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  • Morgan Dennis

Kennel Cough in Dogs

I often get questions regarding kennel cough and I find that most may not be aware of the facts. Kennel cough is the common name for an infectious respiratory condition in dogs (Blue Cross, 2021), that causes a cough and cold-like symptoms. Local kennel cough cases are on the rise so here is some information on what to look out for.


 Dogs can catch kennel cough by inhaling the droplets released when a sick dog coughs, direct contact with a sick dog or sharing contaminated toys or water & food bowls. Certain risk factors can mean that some dogs are more susceptible to catching kennel cough including a very young or old age, stress, exposure to airborne allergens or cold temperatures. It is also possible for your dog to catch kennel cough more than once due to it being caused by different bacteria and viruses. The most common symptom displayed is a dry, hacking cough & retching but other symptoms can include sneezing, vomiting, eye discharge, not wanting to eat & a runny nose (AKC, 2019).



Kennel cough is rarely severe but can be unpleasant for your dog, most cases do clear up on their own. Puppies, elderly dogs and dogs with other health conditions are at risk of more severe cases. Contact your vet if you do suspect your dog has kennel cough as there are other conditions that cause a cough in dogs such as allergies, so it is important to get the correct diagnosis. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics but you can also use a humidifier at home and give your dog manuka honey with their food to moisten their airways and reduce irritation. Your dog will need to stay hydrated, well rested and to have lots of love, exercise may make their condition worse so consult your vet on what to do about walks and playtime (The Kennel Club, 2022).


Kennel cough is highly contagious so you will need to keep your dog away from other dogs while they are showing symptoms, I always tell my clients to also keep their dog at home until 2-3 weeks after symptoms have gone. There is a vaccination available for kennel cough which is very helpful and will reduce the severity of symptoms should your dog get kennel cough but it will not stop your dog catching it so be sure to take your dog to the vet should they appear sick (PDSA, 2020).


As always, thank you for reading and I hope this information has been helpful for you, if you are in doubt please contact your vet for further advice.


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