Loading the Elevenlabs Text to Speech AudioNative Player...

Kennel cough is a common and highly contagious respiratory infection in dogs. This illness is similar to a human cold and often spreads in places where dogs gather, such as kennels, dog parks, and grooming salons. It is caused by a combination of bacteria and viruses. While kennel cough in dogs can be alarming, it is usually not severe and can be treated effectively.

This blog will cover the basics of kennel cough in dogs. You'll learn to recognize the symptoms, understand the causes, and discover the best ways to treat and prevent this infection. We'll also discuss when to visit the vet and how to protect your dog from catching kennel cough from other dogs. This information will help you keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

What is a Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis or canine infectious respiratory disease, is a highly contagious illness primarily affecting dogs. Diagnosing kennel cough requires a veterinarian's assessment of both clinical signs and medical history. If your dog shows persistent coughing, it is important to consult a vet for an accurate diagnosis, as not all coughs indicate kennel cough.

The Culprits Behind Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is caused by a mix of infectious agents, not just one. The main pathogens are Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus, but other viruses can also increase susceptibility to Bordetella infection. These include:

  • Canine adenovirus
  • Canine distemper virus
  • Canine reovirus

In summary, kennel cough is a complex illness with multiple viral and bacterial sources, making prevention, diagnosis, and treatment more challenging.

Recognizing the Signs: Kennel Cough Symptoms

Kennel cough often starts with a dry, goose-like cough. Other symptoms can include:

  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Low energy
  • Slight fever

As the condition progresses, the cough may become wetter, indicating possible pneumonia, marked by difficulty breathing, higher fever, and nasal discharge.

If your dog shows any of the following severe symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately:

  • Rapid or strained breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Persistent lethargy
  • Cough producing phlegm
  • High fever

Prompt veterinary care is essential for managing severe cases of kennel cough.

How Dogs Contract Kennel Cough

kennel cough

Kennel cough is highly contagious, spreading through airborne particles or respiratory droplets from other infected dogs. Dogs in communal areas like kennels and dog parks are at greater risk. When inhaled, the infectious agents attack the respiratory tract, causing irritation and symptoms.

High-risk environments include areas with many dogs interacting closely, especially when combined with stressors like cold, dust, or smoke, and stressful situations like travel. Dogs with weakened respiratory systems are more susceptible. Infected dogs can spread kennel cough for up to two weeks after symptoms stop, increasing the risk of transmission.

Treating Kennel Cough in Dogs

If your dog contracts kennel cough, it can recover with proper care. For mild cases, ensure your dog gets plenty of rest and nutritious food and stays well-hydrated. Using a humidifier or exposing them to steam from a hot shower can help moisten their airways. A vet may prescribe cough suppressants and anti-inflammatory medications to relieve symptoms.

For more severe cases, antibiotics may be needed to address the underlying Bordetella bacteria.

When to Call the Vet

Kennel cough usually isn't life-threatening and often clears up on its own. However, it can be severe for puppies, older dogs, or those with underlying health issues. If your dog coughs for over a week and other symptoms persist, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Managing a Dog with Kennel Cough

Kennel cough infection can be concerning for any pet owner. However, with the right care, your dog can recover quickly. Here’s how to manage it effectively:

  • Recognize the Symptoms: The first step is to identify the signs of kennel cough. Common symptoms include a persistent cough, runny nose, sneezing, and a slight fever. Your dog may also seem tired and have a reduced appetite.
  • Isolate Your Dog: Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease, so keeping your infected dog away from other pets is important. This helps prevent the spread of the infection.
  • Keep Your Dog Comfortable: Ensure your dog has a quiet and comfortable resting space. Avoid using collars that can irritate their throat; a harness is a better option during this time.
  • Provide Plenty of Fluids: Just like humans, dogs must stay hydrated when sick. Make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times.
  • Use a Humidifier: A humidifier can help soothe your dog’s irritated throat and ease their breathing. Place it in the room where your dog spends most of their time.
  • Monitor Their Diet: Encourage your dog to eat, even if their appetite is low. Soft foods or warm broth can be more appealing and easier to swallow.
  • Administer Medication as Prescribed: If your vet has prescribed antibiotics or cough suppressants, follow their instructions carefully. Never give your dog human medication, as it can be harmful.
  • Avoid Physical Exertion: Limit your dog’s physical activity while they are recovering. Short, gentle walks are fine, but avoid strenuous exercise that could aggravate their symptoms.
  • Keep Your Home Clean: Disinfect your dog’s living area regularly to reduce the risk of reinfection and keep other pets safe. Wash their bedding, toys, and food bowls frequently.
  • Follow Up with Your Vet: Stay in touch with your vet during your dog’s recovery. If your dog’s symptoms worsen or don’t improve within a week, contact your vet for further advice.

Shield Your Pooch with Kennel Cough Vaccination

kennel cough vaccine

The kennel cough vaccine helps prevent this highly contagious illness. By getting your dog vaccinated, you're protecting your furry friend and helping prevent the spread of the disease to other dogs.

The vaccine boosts your dog's immune system, making it easier to fight off the infection if exposed. It's a quick and straightforward process that can save you a lot of worry and vet bills in the long run.

It's important to keep your dog's vaccinations up to date, especially if they frequently interact with other dogs. Talk to your vet about the kennel cough vaccine. They can provide guidance on the best vaccination schedule for your dog.

Hence, vaccinating your dog against kennel cough is a smart and responsible choice. It keeps your pet healthy and happy and protects other dogs in your community. Make an appointment with your vet today to ensure your dog is shielded from kennel cough.

Understanding Kennel Cough and Ensuring Canine Wellness

Kennel cough is a contagious respiratory disease that affects dogs of all ages. While typically not life-threatening, it can lead to discomfort and inconvenience for dogs and their owners. Prevention through vaccination and minimizing exposure to infected dogs in high-risk environments like kennels or dog parks is key. Early detection and prompt treatment can help manage symptoms and prevent the spread of the disease to other pets.

Remember, keeping your dog healthy involves more than just addressing illnesses. Providing them with quality care and products is essential. Shop at Petmate today, providing premium pet supplies across the country. We offer a range of trusted brands for your pet's needs. Whether it's food, toys, or grooming products, investing in your pet's well-being is a priority. 

Related posts

View all
  • Are Gravity Feeders Good for Cats?

    Are Gravity Feeders Good for Cats?

    As a cat owner, you want the best for your feline friend, especially during mealtime. One option to consider is the gravity feeder, but are gravity feeders good for cats? These devices promise convenience by automatically dispensing food, ensuring your pet has enough kibble throughout the day. But do they work as well as we hope? Read Article
  • Why Do Cats Knead?

    Why Do Cats Knead?

    If you've owned a cat for quite some time, then you've probably become aware of some of its tendencies. You've maybe noticed a particular behavior where your cat repeatedly presses its paws against you or a soft object. Read Article
  • The Importance of Toys for Pet Birds

    The Importance of Toys for Pet Birds

    To keep pet birds mentally happy and stimulated, they need new and different types of toys given and exchanged out of their cage often enough that the birds don't get bored with them. Bored birds at the least can become an annoyance to their owners and at worst a danger to themselves. They can become physically destructive by plucking out their own feathers, start screaming, biting, and/or doing a behavior over and over again like head swinging, thus slowly going insane. The larger the bird, the more attention it needs from its owner and the more toys it requires that are both chewable and can keep the bird occupied. Read Article
  • Metal Dog Food Containers vs Plastic Dog Food Containers: Which is Best for Your Pet?

    Metal Dog Food Containers vs Plastic Dog Food Containers: Which is Best for Your Pet?

    When choosing the best dog food storage container, pet owners often need help finding themselves torn between metal dog food containers and plastic dog food containers. Both types have advantages and disadvantages, and the decision largely depends on factors such as durability, ease of use, and the specific needs of your furry friend. Read Article