All you need to know about kennel cough

All you need to know about kennel cough

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is one of the most common health problems for puppies, and probably the first illness your puppy will pick up. It is often difficult to avoid as it is highly contagious. Also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, it is a respiratory disease. It’s highly contagious and dogs contract it in places where many canines congregate. It happens when the dog inhales bacteria or virus particles in their respiratory tract. It spreads through direct contact, airborne droplets, or contaminated surfaces such as water and food bowls. The disease is treatable in most dogs — however, its more severe in younger puppies and dogs with weak immune systems.


We can spot kennel cough relatively easy by the symptoms. These are some of the most common sign to look out for:

  • A strong, persistent cough with a goose honk sound
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Lethargy
  • Low fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Eye discharge

If you spot any of these symptoms be sure to check in with your vet. Also try separating your pup from others if possible. It is highly infectious and is caught by close contact.


Kennel cough is highly contagious. If you suspect your dog has it, keep him away from other animals and immediately contact a veterinarian. Most kennel cough cases resolve without treatment, but medication speeds up recovery and minimizes the symptoms.

We can treat mild cases of kennel cough within one or two weeks of rest. The veterinarian subscribes antibiotics to prevent secondary infections and cough medication to ease the coughing. If you opt for no treatment for the kennel cough, keep the dog in a well-humified area. Also, use a harness instead of a collar for dogs that strain against the leash to minimize coughing.

Dogs with kennel cough take up to three weeks to recover. If the dog is old or has other medical conditions, it can take up to six weeks to recover. If the dog doesn’t recover within theexpected time, follow up with the veterinarian as severe cases lead to pneumonia.

Best Prevention Methods

Fortunately, it is preventable. There is a vaccine for bordetella bacterium, which is the most common agent known to cause kennel cough. Dogs who compete in canine sports, frequently boarded, visit doggie daycare, or get exposed to large amounts of dogs benefit from this vaccination. Most of the training, daycare and boarding facilities ask for proof of immunization to prevent infection.

The vaccine helps, but it doesn’t guarantee full protection. This is because kennel cough can be caused by other agents and different types of viruses and bacteria. Also, kennel cough vaccination doesn’t treat active infections. So you need to make sure it is done as a preventative. If your pup already has cannel cough, your vet will most likely suggest appropriate treatment followed by the preventative vaccination.

Avoid your dog’s contact with large amounts of canines if you can. Be extra careful when you go the vet, and try to avoid contact with other dogs there. Keep the pet healthy and in a well-balanced diet to strengthen the dog’s immune system. Try to make sure you include the necessary vitamins and minerals in your pup’s diet. It often helps to find a group of dog owners who you can trust to hang out with. And remember, it is annoying but but if caught in time, it can pass on quite quickly.

Back to blog