Kennel Cough In Dogs- Cause, Symptoms, And Treatment

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Kennel cough in dogs is a term used to describe a group of respiratory infections, both viral and bacterial. That can cause inflammation of your dog’s voice box and windpipe. It’s similar to bronchitis or chest cold in humans and can be very uncomfortable for your pup.

Kennel cough is a common condition, planning ahead and knowing what to do if your dog gets coughing may help to minimize the severity of Kennel cough. It will keep it from spreading to other dogs, and help your dog return to all their favorite activities as soon as possible. 

Kennel cough symptoms usually resolve within 10-14 days of exposure. If your dog has Kennel Cough, or you think he may have one.
keep an eye on his symptoms and alert the veterinarian if his or her condition worsens. 

If you’re working with animals. it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and how to prevent the disease from spreading.

Cause of Kennel Cough

a black dog without having any energy

Dogs can catch kennel cough in several ways:

  • Spread by air from one dog to another. 
  • By sharing food and water bowls.
  • Kennel cough may also be spread by direct contact.
  • It can also spread by sharing items like toys, bedding, water, food bowls, etc.
  • By passing on by the mother to her puppies in the womb
  • Usually spread when a healthy dog is exposed to an infected dog’s respiratory fluids.
  • Often spread in enclosed places with insufficient air circulation, like a kennel or an animal shelter. 

Infections that involve distemper, mycoplasma species, or dog flu are most likely to progress to pneumonia.
but pneumonia can easily occur in any dog or puppy who is young enough, stressed, or infirm.

Symptoms of Kennel cough

Close up of dog getting examined with stethoscope. hand of confident veterinarian moving stethoscope to check dogs lungs of dog.
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While Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis is not severe in most otherwise healthy dogs. it may cause more severe secondary infections in younger pups, older dogs, or dogs with compromised immune systems. 

It is infectious bronchitis that causes inflammation of the trachea and bronchioles, leading to a dry, hacking cough. When the respiratory tract becomes inflamed by bacteria or viruses, the irritation causes a constant, dry cough.

The incubation period is 2-14 days, meaning sadly, the dog can become infectious before showing symptoms. In most cases, symptoms of Kennel Cough in dogs begin two to three days after being infected, with some cases taking up to ten days to start showing signs. 

As a pet parent, you should always be watching your pets closely to ensure that you know when something is off and when it is time to call a vet.

kennel cough has symptoms similar to more severe illnesses such as canine adenovirus 2 and the dog flu (canine influenza). Other signs of Canine infectious tracheobronchitis in dogs may include:

  • Violent, choking, and dry coughs, which will often sound as though your dog has something stuck in his throat.
  • Different from the cough-like sound known as reversal-sneezing. It is common in some breeds and caused by irritation of the throat
  • A cough may frequently be initiated by gently pinching a dog’s airway below the neck called pinch testing.
  • Dry Cough with a “Honking Sound” followed by mucus or phlegm being spat out.
  • Runny nose
  • Panting
  • choking fits
  • Sneezing 
  • Energy loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Mild fever

Treatment of kennel Cough

Some vitamins for small puppy having kennel cough
Image by gpointstudio on Freepik

Treatment of kennel cough may include the following steps:

  • Your vet will check your dog to rule out other causes for the unproductive cough. Such as heart disease, fungal and parasitic infections like heartworm, collapsed trachea, and cancer. 

  • After reviewing your pet’s exam results and health history. Your vet will determine whether canine infectious tracheobronchitis is a probable cause for your dog’s symptoms. 

  • If your dog is experiencing more serious symptoms. Your veterinarian may prescribe medications like antibiotics to prevent secondary infections or cough suppression medications to help alleviate your dog’s constant cough.

  • In most cases, letting your dog rest for several days will help with the recovery from kennel cough. If this is the case, be sure to give your dog plenty of food and water and a stress-free environment for your dog to relax and recover. 

  • If your dog is showing mild symptoms and is otherwise healthy. Your vet may recommend isolating your dog from other pets to prevent kennel cough spread.

  • But if your pup’s symptoms are more severe, your vet may recommend taking your pet to hospitalised. 

  • Your vet may recommend vaccines that can prevent kennel cough including those against Bordetella, Parainfluenza, feline distemper, dog distemper, Adenovirus type 2, and influenza viruses.


A sick dog is resting.

Other conditions that may cause coughing include collapsed trachea, bronchitis, asthma, and even heart disease. There could also be a different condition at play, like non-infectious bronchitis, congestive heart failure, or another condition causing coughing. 

Just like in chest infections in humans, many different bacteria and viruses cause infectious bronchitis in dogs — usually, it is a combination of both.

Sometimes dogs may have kennel cough for months without showing any symptoms. This could endanger other dogs if they are exposed to an infected dog. Taking your dog to the vet regularly for a checkup is a crucial part of making sure your dog is in good health.

Supervet provides the best Online Pet Services in Kota where you can also consult with vets about your dog’s health and take guidance from them.

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