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What is Kennel Cough? A guide to Kennel Cough symptoms and treatment reading-time-icon 2 min read

Does your dog have a dry, hacking cough, but appear fine in every other way? They may be suffering from Kennel Cough. 

Let's take a closer look at Kennel Cough, and how to keep your dog safe from it. 

The sciency bit: what is Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough – also known as Infectious Tracheobronchitis – is a common canine respiratory infection, caused mainly by Bordetella Bronchiseptica and the Canine Parainfluenza virus, which can attack your dog’s respiratory tract and cause inflammation of the upper airway.

Kennel Cough symptoms 

In most cases, the only symptoms of Kennel Cough is the coughing itself, although some affected dogs will suffer a runny nose, sticky eyes or sneezing too. Coughing may be worse when your dog gets excited, or after exercise. 

A dog with Kennel Cough usually recovers within a week or so, but it’s always best to pop them along to your vet to ensure that it's Kennel Cough they're suffering from, and not another condition.

How to keep your dog protected

Luckily, Kennel Cough is as easy to prevent as it is to catch – just talk to your vet about Kennel Cough vaccinations.

The vaccine doesn’t provide 100% protection, but it does help to protect your dog, and will lessen the severity of their symptoms. The vaccine lasts about a year, and involves squirting a little liquid up your dog’s nose.

Most kennels won’t take dogs that aren’t up to date with their Kennel Cough vaccinations, and the vaccine takes about 7-10 days to take effect, so be sure to plan ahead if you’re going on holiday. 

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How to help my dog feel better?

Make sure they have plenty of water, nutritious food, and a comfortable place to rest.

Keep them away from other dogs while they’re coughing, too - you don't want them to spread Kennel Cough to another dog!

What if symptoms get worse?

Kennel Cough can leave dogs vulnerable to secondary infections and in rare cases, may lead to pneumonia – particularly in puppies or older dogs with a weak immune system.

If this is the case, your dog may need antibiotics or specialist cough medication. Contact your vet right away if you spot any of the following:

  • Coughing continues for more than 7 days
  • Your dog loses their appetite
  • They develop a fever
  • They contract other symptoms, or are not themselves in any way

Need more info?

For more info on Kennel Cough, contact your local vet. To find your nearest recommended vet or pet clinic, use our Find a Vet page.

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