some dogs catch a virus, and some don’t.

It is important to notice the signs of a cold before it has progressed into something more serious. An untreated cold can result in chronic respiratory issues and shorten your dog’s life by a few years.

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Considering a GSD’s average lifespan is up to 10 years, we are seriously shortening our dog’s lifespan by leaving the “simple cold” untreated.

1. Lethargy

Any organism fighting a battle inside will be drained, and will have less power. That means your dog will also act lethargic, and won’t engage in playtime and social interactions as usual.

Just think about how you feel when you have a cold. It is quite hard doing things with the same vigor as when you’re healthy.

So, one of the things you will notice as being a German Shepherd’s cold symptom is lethargy. Your dog might not want to go on walks, avoid playing, or simply sleep more often.

2. Sneezing

Of course, there will be sneezing. A fight between the pathogen and the body’s immune system cells produces mucus that has several roles to play. However, this same mucus is making our dog sneeze.

But, this is the time when you have to look at other things as well. Sneezing can be a sign of other issues. Your dog might have something stuck in its nose – a foreign object.

Maybe it’s an allergic reaction or it’s just a tickle that provokes a sneeze in your GSD.

If you notice sneezing and other symptoms at the same time, that tells us it is most likely a cold.

Read Next: 15 Home Remedies For A Sneezing Dog

3. Nasal Congestion

german shepherd lying on the floor indoorsgerman shepherd lying on the floor indoors

This means your dog has a “stuffy nose”. It can’t breathe properly because of the mentioned mucus, and because the nose tissue is swollen as a result of an immune response.

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It is very important to notice this GSD cold symptom early on because the dog has no other way but to breathe through its mouth, and that can cause further problems.

Breathing through the mouth also makes the dog more exhausted, and further strains its entire body.

4. Coughing

Even if the dog didn’t have a coughing symptom, there is a high chance it will develop if we leave the nasal congestion issue untreated.

Breathing through the mouth is not a natural way of acquiring oxygen. It dries the throat  mucosa, making the throat eventually soar.

This is an irritation that the body tries to resolve through coughing.

However, coughing can be a cold symptom that starts without nasal congestion. In this case, the primary infection is in the throat.

Once again, if left untreated, it can lead to more serious problems, e.g., the infection can go on to the lungs and make the treatment much longer and more difficult.

Read Next: Dog Coughing After Drinking Water

5. Difficulty Swallowing

When a dog has nasal congestion and a sore throat, he will also have a hard time swallowing. The throat is dry and irritated, and the nasal passages are closed, making the entire eating process very difficult.

Your dog might also gag without throwing up. This can happen either because the mucus spreads from the nose to the throat or because of the irritation in the throat itself.

Either way, your dog will not be able to eat properly, and will show the next symptom very soon.

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6. Loss Of Appetite

If your German Shepherd has trouble eating because of a sore throat or pain, or any other reason connected with a cold – he will eat less in order to avoid the pain or the uncomfortable feeling. 

We all know GSDs are big dogs that love to eat. There are GSD feeding charts made especially for this dog breed because of the need to know whether we are overfeeding our doggos. Because – they can eat!

So, when a GSD has a problem with eating, it is something we notice. But, instead of thinking maybe it’s a stomach issue or he doesn’t like the food anymore, look for other cold symptoms first.

7. Runny Nose

sick german shepherd lying on the groundsick german shepherd lying on the ground

If your German Shepherd has a cold, one of the symptoms going hand in hand with watery eyes and nasal congestion is – a runny nose. This means your dog has a discharge coming from his nose.

At the beginning of the cold, the discharge will usually be clear and more liquid. As the cold progresses, the discharge will turn thicker, and it will change its color to yellow or shades of yellow and green.

8. Watery Eyes

Another symptom telling you your dog might have a cold is watery eyes. The reason why we need to make sure our pooches are drinking enough water while they have a cold is that the cold makes their body dehydrated.

This means the eyes get dry, too. However, this is unacceptable because of the fine eye anatomy. So, the tear glands produce more tears and work overtime to keep the eyes safe. Hence, the watery-eyes look.

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You might even notice excessive tears falling from the eyes as if the dog is crying. This symptom goes together with a stuffy nose and sneezing in 99% of cases of a cold.

9. Achy Muscles

The last on our list of German Shepherd cold symptoms is achy muscles (or general body aches). You will notice this symptom through the behavioral change in your dog.

He might start crying at night, lying more often, or avoiding jumping, and it can even feel as if your dog’s head is hot.

This might be true because of the ongoing fever. A fever is not a definite symptom of a cold; however, it can develop.

Muscle aches happen because of the fight that a dog’s immune system has, which causes inflammation of the muscles. Muscle inflammation is represented as muscle aches throughout the body.

What Should I Do?

owner with her german shepherd at vet clinicowner with her german shepherd at vet clinic

Dogs can’t tell us what hurts them, and how much. They also can’t tell us when they first start feeling under the weather. 

We often notice the symptoms of a cold after the initial stage. This doesn’t mean that we can’t treat the cold; however, the longer we wait the more difficult it is to completely cure a cold.

Untreated cold symptoms lead to much more serious health issues:

  • Sinus infection
  • Lung infection
  • Ear infection

These are harder to treat, and they take much more time.

So, when you notice some of these 9 GSD cold symptoms: take your dog to the vet.

It’s as simple as that. 

You can try to treat your dog at home; however, when it comes to our furry friends, we don’t want to risk it.

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The Conclusion

No matter how small or insignificant these 9 German Shepherd cold symptoms seem to you, they are not to be ignored. Separately, they can mean other things, but together, they mean your GSD has a cold that needs to be taken care of.

If you see that your dog has a nose discharge, sneezes, or eats less – a trip to the vet is your next step.

A stuffy nose and mouth-breathing puts a lot of stress on a dog’s body, further making things worse. Your dog might develop secondary infections, sinusitis, or even bronchitis.

Your dog’s veterinarian will know how to treat the symptoms and the disease itself, helping your German Shepherd get back to normal – a happy and active dog.

By Andy Marcus

Hello, my name is Andy Marcus, and I am a passionate dog lover and enthusiast. For me, there is nothing quite like the joy and love that a furry friend can bring into our lives. I have spent years studying and learning about dogs, and have made it my mission to share my knowledge and expertise with others through my website. Through my website, I aim to provide comprehensive information and resources for dog owners and enthusiasts. Whether it's training tips, health and nutrition advice, or insights into dog behavior, I strive to create a platform that is accessible and useful to everyone who loves dogs.

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