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Kennel Cough Symptoms & Treatment Guide

by Dr.Mohd Saeed

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on kennel cough, a common respiratory condition that affects dogs. In this article, we will provide you with valuable information about kennel cough symptoms, treatment options, prevention methods, and the importance of vaccines to safeguard your dog’s health.

Key Takeaways:

  • Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory condition that can affect dogs of all ages.
  • Common symptoms of kennel cough include a persistent dry cough, sneezing, and nasal discharge.
  • Treatment options for kennel cough may include medication, home remedies, and rest.
  • Preventing kennel cough involves vaccinations, proper hygiene practices, and minimizing exposure to infected dogs.
  • Consulting with a veterinarian is essential for accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plans for your dog.

Understanding Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease commonly found in dogs. It is important for dog owners to have a clear understanding of this condition, including its causes, transmission, and the symptoms to watch out for. Recognizing these aspects of kennel cough will enable you to take prompt action and ensure the well-being of your furry friend.

Related: Canine Vaccination: Your Dog’s Health Shield

Causes of Kennel Cough

Kennel cough can be caused by multiple pathogens, including viruses and bacteria. The most common culprit is the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica, which is responsible for about 78% of kennel cough cases. Additionally, other viruses such as canine parainfluenza virus and canine adenovirus type 2 can contribute to the development of kennel cough.

Transmission of Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is highly contagious and can easily spread from dog to dog. Direct contact with infected dogs, such as through shared toys or bowls, can lead to transmission. It can also spread through the air when infected dogs cough or sneeze, releasing respiratory droplets containing the pathogens. Dogs in close proximity, such as in kennels, doggy daycares, or dog parks, are at a higher risk of contracting kennel cough.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

Dry, hacking coughA persistent, harsh cough that often resembles the honking sound of a goose.
SneezingFrequent sneezing, especially after coughing.
Nasal dischargeA clear or whitish discharge from the nose.
LethargyDecreased energy levels and overall weakness.
Loss of appetiteReduced interest in food and decreased appetite.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

“Kennel cough can significantly impact a dog’s quality of life if left untreated. Understanding the causes, transmission, and symptoms is vital to ensure early intervention and prevent further complications.”

In the next section, we will explore the various treatment options available for kennel cough, providing you with the knowledge to address this condition effectively.

Treating Kennel Cough

When it comes to treating kennel cough, there are various options available that can help relieve symptoms and promote recovery in affected dogs. These treatment approaches range from home remedies to medications prescribed by veterinarians.

Related: My Puppy Is Throwing Up Worms – Quick Help Guide

Home Remedies

In mild cases of kennel cough, home remedies can be effective in providing relief and supporting the healing process. Here are a few remedies you can try:

  • Honey: Adding a teaspoon of honey to your dog’s food or water can help soothe the throat and provide natural antibacterial properties.
  • Steam therapy: Creating a steamy environment by running a hot shower and allowing your dog to breathe in the moist air can help alleviate congestion and coughing.
  • Hydration: Ensuring your dog stays hydrated by offering plenty of fresh water can help loosen phlegm and ease coughing.

While home remedies can provide temporary relief, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and guidance on the most suitable treatment plan for your dog.


In more severe cases or when home remedies are not sufficient, veterinarians may prescribe medications to address kennel cough and its underlying causes. One common medication is cough suppressants, which help reduce coughing and discomfort. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to treat the underlying bacterial infection, particularly if Bordetella bronchiseptica is the causative agent.

It’s important to note that antibiotics are not effective against viral infections, and viral causes are prevalent in kennel cough cases. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate treatment based on the specific circumstances.

Addressing Dog Respiratory Infections

Kennel cough, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, is primarily caused by the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica. However, it’s important to note that kennel cough can also be caused by viruses, primarily the canine parainfluenza virus and canine adenovirus type 2.

Respiratory infections in dogs can be challenging to manage, especially if they involve multiple pathogens. Proper diagnosis, including laboratory testing, can help identify the specific causative agents for targeted treatment. Additionally, providing a stress-free environment, maintaining good ventilation, and ensuring proper hygiene measures can help minimize the risk of respiratory infections in dogs.

Image: Illustration depicting treatment for kennel cough.

Preventing Kennel Cough

Preventing kennel cough is essential for maintaining your dog’s overall health. By taking proactive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of your furry companion contracting this contagious respiratory infection. The following preventive strategies should be implemented to safeguard your dog’s well-being:


One of the most effective ways to prevent kennel cough is through routine vaccinations. The kennel cough vaccine, commonly referred to as the Bordetella vaccine, helps protect against several pathogens that can cause kennel cough, including Bordetella bronchiseptica. Regular vaccinations should be administered, especially if your dog frequently socializes with other dogs in boarding facilities, daycare centers, or dog parks.

Proper Hygiene Practices

Adopting good hygiene practices can go a long way in preventing the spread of kennel cough. Ensure that your dog’s living environment, such as their kennel or crate, is regularly cleaned, sanitized, and well-ventilated. Regularly washing your dog’s bedding, toys, and food bowls can also help eliminate any potential sources of infection.

Related:: Dog Sickness from Ticks: Symptoms & Prevention

Reducing Exposure to Contagious Dog Coughs

Avoiding contact with infected dogs is crucial in minimizing the risk of your dog contracting kennel cough. If your dog exhibits symptoms of kennel cough or has been exposed to infected dogs, it’s essential to isolate them from other dogs until they have fully recovered. Additionally, refrain from taking your dog to crowded places or environments where the risk of exposure to contagious dog coughs is high.

“Preventing kennel cough is a vital aspect of responsible dog ownership. By staying proactive and following these preventive measures, you can help keep your dog safe and healthy.”

To summarize, by prioritizing vaccinations, maintaining proper hygiene, and minimizing exposure to contagious dog coughs, you can significantly reduce the risk of your dog contracting kennel cough. With a consistent approach to prevention, you can ensure the well-being and happiness of your beloved pet.


In conclusion, being knowledgeable about kennel cough is crucial for every dog owner. By understanding the symptoms, treatment options, and prevention methods, you can ensure the well-being of your beloved pet.

It is important to note that puppies are particularly vulnerable to kennel cough. Their immune systems are still developing, making them more susceptible to respiratory infections. As such, extra caution should be taken to protect them from kennel cough.

Remember to consult your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance on how to keep your dog, especially puppies, happy and healthy. They can provide you with the best recommendations for vaccinations, hygiene practices, and other preventive measures to minimize the risk of kennel cough.


What are the symptoms of kennel cough?

The most common symptoms of kennel cough in dogs include a persistent dry cough, sneezing, nasal discharge, lethargy, and loss of appetite. In some cases, dogs may also experience a low-grade fever.

How is kennel cough treated?

Treatment for kennel cough depends on the severity of the symptoms. Mild cases can often be managed at home with rest, humidification, and supportive care. However, more severe cases may require medication, such as cough suppressants or antibiotics, to control the infection.

Can kennel cough be prevented?

Yes, there are several measures you can take to prevent kennel cough. Vaccination is the most effective way to protect your dog from the infection. Additionally, practicing good hygiene, avoiding high-risk areas, and minimizing contact with dogs displaying signs of coughing can help reduce the likelihood of your dog contracting kennel cough.

How is kennel cough transmitted?

Kennel cough is highly contagious and can be transmitted through the air or direct contact with infected dogs. It can spread rapidly in locations where dogs are in close proximity, such as kennels, boarding facilities, or dog parks.

Are there any home remedies for kennel cough?

While there are some home remedies that may help alleviate mild symptoms of kennel cough, such as honey, steam inhalation, or immune-boosting supplements, it’s important to consult your veterinarian before trying any home remedies. They can provide guidance based on your dog’s specific condition.

Can puppies get kennel cough?

Yes, puppies are more susceptible to kennel cough due to their developing immune systems. It is crucial to protect them by ensuring they receive appropriate vaccinations, avoiding exposure to infected dogs, and maintaining good hygiene practices.

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