Kennel Cough in Dogs

Dear owners, do not take coughing lightly. When your dog has a persistent dry cough, please bring him or her to the vet immediately.  

Though kennel cough goes away on its own, it is highly contagious to other dogs. It also causes a lot of discomfort in your dog.

“Kennel cough is a term loosely used to describe a complex of respiratory infections—both viral and bacterial—that causes inflammation of a dog’s voice box and windpipe. It’s a form of bronchitis and is similar to a chest cold in humans, “ the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) said.

Kennel Cough in Dogs
Yssa became catatonic when she was caught by the pound and placed in an illness-ridden pound with poor air circulation.  It took time to get her out of her shell and trust people even after  her rescue by animal welfare group Save ALL Inc.-Save Animals of Love and Light in 2014.  Save ALL noticed she was prone to coughing. Because of this, she is given additional supplements to boost her immune system. 

1. Persistent dry cough with a “honking” sound.

2. The dog, in most cases, appear healthy except for the cough.

3. Gagging

4. Coughing up white foamy phlegm

5. Fever

6. Nasal discharge


Dogs catch kennel cough through the following ways:

· It spreads through aerosols in the air,  either from dog to dog, or through germs on contaminated objects.

· It is often spread when the area is enclosed and the air circulation is poor  like in a kennel.

· It  can be spread through direct contact like shared water dishes or by greeting another dog.

“Most kennels will not board a pet without proof of a recent vaccination against parainfluenza and Bordetella, two of the main causes of kennel cough, “ ASPCA said.

Dogs  Prone to Kennel Cough

· Those who have frequent contact with other dogs, especially in enclosed or poorly-ventilated places.

· Young and unvaccinated dogs are at higher risk.


· Prevent exposure.

· Vaccinate your dog against kennel cough.

Ask your vet if the vaccines are recommended for your dog, and how often these should be given.

· Vaccinations will not help if the dog has already been infected.


Bring your dog to a vet if your dog has a cough.

“In some cases, you may be advised to simply let kennel cough run its course and heed the following:

· Dogs with kennel cough should be isolated from other dogs.

· A humidifier, vaporizer or steam from a shower can provide relief for irritated breathing passages.

· Avoid exposing your dog to cigarette smoke or other noxious, irritating fumes.

· A cough suppressant or antimicrobial may be prescribed.

· If your dog pulls against her collar while being walked, replace it with a harness until the coughing subsides.

· Supportive care is very important—be sure your dog is eating, drinking and in a stress-free environment,” ASPCA said.


The signs of kennel cough will decrease and then disappear after three weeks, ASPCA said.

“Young puppies, elderly dogs and other immunocompromised animals may take up to six weeks or more to recover, “ ASPCA added.

It added: “Animals may remain infectious for long periods of time even after the symptoms have cleared up.”

What you can do

· Isolate your dog from other dogs and see the vet if you suspect your dog has kennel cough.

· Your dog’s condition should improve within one week of treatment for kennel cough. However, be alert as to how long the symptoms last. If symptoms persist, please bring your dog to the vet again.

· Symptoms like nasal discharge, rapid breathing, refusal to eat or lethargy require another visit to the vet.

“Serious cases of kennel cough can lead to pneumonia if left untreated,” ASPCA warned.

Next week: Parvo virus

Topics: Kennel cough , Dogs , American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
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