It might be Fido's turn to practice social distancing.

Seven cases of canine influenza have been confirmed in Minneapolis, according to state officials, after the virus infected 200 dogs in shelters last month. There have also been cases reported in Anoka and Carver Counties.

Dog-to-dog contact is the most common form of transmission.

North Loop and Uptown pups are especially at risk, according to Minneapolis Animal Care and Control and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.

Canine flu can also spread to cats too, according to the state Board of Animal Health, though not to people.

Minneapolis dog owners are advised to avoid contact between dogs, and steer clear of areas where there are lots of dogs. Other precautions advised are:

  • Keep a 6-foot distance from other dogs on walks
  • Keep pet surfaces clean, since the canine influenza virus can stay on surfaces in the environment for up to two days.
  • Consult your veterinarian on vaccinating your pet against the disease.
  • Consult your pet's veterinarian if there are any symptoms of canine flu, including cough, fever, runny eyes or nose, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing or excessive throat clearing, lethargy, and decreased appetite or water consumption

Most dogs experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover in two to three weeks. However, there is a risk of more serious infections that could result in secondary conditions like pneumonia, which could be fatal. State and city animal health officials recommend getting treatment advice from a veterinarian.

More information is available at

At the Lake of the Isles dog park, Clara Coleman of Minneapolis watched as her miniature poodle Bernie ran circles and dug a hole under a park bench. Bernie's young and healthy, she said, so Coleman isn't too worried about canine flu but she is keeping an eye out for news about the disease and is watching for symptoms.

Will Chandler said he has noticed a drop-off among weekday regulars at the Lake of the Isles park, and wondered if canine flu worries are keeping people and their dogs away.

Weekends are still pandemonium, he said, with people from all over the city coming to let their dogs run and play off-leash.

City of Minneapolis spokesperson Blair Foy said the city is posting signs at dog parks asking for people to minimize uncontrolled contact between dogs, but the parks will stay open for now.

Chandler said he planned to keep an eye out for symptoms but said it was going to be a challenge to keep his chihuahua-Dachshund mix Fletcher away from other dogs.

"Dogs have contact with each other. They're the social-est of animals," Chandler said. "They don't know social distancing."