What is Kennel Cough?

Dog coughingNo dog owner wants to see their pooch get sick, but unfortunately, we all feel a little off from time to time. One of the common sicknesses that affect dogs is kennel cough. Also known scientifically as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, this highly contagious respiratory illness has symptoms similar to the common cold in humans. Because it’s hard to differentiate between the two, it’s essential for every dog owner to know about this illness so that you know when to spot it, how to deal with it, and most importantly, prevent it from happening in the first place.

Below we have listed all the information you need about kennel cough and what you can do to help your furry friend stay healthy and away from the sickness.


How do dogs get kennel cough?

Kennel cough can originate from many different viruses, but it’s commonly caused by a bacterial agent called Bordetella Bronchiseptica. The illness cause inflammation in the upper respiratory system, which can make it hard for your dog to breathe.

Kennel cough spreads not only through airborne droplets but also from direct contact and contaminated surfaces like food bowls and toys. That’s why places where many pups gather like dog parks, boarding kennels, dog training classes, and other doggy daycare centers, are the most common spots for canines to contract the virus. The matter is worst if these facilities have a poor ventilation system and hygiene, which can further facilitate an environment where the virus can spread quickly.

So, if your furry friend spends a lot of time at these places, you certainly want to make sure that they have strict health regulations in place (more about this later in this article).


Signs and Symptoms

Although kennel cough is easily treatable, it can be severe for younger dogs and doggies with a weak immune system. You should talk to your vet, and have your pup checked if they’re experiencing the symptoms below:

  • Coughing with distinct and loud honking sound (the most common symptoms, usually appear after 5-10 days after exposure)
  • Runny nose and eye discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Low appetite
  • Low fever

Because the symptoms are closely related to the common canine flu, you may not know when your pup has it. That’s why it’s vital that you visit the vet to pinpoint exactly what your furry friend has. According to a DVM, Kevin Fitzgerald, you should report to the vet if your dog has a coughing symptom because it could be a sign of a more serious disease such as bronchitis, asthma, collapsing trachea, and heart disease.



Kennel cough is highly contagious, so it’s paramount that you make sure your pup doesn’t have it, especially if your pooch spends a lot of time congregating with other fellow canines.

Mild cases of kennel cough usually go away within a week or two with plenty of rest. It may take longer for older dogs and canines with underlying conditions. Moreover, medications are usually prescribed to ease symptoms such as coughing to prevent more serious injuries such as damage to the trachea. It’s also common for veterinarians to prescribe antibiotics to avoid secondary infection and complications.

The most effective way of preventing kennel cough is to get your pup vaccinated. The Bordetella Bacterium vaccine is one type of vaccine that may help prevent kennel cough. However, it’s important to note that you may need to get other vaccines since other viruses can cause the illness. There are three ways of vaccinations: injected, given by mouth, and by a nasal mist. Depending on your pup’s condition, vaccinations can be given once a year or every six months.

Although the Bordetella vaccination is very safe, you should always talk to your vet before administering any shots. This is because some dogs with a history of vaccine reactions and those who have immunocompromised or are pregnant, may not be ideal for vaccinations.


What to do at home

Cuddling dogBesides going to the vet, there are things you can do at home, which can aid your pooch’s recovery. The first thing is to give your pup their much-needed rest. Now you may be wondering ‘what about the daily walks or exercise’? If your furry friend has a mild case of kennel cough, you can still walk them, but keep it to a minimum (with less time and frequency). As for exercise, you may want to take a break until your pooch is no longer sick. Also, use a harness instead of a collar leash when walking your dog, to avoid further irritating your dog’s throat and causing further inflammation.

It’s also crucial that you avoid any contact with other dogs and other household pets. You surely want to be a responsible pet owner by keeping not only your pup safe but other pets as well. Walk your dog somewhere quiet away from the crowds.

As with keeping your home hygienic, do regular cleaning by disinfecting surfaces around the house (especially those where your dog often comes in contact).

Last but not least, the best thing you can do to care for your Fido is to listen to what your vet advises. Follow their recommendations strictly, and your furry friend will be back to normal in no time.


How to keep your pooch safe when visiting a boarding kennel

Now that you know kennel cough spreads in spaces where canines gather, you may be thinking twice about bringing your four-legged companion to a boarding kennel. However, you shouldn’t worry as long as you enroll them in a boarding kennel with strict health requirements and rigorous cleaning practices. Here at The Dog Stop, we take health regulations very seriously. We don’t accept sick dogs or those who haven’t gotten their shots done.  Not only do we require dogs to be vaccinated, but we also engage in regular cleaning procedures that ensure our space is clean and canines are kept healthy.

Is your dog up-to-date with all their vaccinations? If you’re unsure of anything relating to Kennel Cough or dog kennel boarding, be sure to get in touch with our friendly team. We’ll be more than happy to help.