This Article is About
kennel cough
symptoms of kennel cough
persistent cough
loss of appetite
home remedies
animal shelter
What Exactly Is Kennel Cough?
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What Exactly is Kennel Cough?

Does your dog have a persistent cough? Does he sometimes sound like he's choking because he's coughing so much?

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection much like one you'd find in humans. It is caused by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi and is called canine tracheobronchitis. Most dogs will contract this disease at least once in their lifetime. It's called kennel cough because it spread quickly among dogs who were kenneled or in an animal shelter. This is an airborne virus and spread quickly among animals. Some animals can remain highly contagious long after the symptoms disappear.

As well as contracting kennel cough from an actual kennel, you dog can also contract the virus from the ground, shoes, toys and sidewalks.

Your dog's cough may be an isolated incident. If your dog only coughs on occasion and the cough doesn't seem to be persistent, chances are he probably just got something caught in his throat or inhaled something that irritated his airway resulting in a cough.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

Coughs can become persistent which could indicate that your dog has kennel cough. Symptoms of kennel cough can include:

  • persistent cough
  • runny nose
  • eye discharge
  • sneezing
  • snorting
  • gagging
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • loss of appetite

Kennel cough is very contagious and symptoms don't usually appear until 5-7 days after exposure. If you think your dog has kennel cough then it's best to keep him away from other animals. Even after your dog stops coughing he can remain infectious for up to three months.

Treatment for Your Dog

Many times dogs can recover from kennel cough on their own. This usually takes 2-3 weeks. Some of the following home remedies can help:

  • Keep your dog in a well-humidified area
  • Use a harness instead of a collar when taking him for a walk
  • Give him a tablespoon of honey twice a day
  • Give him a teaspoon of cinnamon sprinkled over his food
  • You could also give him a teaspoon of a decongestant cough syrup three times a day (but not a suppressant formula)

Honey is a natural antiviral ingredient. Giving your dog honey twice a day will go a long way to helping him get over his cough. It also works to alleviate any nasal discharge he may have. Cinnamon is also antiviral and can help in a similar way.

When to Call the Vet

If your dog is not recovering on his own, it's time to seek help from your vet. Your vet will usually prescribe an antibiotic. It is important to seek help for your dog because if this infection is left untreated or if your dog is not responding to home remedies, your dog could develop pneumonia. One way to help alleviate the symptoms in your dog is to have your vet administer the kennel cough vaccination. This will shorten the length of the infection.

Kenneling Your Dog

If you plan to put your dog in a kennel while you are away, be sure to have your dog vaccinated prior to boarding your dog. Reputable kennels will insist that your dog have the kennel cough vaccination before boarding him. This vaccination is administered through the nose. Dogs don't normally like this but it is effective in preventing your dog from contracting kennel cough. Remember to keep your dog healthy by keeping his vaccinations up to date. This will go a long way in preventing your dog from contracting an illness from another dog.


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