Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

What is Kennel Cough in Dogs? Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

What is Kennel Cough in Dogs? Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

If your dog has a non-productive, dry cough, they may be suffering from kennel cough. Here, our Mamaroneck vets share some information about this highly contagious respiratory disease and what to do if your dog is coughing.

Kennel Cough in Dogs

Widely known as kennel cough, Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis is a respiratory disease that's commonly seen in dogs. The disease is often caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria and canine parainfluenza virus, which attack the lining of a dog's respiratory tract and lead to irritation and inflammation of your pooch's upper airway. 

While most otherwise healthy dogs will not fare poorly with this condition, it can lead to more severe secondary infections in young puppies, dogs with a weakened immune system or senior dogs. 

The name kennel cough originates from this condition's highly contagious nature, which causes it to spread rapidly in places where pets have close contact with one another such as kennels, multi-dog homes and dog parts. When dogs come into contact with droplets released through the cough of an infected dog, kennel cough can spread. This may occur through direct contact with an infected dog or through contact with objects that the infection droplets land on, such as cages, blankets, bowls or dog toys. 

Kennel Cough Symptoms in Dogs

A non-productive, persistent dry cough is the primary symptom of kennel cough. It can sometimes sound like a goose honk or like your dog has something stuck in their throat. Other signs of kennel cough in dogs include sneezing, lack of energy, mild fever, decreased appetite and runny nose. 

If your dog is displaying signs of kennel cough, keep your pooch away from other dogs and contact your vet right away for advice. 

Due to the extremely contagious nature of the condition, your vet may recommend simply isolating your pup from other dogs if they are otherwise healthy and showing mild symptoms. Allow your pet to rest for a few days as you monitor their symptoms. 

That said, if your dog's symptoms become more serious, your vet may recommend bringing your pup in for an examination

How Kennel Cough is Diagnosed

Diagnosing kennel cough is essentially a process of elimination. There are a number of more serious conditions that share the symptoms of kennel cough in dogs, as such your vet will examine your pet for signs of a collapsing trachea, heartworm disease, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, heart disease and more. Coughing can also be a sign of canine distemper virus or canine influenza virus.

Based on the results of your pet's examination and medical history your vet will determine whether kennel cough is the likely cause of your pup's symptoms.

How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs

In otherwise healthy adult dogs kennel cough can be easy to treat. Your vet may decide that no medications are required and that the best treatment for your dog is rest while the infection runs its course (much like the human cold). 

If your dog is experiencing more severe symptoms your vet may prescribe antibiotics to help prevent secondary infections or cough suppressants to provide your pup with some relief from the persistent coughing.

While your pet is recovering it is a good idea to avoid using neck collars, and switch to a body harness when taking your dog for walks. You may also what to use a humidifier in rooms where your dog spends time, as this can help to relieve your dog's symptoms.

Most dogs recover from kennel cough within a week or two. If your pup's symptoms persist for longer a follow-up veterinary appointment is essential. In some cases, kennel cough can lead to pneumonia.

Protecting Your Dog Against Kennel Cough

If your dog regularly spends time with other dogs ask your vet about vaccinating your pet against kennel cough. While this vaccine may help to prevent kennel cough it is not a 100% prevention since kennel cough can be caused by a number of different pathogens.

Three forms of the vaccine are available injection, nasal mist, and oral medication. If the kennel cough vaccine is recommended for your pet, your veterinarian will choose the most appropriate form.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog displaying symptoms of kennel cough? Contact Miller Clark Animal Hospital to book an examination for your pet. Our vets provide preventive care and treatment for pets in in Mamaroneck.

Welcoming New & Existing Clients & Their Pets.

(914) 698-1756 Contact