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Coughing Canine? Here’s All You Need to Know About Kennel Cough in Dogs

what to know about kennel cough
Have your pup’s woofs turned into wheezes? There’s a chance they have kennel cough. Here’s what you need to know to defend their respiratory system and get them healthy again.

What Is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough, or canine infectious respiratory disease complex, is a respiratory disease caused by a combination of bacterial and viral infections in dogs. It gets its name from how commonly it spreads in kennels and other places where dogs are kept in close proximity to each other.
If you suspect your pup has a case of kennel cough, it’s essential to seek veterinary care immediately. The faster they receive care, the less likely they will experience serious complications.

The Causes of Kennel Cough

Similar to a human cold, kennel cough is primarily spread from an infected dog's cough or sneeze. The disease can also spread through contaminated objects, such as food bowls or toys.

Is Kennel Cough Contagious?

Yes, it is highly contagious. The disease spreads most commonly when dogs come into contact with each other's respiratory secretions. In general, dogs with kennel cough are contagious for 10-14 days, but that window can be shorter or longer depending on severity and treatment.
Kennel cough is also contagious to humans, but less so. It’s not likely you’ll catch the disease from your dog, and it’s even less likely that you’ll experience serious symptoms. Still, if you start to feel ill, talk with your doctor.

Are Certain Dogs More At Risk for Kennel Cough Than Others?

All dogs, including vaccinated dogs, can become infected with kennel cough, but puppies, senior dogs and dogs with preexisting lung diseases are more susceptible.
Kennel cough is most likely to spread in dog parks and boarding kennels where dogs are close to each other.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

Symptoms of kennel cough generally appear 3-7 days after exposure. Symptoms can include:
  •  A dry, hacking cough
  • Retching, gagging and/or vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
If your pup is experiencing any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. The earlier you seek treatment, the better the outcome, and the faster your friend will feel back to normal. If you don’t seek treatment and their condition worsens, it could turn into pneumonia.

How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs

The treatment of kennel cough primarily involves treating the symptoms, although some dogs can completely recover without any treatment. It should take about one to two weeks to recover from mild cases.

Effective Medications

While there are no specific treatments for viral infections, antibiotics like doxycycline and amoxicillin may be prescribed if the cough is caused by bacterial infection. Cough suppressants or anti-inflammatory medications may sometimes be prescribed as well. Your veterinarian will determine the best treatment for your dog depending on the situation.

Other At-Home Remedies to Try

Just like when you have a cold, dogs with kennel cough can see good results from rest, fluid and time, especially if the case is mild. Encourage your dog to slow down for a while, drink a lot of water and maybe try switching to wet food.
You can also try steam therapy. A simple way to do this is to turn on a hot shower and have your dog sit in the bathroom and breathe in the steam — supervised, of course!

How to Prevent the Spread of Kennel Cough With Multiple Dogs at Home

If you have multiple pets at home and one comes down with kennel cough, it’s best to isolate the infected dog for about two weeks. It’s also a good idea to disinfect crates, toys, bedding and food/water bowls.
There are some instances where it may be too late to stop the spread. Be sure to watch other dogs in your home closely for symptoms throughout the next week or so. If they show any signs of kennel cough, take them to your veterinarian for treatment as well.

We’re Here to Help Get Your Pup Back to Playing!

At Mixlab, we partner with veterinarians across the country to provide compounded and commercial medications in the most efficient, hassle-free and delightful way possible. We can compound medications in a variety of dosages, flavors and forms to ensure your pet gets something they like and will take. You focus on helping your pet feel calm and comfortable, and we’ll work with your veterinarian to take care of the rest. Plus, we’ll deliver the next day with a special dog toy in their care package for them to play with when they’re better!
Experience Mixlab’s five-star customer experience for yourself. Talk to your veterinarian about using Mixlab!