Kennel Cough in Dogs (Causes and Treatment)

Updated: Jan 27

Does your furry friend present with a persistent cough that has lasted for the last two weeks? Then perhaps your dog is suffering from kennel cough.

Kennel cough is a group of contagious respiratory diseases that affects dogs. All dogs from young to the seniors can contract this disease.


Often you will also find some vets referring to this disease as canine infectious tracheobronchitis. Furthermore, kennel cough isn't life-threatening. However, it hampers the life quality of its victim.

Most victims, contract this disease in kennels and other crowded areas full of dogs suffering from kennel cough.

That said, let's have a look at the causes and symptoms of kennel cough in dogs.


Causes of Kennel Cough in Dogs

Kennel cough is caused by a bacterium known as Bordetella bronchiseptica. It's one of the predominant bacteria. Hence why you will find most people refer kennel cough as Bordetella.

Besides being bacterial, a host of viruses can cause kennel cough. The most common viruses are Canine adenovirus 2 and canine parainfluenza virus.


What Are The Symptoms Of Kennel Cough In Dogs?

Kennel cough in dogs present with some mild symptoms that are easy to tell. The symptoms that you should watch out for are:

· Forceful cough

· Sneezing

· Watery eyes

· Runny nose

Note: your dog should not lose its appetite when suffering from kennel cough.


What Is The Sound Of Kennel Cough?

One of the distinguishing features of kennel cough is the sound of cough that a dog produces.

Ever heard the sound the dog produces?

While coughing, the dog produces a sound as if it's trying to clear something out of its throat.

Similar to someone trying to hack away something stuck on the throat.


However, don't confuse this sound with the reverse sneezing sound. Reverse sneezing is an allergic reaction popular in some breed of dogs.

What Increases the Chances of a Dog Acquiring Kennel Cough?

Over 50% of dog have a high probability of acquiring kennel cough in their lifetime. So here is what can predispose your lovely hound to kennel cough.

· Staying in a poorly ventilated kennel

· Exposure to dogs with kennel cough

· Cold temperatures- especially during winter

· Exposure to dust and cigar smoke


The Incubation Period of Kennel Cough in Dogs


The incubation period is the period from initial exposure of the bacterium causing the kennel cough to the initial day the first symptoms become evident.

With kennel cough, the incubation period can last from 2-14 days. Solely depends on the immunity of the victim.


Treatment of Kennel Cough

Overall kennel cough requires no treatment. It's a disease that resolves with time. If the symptoms persist, a veterinary can prescribe antibiotics and other meds.


However, always contact your vet if you note your dog is presenting with kennel cough symptoms. The vet will be in a better position to diagnose the dog and advise on the best treatment guideline to follow.

Also, avoid self-treating your dog!


Tip; avoid stressing your dog with a collar or a leash when it's suffering from kennel cough. The dog will be better off on a harness.


FAQ: Is There A Vaccine For Kennel Cough?

Yes, most shots have a component against kennel cough. And these shots primarily contain the Bordetella bacterium antigen.


That said, such a shot becomes effective when wading of kennel cough caused by the bacteria Bordetella. However, the vaccine will not offer any help if the disease is more of viral than bacterial.

Additionally, your dog shouldn't get vaccinated when it's already presenting with the symptoms of kennel cough or when the disease is during the incubation period.


FAQ: Can Human Beings Contract Kennel Cough?

Human beings cannot contract kennel cough. However, as a caution, the immune-compromised and babies shouldn't come near a dog presenting with kennel cough symptoms.


Final Thoughts

That's how kennel cough in dogs presents. This condition is not life-threatening, but close monitoring of the victims is essential.


Additionally, puppies and the senior dog who contract kennel cough should receive more attention as they are the most vulnerable.


Has your dog ever contracted kennel cough? How did you handle it? Let's hear from you.