Local vet concerned about potential for dog flu outbreak

A warning about staying protected as we head into the cold and flu season.

We’re always hearing how important it is for you to get your flu shot, but one local vet says it’s just as important for your dog.

At the Old Town Animal Care Center, you'll find lots of cute pups and concerned pet parents.

Concerned because Dr. Tony Kremer is warning dog owners that they aren't the only ones needing a flu shot this year.

“The dog flu is something that's been almost epidemic in the last 3 years or so over the whole country, but Chicago has been hit especially hard,” Dr. Kremer said.

Kremer says the dog flu can spike in the fall when the weather is nice.

“Dogs in Chicago are very social, they're out meeting nose to nose on the sidewalk, or at the dog park, or at training class, and so it's very easy for this virus to be spread very, very quickly,” Dr. Kremer said.

And while it hasn't hit in almost a year, it could happen at any time.

“When we've had the outbreaks, they've been a big surprise, and they've been very problematic,” Dr. Kremer said.

In past years, dog flu has gotten so bad it’s shut down shelters and vets.

“The flu is easy to prevent,” Dr. Kremer said.

So back to the flu shot, which Kremer says every pet parent should consider for their dog. Many owners, he says, don't even know it's an option.

Arielle Antolin brought her puppy "Matcha" in for a round of shots and got her dog vaccinated with the flu shot, too. Kremer told Antolin about the symptoms of dog flu, which include a cough, runny nose, and fever.

The good news, Kremer says, is the flu doesn't infect people and owners only have to come back once a year to have their dogs protected.