Kennel cough is a very contagious infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by various viruses and bacteria. While it might sound like something your pet can catch only by visiting a kennel, it is simply named “kennel cough” due to its spreading capabilities and how quickly another dog can be infected. This type of infection can be identified as a respiratory infection for dogs. It happens when dogs breathe in various particles with viruses and bacteria, which create mucus in their respiratory system. Eventually, this buildup of mucus leads to an inflammation of their trachea and larynx. This will affect your dog’s ability to bark and lead to further health concerns. Some of these symptoms include:
- A loud dog coughing sound that sounds like a honk, and can end in retching.
- Flu-like symptoms such as a runny nose and sneezing.
- Your doggo will become lazy and lethargic with a low fever.
- Your pet will not want to eat the food you give them.
How do dogs pick up kennel cough?
Often, dogs will pick up kennel cough when their immune systems are down. This can be due to several reasons, for example, the feeling of being neglected or stressed. When you leave your pet at a kennel or an animal arrives at a shelter, they’re likely to feel scared. If a dog is placed in a different environment with unfamiliar circumstances, they are prone to picking up kennel cough. Should your pet be in an area where another dog is infected, your pet will easily pick it up regardless of what you do. Dogs that live a sociable lifestyle – visiting parks, beaches or grooming parlours – can also easily pick up the disease.
If treated, you will be able to cure your doggo within three weeks. According to this website, “the incubation period is between 2 and 14 days”, so pay careful attention to your pet.
Here are a few tips on how to treat kennel cough:
Antibiotics or cough medication: If your doggo is relatively healthy with a good appetite, your furry friend should be able to get rid of the infection without having to take any medication. However, if your doggo is showing signs and struggling due to kennel cough, you will need antibiotics. Kennel cough can lead to pneumonia if not treated and can be life-threatening depending on the severity. Another tip is to consider cough medication to suppress your dog’s cough. If you feel that your dog is coughing profusely, try to save them from their misery and treat the symptoms as well. Always first consult your vet before giving your dog any medication.
Steamed air or a humidifier: When the air is dry, your dog will cough more. If this is the case, try to invest in an air humidifier to help your dog overcome their kennel cough naturally. The humidifier will moisten the air for your dog and soothe their respiratory tract. Another way to relieve your dog is to let them sit with you in a steamed room, for example, the bathroom while you shower.
Consider natural supplements: If you believe in natural ingredients, consider using honey. Much like with humans, honey can soothe a sore throat. It can do the same for pets. This is an organic way to help your doggo overcome kennel cough by treating their respiratory tract and relieving their sore throat.
How can kennel cough be prevented?
Luckily, kennel cough is a disease that is easily preventable through vaccination. Speak to your vet about vaccinating your dog with Nobivac® KC. This is a painless, intranasal vaccine that is merely a couple of drops in the nose and it will protect your dog against kennel cough for a full year.
This can also be done when you take your dog for his routine vaccinations and annual check-up. For more information on kennel cough and the right medication to take, speak to your local vet.
If you have an adult dog, read our tips on how to keep them happy and healthy.