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Kennel cough, symptoms, treatment and prevention.


Are you worried that your dog has a dry, hacking cough? If so, he may have kennel cough. A curious name for an illness similar to the cold we people suffer from. As such, the disease is not dangerous, but it is very contagious among dogs, hence the name kennel cough because the contagion occurs in places where there is contact between many dogs. Do you want to know how to prevent this disease, how to detect it and how to cure it? Well, read on! In this article we will tell you all the details about kennel cough.

What causes kennel cough?

Kennel-coughKennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis or canine influenza, is caused by viruses and bacteria that attack the respiratory system. However, it does not only affect dogs, wolves and foxes worldwide are also susceptible to it. The infection is caused by droplets of nasal secretions or saliva that dogs cough up. This is why dog toys, water bowls and food bowls help to spread the infection, especially in places where several dogs live together.


How do I know if my dog has kennel cough?

As we have already mentioned, the main symptom of kennel cough in dogs is precisely that dry, hoarse, strong and constant cough. It is normal for coughing attacks to appear, especially at night when the disease begins to manifest itself. As the disease progresses, kennel cough is repeated throughout the day.
In addition, if your dog is affected by kennel cough, you may also notice other symptoms:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Apathy
  • Nasal and ocular mucus
  • Sneezing
  • Aphonia
  • Greenish
  • Colored phlegm.
  • Fever, sometimes.
  • Vomiting, but not because of stomach problems, but because the cough is so intense that it causes vomiting.


If you suspect that your dog has kennel cough, the best thing to do is to go immediately to the veterinarian. Keep in mind that if your dog has low defenses, the respiratory condition can easily worsen if proper treatment is not established. Your veterinarian, in addition to performing a general clinical examination, will check the condition of his lungs and trachea. He will also pay special attention to nasal and ocular secretions.

To detect a possible viral and bacterial infection, as in the case of kennel cough, the veterinarian
can take a nasal or throat swab to determine the diagnosis.

How is kennel cough treated?

The treatment of kennel cough will be prescribed by your veterinarian. Antibiotics are very effective in attacking bacterial infections, but there are also other treatments, such as anti- inflammatory drugs or certain syrups, which will help relieve the symptoms and reduce the cough and fever of your furry friend. You can also apply special creams to treat eye discharge. As you can see, there are many options to treat kennel cough and, as this pathology presents different signs, it requires a different medication for each dog. Do not worry because your veterinarian will clarify everything for you and will only prescribe the necessary medication.

How long does it take to cure kennel cough?

The time between infection and the appearance of the first symptoms, i.e. the incubation period, is about 3 to 10 days, depending on the pathogen and the degree of weakness of the dog. However, in most cases, the symptoms improve within a few weeks.

But be careful!
Once the disease is over, it can take weeks for your dog’s immune system to recover. Keep this in mind because he can easily get sick again and, if he is very weak, serious complications, such as pneumonia, could be fatal.

7 basic tips for taking care of your dog sick with kennel cough

In order for your dog to feel better and recover faster, you can contribute to its wellbeing. From Las Almenas we advise you:

1.Isolate your sick dog.

Since kennel cough disease is very contagious, the first thing you should do is to isolate your sick dog from the rest of the dogs you may have at home.

2.Avoid physical exercise

While your dog is suffering from kennel cough, you should avoid physical exercise because breathing is accelerated and this will further irritate the airways. Which, in turn, will cause your dog to cough more.
This does not mean that your dog should not go out of the house. Your pet should still go for his daily walks, but do not overdo it in duration or intensity because then the symptoms can be aggravated.

3.No smoking at home

If you are a smoker, you already know that smoke irritates the throat. And this also happens to your dog, so it is better to avoid smoking at home, at least when your dog has kennel cough.

4.Humidify the environment

Air conditioning and heating dry out the environment, which causes irritation in your furry friend’s throat. The best thing to do if your dog suffers from kennel cough is to use a humidifier or, as a substitute, a pan of very hot water to which you can add eucalyptus or peppermint essences.

Leave the pot or the humidifier in the room or in the corner where your dog sleeps, this way you will help him to calm his cough and you will all rest better!


5.Change the collar for a harness

The collar on your dog’s neck can also cause throat irritation, logical, right? The best thing to do is to wear a harness rather than a collar around his neck when you take him for a walk.

6.Dry him thoroughly

Despite being convalescent from kennel cough, you can bathe your dog if necessary. What you must do is to dry him very very well to avoid the slightest humidity in his coat. You should do the same if it gets wet in the rain. Remember, your dog must always be very dry.

7.Extreme hygiene

Hygiene is fundamental for several reasons. On the one hand, if your dog has kennel cough then his immune system is on the floor and you must protect him by cleaning and disinfecting his toys and belongings. In addition, this will prevent the spread of the disease if you have other dogs at home.


Prevention is better than cure.

If you want to prevent kennel cough, the most effective way is vaccination. Even more so if your dog has a weakened immune system as is often the case with puppies, older animals and sick dogs.

Puppies are usually vaccinated to prevent kennel cough at six months of age. If you are getting a puppy, don’t forget to check with the kennel or adoption center about your puppy’s vaccination status, this is essential.

If your dog is not among the risk groups, but you are used to leave him in dog hotels or take him to dog shows or hang out in parks and places with many dogs, you can also protect him from kennel cough by annual vaccination. The kennel cough vaccination is not mandatory, but highly recommended.

In addition to vaccination, to prevent kennel cough, you should be extremely hygienic and keep your dog warm and away from other dogs that you see coughing. And don’t forget to give your dog a quality food that provides him with the necessary nutrients so that his defenses are strong against this and other diseases.


One last piece of advice

From Las Almenas we wanted to inform you about kennel cough from our perspective as a responsible kennel of toy breed dogs. But remember that the best advice on the most appropriate treatment for your dog will be offered by your veterinarian.

However, if you want to send us your doubts or comments, you can write at the end of this article or through our profiles on Facebook and Instagram. Tell us, has your dog ever suffered from kennel cough, how did he/she get infected and what was the process like, have you ever vaccinated him/her? Your example can be very useful for other readers, share it with us!

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See you next time!

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