Everything You Need to Know About Kennel Cough

Doggy daycare – much like regular daycare – can be a cesspool of germs and infection. What does it mean when you bring your fur baby home from playing with other dogs, and his cough sounds like a goose honking? Your pup may have contracted kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis.

This upper respiratory infection is highly contagious and can cause problems for your pup and other dogs that he may meet. It is characterized by the inflammation of the trachea and the larynx. Although this disease can affect other animals, it is not likely to spread to humans. However, knowing the signs, causes and treatment options may help keep your precious pooch and his pack happy and healthy.

What Causes Kennel Cough?

The common cause of kennel cough is the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica, which is why it is sometimes called Bordetella. Although the Bordetella bacteria usually causes this condition, it is often accompanied by a secondary infection. Because viral infections like canine distemper, parainfluenza, canine herpes, and canine reovirus weaken the immune system. These infections are known to increase the risk of kennel cough.

In the same way, kennel cough makes your pup more susceptible to those viral infections. Your dog’s throat is lined with a layer of mucus to catch infectious particles, and a weakened immune system allows these bacteria and viruses to thrive and develop into kennel cough. Dogs can transfer this disease by coughing and sneezing, direct contact with other dogs, and sharing toys or food and water bowls. Kennel cough is usually spread quickly in crowded and unsanitary conditions. For this reason, the illness usually flourishes in dog hotels, vet hospitals, and doggy daycares. It’s also extremely common in dog breeding facilities and animal shelters.

Signs Of Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is an extremely common condition, but it is usually very mild and will resolve on its own. Your dog may exhibit some cold or flu-like symptoms including:

  • Strong, persistent, dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive Sneezing

Unsure whether your dog has kennel cough? Normal canine coughs happen occasionally, but kennel cough may be more persistent. It sounds like your pup is trying to cough something up without any result.

If your dog has developed a severe case of kennel cough, he may experience worsening symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of Appetite

Usually, kennel cough lasts for 3-4 weeks with the worst symptoms in the first 5 days and dwindling over time. Young puppies and older dogs with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to this condition and can take up to six weeks to recover. Stress and environmental factors like temperature, dry climate and airborne irritants like smoke can increase the severity of prevalent symptoms. If the symptoms begin to worsen after a week, consult your veterinarian, as this can indicate the development of dog flu or pneumonia, which are potentially fatal if not properly treated.

Treatment of Kennel Cough

In most cases, this condition can be treated as a regular cold. Lots of rest supplemented with proper nutrition and regular baths can accelerate healing. Excessive excitement or exercise can irritate your pet’s airways and cause intense coughing spells. Use a harness instead of a collar when walking your dog during recovery – pressure on the trachea can cause further irritation and worsen your pup’s cough.

Natural Treatment

A persistent cough can cause your dog’s throat to become dry, so restoring moisture is necessary. Several home remedies may soothe your pet’s symptoms and reduce discomfort. Create a humid environment by using a humidifier or turning on a hot shower and putting your dog in the bathroom with the steam. These methods may help his throat feel better and reduce coughing.

Some dog owners have found that a small amount of honey daily can help a dog’s throat. Honey has natural antimicrobial and antifungal agents that can reduce inflammation and soothe sore throats. Thus, reducing coughing while helping your pup fight off infection. Simply give your dog a spoonful of raw honey a few times a day. Always talk to your veterinarian before introducing human food into your pup’s diet.

Another option to consider: CBD, or cannabidiol, a natural compound found in hemp plants, is highly regarded for its health benefits. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD can ease pain and swelling, restoring comfort to your fur baby.

Pure Paws CBD Hemp Oil may soothe your dog’s dry throat, but it can also calm him down and prevent symptoms from worsening. Because stress can make it harder for your dog to recover from kennel cough, it is necessary to create a stress-free environment so that he can recuperate well. This can also mean minimizing loud noises, travel and other factors that may induce anxiety in your pup.


Severe cases of kennel cough may be treated with antibiotics. See your vet if your dog’s symptoms worsen, and they may prescribe him antibiotics. Breathing treatments and vaporizers with antibiotics may steady your dog’s breathing and relieve upper respiratory complications quickly. Corticosteroids can be helpful in reducing discomfort, while pet cough syrup stops coughing and reduces throat inflammation and irritation. Do not give your pet over-the-counter cough syrup, as certain ingredients can be toxic to your dog.

Preventing Kennel Cough

When it comes to your dog’s health, the best defense is a good offense. Always supplement your pup’s diet with vitamins and antioxidants that will strengthen his immune system and allow him to fight off foreign invaders like allergens and infections. Products like Pure Paws CBD Hemp Oil deliver a potent dose of antioxidants that can boost your pup’s immune system.

If your dog frequents kennels or highly populated areas, vaccines can be beneficial in keeping him in top form. Vaccines given orally, nasally or injected can prevent your pup from experiencing severe symptoms or stop him from catching the infection altogether. Since kennel cough can be traced to many factors, your dog may still contract it even when properly vaccinated. However, the Bordetella vaccine can reduce the risk.

When choosing a boarding facility or daycare, be sure to do your research, ask around and check for reviews. Ask if the facility regularly sanitizes toys and purifies the air. Additionally, reputable dog facilities often require up-to-date vaccinations for all dogs, which can make it less likely that any of your pup’s friends will have kennel cough. Routine veterinary checkups can help you catch the infection early and make recovery easier. Notify your daycare immediately that your dog has kennel cough. This will allow for proper disinfection and prevention of an outbreak of kennel cough.

If you live in a multi-pet household, it is imperative to quarantine your pup as soon as he develops the condition. Kennel cough spreads quickly and easily, so disinfect your pup’s shared spaces and surfaces to prevent your other pets from catching it.

Can Cats Catch Kennel Cough?

Cats can develop kennel cough, but healthy adult cats are naturally more resistant to Bordetella, so the chance of infection is slim. Cases of this condition in cats are so uncommon that they rarely receive vaccinations. Kittens younger than six weeks and older cats with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of contracting this infection and can experience severe complications. If your kitten spends a lot of time around older cats or in crowded areas, your veterinarian may recommend a Bordetella vaccination.

The symptoms and treatment of kennel cough in cats are like those in canine breeds. Since coughing is extremely rare in cats, if your feline friend develops a cough, it’s a good idea to call your vet. While it is rare for cats to contract this infection from dogs, evidence suggests that cats can transmit it to dogs and other cats. For safety reasons, you should still quarantine your feline friend if she contracts this illness.

Whenever your dog meets another pup, he runs the risk of contracting kennel cough – but there’s nothing to fear if you’re prepared. Practicing good hygiene and nutrition with natural supplements can protect your pup from potential diseases. Regular checkups and vaccinations are vital for his health and the health of other animals he may meet. If your pet comes down with kennel cough, let your veterinarian know as soon as possible to avoid further complications associated with the illness.

About the Author
Errica Snelling is a writer for Pure Paws Hemp, a leading brand of premium CBD pet products. She specializes in bringing a natural approach to pet health and wellness through proper education on CBD and pet care. Visit Pure Paws’ blog for fun tips, recipes and more.


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