There are many different places that your dog can contract Kennel Cough, also known as Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis. That is why it is important to keep the Bordetella shot up to date (every six months to a year). Even with the vaccine, dogs can still pick up this cough through other strains of bacteria, just like people can still get the flu even if they are vaccinated.

Dogs can get these bacteria through shared surfaces like bowls, touching noses or exchanging kisses, or simply through the air. If you are suspicious that your pup may have Kennel Cough, check out the symptoms below. Your dog could experience all of them or just one of them consistently.

Cough

This is not just any cough. A Kennel cough sounds like a honk and often causes a dog to gag afterward. Sometimes they even vomit up spit after a cough attack. This may look scary, but it is not dangerous if your dog has seen the vet and is on antibiotics and/or cough tablets.

It usually takes between three to five days for the cough to start to slow down. This is why it is extremely important to reduce their exercise and postpone any activities they usually participate in. This also prevents your dog from spreading kennel cough to other dogs at the places you may go outside of your backyard.

signs of kennel cough
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Runny Nose and Eyes

Kennel Cough also brings on cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose or watery eyes. The body is busy fighting off the bacteria, so it produces more mucus. All the coughing and sneezing may cause the eyes to appear watery as well. Be sure to wipe away any nose discharge with a warm, wet cloth, so it doesn’t crust over on their face and hurt later on.

kennel cough signs
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Lethargy

Being sick is exhausting and Kennel Cough can definitely drain the energy of a dog. They may be less excited about their food and treats or sit out during a game of fetch. This is normal and should always be taken into consideration when going for walks.

A short walk with a harness is suggested for bathroom breaks, especially if they seem to be coughing. With a lot of rest, a mild case of Kennel Cough can go away on its own. If your dog just seems a little off, do not be afraid to consult your veterinarian. If your dog seems agitated or uncomfortable while sleeping, make sure he or she gets treated.

Fever

In very severe cases, a veterinarian may find that the dog is running a slight fever during the examination. This should go down with the medication recommended. Most of the time Kennel Cough is not life threating, but sometimes the cough can indicate other issues in the body. Never hesitate to call your local vet clinic; they should always know how to recognize whether your pet is in danger.

If you have more than one dog at home, it is hard to prevent Kennel Cough from spreading to them. If they all seem fine after a couple days, then there is no need to get them treated. It is generally okay to wait one or two days for an appointment if you are considering getting medication. They should be back to their normal happy selves in no time!

Author

Caitlin is originally from Vermont and has been working with animals since she can remember. She studied Behavioral Neuroscience and is now Mastering in Animal Shelter Management in Colorado. Her hobbies include horseback riding, fostering animals, and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. She has volunteered at five different animal shelters and worked in three different vet hospitals. Her passions include animal health, behavior, and enrichment. Caitlin also spends time taking high-quality photos of shelter animals to help them get adopted faster.

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