by Good Dog People August 21, 2019 3 min read

Kennel cough is to dogs what the common cold is to human beings. 

And much like in humans, puppies and senior dogs are much more likely to catch kennel cough as their immune systems are not as strong. But what exactly is kennel cough? How do you prevent your dog from contracting this common but potentially deadly disease?

What is Kennel Cough?

Potty Training 101: Housebreaking Your Dog

Often highly contagious, canine kennel cough manifests itself as a kind of cough that sounds like your dog might have something up their throat. It’s also known as canine infectious respiratory disease or CID and is often a result of bacteria like Bordetella Bronchiseptica or several species of Mycoplasma, that cause infectious bronchitis.

This bronchitis shows itself in dogs as an inflamed trachea and bronchi - or in simpler terms, an inflamed windpipe leading up to the lungs. Although kennel cough can happen to any dog, dogs that have a weaker immune system may be more susceptible. 

But how exactly do dogs contract kennel cough? 

Potty Training 101: Housebreaking Your Dog

Passed along through direct contact of noses or bodily fluids from coughs and sneezes, or contaminated surfaces such as food and water bowls, kennel cough is mostly transmitted via the air. It’s therefore not hard to guess that kennel cough is most prevalent In situations where a lot of dogs are placed under a single roof, such as in a doggie daycare or - as the name suggests - in a kennel.

While the most telling symptom of kennel cough is a persistent hacking cough, kennel cough might also result in:

  • Vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Fever

In the most serious cases, kennel cough could eventually transform into pneumonia, lethargy and even death if left untreated.

Note that certain dogs could also become carriers of kennel cough, exhibiting no symptoms. If you have multiple dogs, you may want to separate dogs that have just come back from high risk places like kennels separate from your other dogs, at least for a few days.

How to Combat Kennel Cough?

Potty Training 101: Housebreaking Your Dog

If your dog is exhibiting the less serious symptoms of kennel cough, the illness will likely resolve itself in a week or two. However, you may still want to bring them to a veterinarian just in case, as it could be a sign of something worse. Regardless, if your dog is eating, drinking and sleeping adequately well despite having the kennel cough, they most likely just need plenty of rest and liquids to replenish their system. 

In more serious cases, antibiotics and cough medication may be in order. For puppies, senior dogs, or dogs that are in high-risk groups for kennel cough, you may also want to get them vaccinated, allowing your dog to fight off most of the common bordetella bacteria that causes kennel cough. However, given the number of bacteria that can cause kennel cough, vaccinations are not able to entirely prevent kennel cough.

Regardless, if your dog has kennel cough or has just recovered from it, you should thoroughly disinfect everything - from their bowls and dishes to their toys. A proper air-purification system might be beneficial as it may help exterminate any bacteria or virus in the air. 

Potty Training 101: Housebreaking Your Dog

In addition, you may want to supplement your furry companions’ diet withWholistic Pet Organics’ Spirulina Supplements andDom & Cleo’s Probiotics Supplements as they help support your dog’s digestive and immune system, preventing bacterial takeovers such as with kennel cough. A healthy teaspoon ofSunrise Natural’s Coconut Oil in their food will also benefit your pet as it not only aids digestion and metabolism but also boosts their immune system, among other benefits.

While kennel cough in dogs is a relatively common and minor illness, it can become worse if left untreated. If your dog is not eating, drinking or sleeping well due to kennel cough, visiting a vet should be your first priority. Other than that, it’s important to try and avoid putting your dog in situations that can result in kennel cough, such as by avoiding doggie daycares.


      Tammi ChngTAMMI CHNG
      Tammi writes articles about anything from data analytics to animal health, and loves doing the occasional craft. But most importantly, she loves hanging out and doing photo-shoots with her dog. 

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