Kennel Cough in Dogs & Things You Need to Know

If your dog is coughing, it’s possible that he or she has kennel cough. Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection that affects dogs of all ages but is most commonly seen in puppies and young adult dogs. The symptoms, causes, and treatment of kennel cough in dogs will be discussed in this article. We will also provide tips for preventing your dog from getting sick.

What is Kennel Cough?

What is Kennel Cough

The term “kennel cough” specifically refers to a type of respiratory infection caused by one of several viruses and/or bacteria. Symptoms usually include a harsh, dry cough that sounds like “honking.” Other symptoms can include gagging, retching, runny nose, and fever. Because the symptoms are similar to those seen with other diseases such as pneumonia and bronchitis, kennel cough should be treated as a serious condition.

If your dog has coughed for more than two weeks, you should take it to the vet right once. A mild form of kennel cough is fairly common among dogs that have frequent exposure to crowds of animals or go to doggy day camp or doggy daycare. The more intense form of the disease is less common and occurs mostly in dogs who go to boarding facilities, grooming facilities, or dog shows.

What Causes Kennel Cough?

What Causes Kennel Cough

There are several causes of kennel cough. The most common causes include: –

These are bacteria that can be found in the mouths of 70% of all dogs, but it only causes problems in those whose immune systems have been weakened by stress, illness, or advanced age. The canine adenovirus type-2 is also fairly common among dogs and usually isn’t a problem unless it’s contracted with parainfluenza. Kennel cough can also be caused by non-infectious irritants such as fumes from cleaning products, tobacco smoke, or perfume.

In most cases, kennel cough is caused by a combination of these factors. Stress plays an important role in the disease because it weakens immunity and makes dogs more susceptible to contracting infections. Kennel cough is highly contagious and spreads through contact with other dogs via air droplets, aerosolized particles, or direct contact.

The virus can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours which means that it can be passed along from one dog to another even if they’ve never come into physical contact before! Dogs don’t usually start coughing right away because it takes 3-10 days after exposure before symptoms appear.

Symptoms usually develop in three stages:

  • Watery eyes and nostrils
  • A dry, hacking cough with nasal discharge, sneezing or gagging
  • Severe coughing

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Kennel Cough?

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Kennel Cough

A loud, dry cough that sounds like “honking” is one of the most common signs of kennel cough. Other symptoms can include gagging, retching, runny nose, and fever. Because the symptoms are similar to those seen with other diseases such as pneumonia and bronchitis, kennel cough should be treated as a serious condition.

Other symptoms of kennel cough in dogs include: –

  • Watery eyes and/or nasal discharge
  • Inflamed airways
  • Nasal discharges that are yellow or green
  • Eye inflammation ( conjunctivitis )

Your dog’s coughing may become more severe when it exercises or is excited. If the coughing becomes paroxysmal, seems to get worse at night, or causes your dog to gasp for breath, you should contact your vet immediately. These symptoms suggest that there’s something else wrong with your dog and they need further testing.

What Should I Do When My Dog Coughs?

What Should I Do When My Dog Coughs

First of all, don’t get too worked up! Many dogs who contract kennel cough quickly recover without any treatment. If your dog is a long-term resident of a boarding facility, you should isolate it from the other dogs as soon as possible. If your dog has been coughing for more than two weeks, take them to see a veterinarian at once. You can also expect to pay anywhere from $20-$75 dollars to have the vet diagnose and treat the condition.

Sadly, there is no treatment for kennel cough. The most your vet can do is prescribe antibiotics to treat secondary infections and manage symptoms over the course of a week or two.

In severe cases, dogs may be prescribed prednisone which has more of a steroidal effect on the body. This drug can help reduce inflammation in the airways, making it easier for your dog to breathe until the infection clears up.

Can I Give Aspirin to My Dog

Can I Give Aspirin to My Dog

No! Aspirin is not advised since it raises the risk of bleeding by reducing platelet aggregation. If you give your dog aspirin when they have an infection, their chance of developing gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers also goes up!

You should take precautions to keep other pets in your home from contracting kennel cough. Consult your vet about canine influenza vaccinations (which can help prevent kennel cough, among other things). If you board your dog at a facility or take them to the dog park regularly, try to limit their exposure as much as possible by keeping them away from crowds and places where there are likely to be lots of other dogs.

Your veterinarian should offer some specific guidelines that will make it easier for you to avoid getting other dogs sick without isolating your pet completely.

What Can I Do To Prevent Kennel Cough?

What Can I Do To Prevent Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is relatively easy to prevent because many of the steps involved are simply common sense! First of all, keep your dog up-to-date on its vaccines so that it has strong protection against canine influenza. You can also vaccinate your dog for kennel cough because it’s often included in the “5-way” vaccination that protects against five common diseases in puppies.

As a general rule, avoid taking your dog to places where there are lots of other dogs unless you have no other choice. Always wash and disinfect after returning from a place like this before touching or playing with your own dog. If possible, board your pets at home instead of sending them to a boarding facility so they don’t catch anything new!


Kennel Cough is a contagious respiratory disease that can easily spread to other animals and humans. The best way to protect pets from contracting this illness is through vaccination, which should be administered by your veterinarian or someone who has been trained in the process of administering vaccines.

If you suspect that your dog might have contracted Kennel Cough, it’s important for you to understand how the symptoms may appear so that you know when it’s time to take action. You’ll also want to make sure that any other animals in your home are vaccinated against the virus as well.


Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

Q. How can I cure kennel cough in my dog at home?

Ans: Your veterinarian can recommend medications that will help manage your dog’s symptoms until they are able to recover on their own. Don’t attempt to treat the condition with home remedies, antibiotics, or over-the-counter remedies because you may make it worse!

Q. Is kennel cough contagious for humans?

Ans: Yes, Kennel Cough is highly contagious for humans which means precautions should be taken in order to prevent infection. It’s important to avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth before thoroughly washing your hands after handling a dog with Kennel Cough. When working near dogs like this, cover your mouth and nose to avoid getting the virus in your respiratory system.

Q. What are the different types of kennel cough?

Ans: Two of the most common types are Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (often called “kennel cough”) and Canine Distemper, although other variants may also occur. The two main types are Parainfluenza and Bordetella, both of which can cause severe cold-like symptoms similar to kennel cough.

Q. Is it possible for kennel cough to go away on its own?

Ans: Yes, many of the symptoms of Kennel Cough will resolve themselves within seven days. This doesn’t mean that it’s safe to ignore the warning signs of this virus because some dogs may need medication in order to complete their recovery.

Q. What is the difference between kennel cough and canine influenza?

Ans: Kennel Cough is more likely to make your dog feel like they have a sore throat whereas Canine Influenza can cause vomiting or diarrhea as well as respiratory problems. Unlike Kennel Cough, Canine Influenza also has the potential to cause pneumonia if left untreated.

Q. Is honey good for dogs?

Ans: Honey is not toxic to dogs and it does contain some antioxidants that they would benefit from. However, you should never feed your pet honey because it may cause them to develop botulism which can be fatal.

Q. How do I get rid of kennel cough in my home?

Ans: If a dog in your house has Kennel Cough, you’ll need to thoroughly clean their toys, bowls, and any other items so they don’t continue to spread the virus. Ensure that all items have been disinfected by washing them with a diluted bleach solution or putting them in the dishwasher for at least 30 minutes at 120 degrees Fahrenheit before re-using them!

Q. How Much Coughing Does a Dog Do With Kennel Cough?

Ans: It’s common for dogs to have mild symptoms of Kennel Cough, which may include cough or two, but severe symptoms can include intense coughing that lasts for several days. It usually resolves itself after about one week and should not require medical treatment unless it lasts longer than this period.

Q. Is kennel cough the worst at bedtime?

Ans: Many dogs may struggle to sleep when they have Kennel Cough because their throat or chest region will feel really sore. You may need to keep your dog in a separate space at night and provide them with extra food and water until the symptoms go away, which can take about one week.

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