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What Is Kennel Cough in Dogs and How to Prevent It?

Updated: Mar 25

a dog is being examined by a veterinarian at the animal clinic

Kennel cough is a concern many dog owners have. It can sound scary if you’re not sure what it is.

 Learn more about kennel cough, what are the symptoms and how you can prevent it . Read more to learn all about this infection.  


What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is a fairly common upper respiratory illness in dogs. Kennel Cough is also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis and it is highly contagious. It can run rampant in dog daycares, training, and boarding facilities. It is caused by viruses such as parainfluenza, adenoviruses, bordetella bronchiseptica and other bacteria.


Kennel Cough Symptoms

·       Strong cough, often with a “honking” sound (the most distinctive symptom), sometimes, the dog will gag and retch clear foam after coughing.

·       Runny nose

·       Sneezing

·       Lethargy (in more severe cases )

·       Loss of appetite(in more severe cases )

·       Low fever(in more severe cases )



How do Dogs Get It?

Kennel cough is transmitted in a few different ways:


·       Direct contact with other infected dogs

·       Airborne droplets that are unleashed when an infected dog coughs or sneezes

·       Contact with contaminated surfaces, such as water bowls or toys that are shared


How to Treat It?

Fortunately, kennel cough is easily treatable in adult dogs. However, for puppies under 6 months and dogs who are immunocompromised, it can be more severe.


You’ll want to let your dog rest for a few weeks.


Additionally, your vet may prescribe medications such as antibiotics and cough suppressants to help make your dog more comfortable while they recover. Antibiotics can kill the Bordetella bacteria and can also help prevent secondary infections from causing complications. DO NOT give your dog any over-the-counter human cough or cold medicines.


Make sure your dog is kept isolated from other dogs and it is a good idea to thoroughly disinfect all surfaces and items to prevent a reinfection.


Here are a few other things you can do to help make your dog more comfortable as they recover:

·       Use a harness instead of a collar and lead for walking. This helps reduce irritation to the windpipe

·       Provide a quiet and warm environment where they can rest.

·       Run a humidifier to help moisten your dog’s airways.

·       Wipe away any discharge from your dog’s nose and eyes using a warm, damp towel.

·       Make sure your dog is in a clean and well-ventilated area.

·       Quarantine your dog away from other dogs to avoid spreading the disease.


Your dog should be kept away from other dogs for at least one week after symptoms disappear.


How to Prevent It?

The condition known as “kennel cough” can be caused by a few different infectious agents, the most common of which is the bacterium Bordetella. There is a vaccine available to protect your friend against the disease. The vaccine can be obtained in oral, intranasal, and injectable forms. Depending on the form, it is usually given in two doses two to four weeks apart, with a booster shot every six months to one year.


If your dog is frequently boarded, visits dog daycare participates in canine sports or is otherwise regularly exposed to groups of other dogs, the vaccine may be right for them.


Many dog training, boarding, and daycare facilities nowadays will require proof of vaccination for your dog to prevent the spread of the disease.


Contact Kato Animal Hospital in Toronto

Since 1982, Kato Animal Hospital has been providing comprehensive veterinarian services in Toronto. We offer vaccination and treatment for kennel cough in dogs.


We provide top-notch preventative health management for your pet, ensuring they can live long and healthy lives. If you are concerned your dog’s health or would like to know more information, contact us today.



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