If your dog is unlucky enough to pick up kennel cough there’s no need to panic, but as a responsible owner you should take steps to stop it from spreading any further. Unfortunately, the affliction is very contagious, so can easily be passed around, even if your dog isn’t necessarily in a kennel. It can be as easy as just meeting dogs in the park.
Given how common it can be, it is worth understanding the facts about kennel cough before your faithful hound gets it, so you can deal with it in the right way. Below we have listed some key details and things you can do to help your poorly pooch.
Does it always come from kennels?
Since it is highly contagious, your dog will usually contract kennel cough from being in a group of other dogs. This can be from a kennel, but can just as easily be from meeting a group of dogs in the park, drinking the same water as an infected dog or even from sharing toys.
Symptoms of Kennel Cough
Typically, kennel cough is more common during summer months, although the dry cough can still be contracted in colder seasons. It presents itself as a ticklish cough caused by inflammation of the upper airway, and is the equivalent of infectious bronchitis.
It will sound as if your dog has something caught in its throat and is trying to get it up. It might also sound like sneezing, retching or choking in some cases.
Is Kennel Cough dangerous?
Not particularly, but it will sound worse than it is. Just remember to stay calm, and comfort your dog through any symptoms whilst giving them plenty of water. The only time it can be dangerous is if it is picked up by a puppy, or dog that isn’t vaccinated. In this scenario kennel cough can develop into pneumonia, so it’s worth seeing a vet straight away.
In most cases, kennel cough isn’t anything to worry about, and your dog will make a natural recovery within about three weeks. For an aggravated strain that is affecting your dog for a longer period, it is worth checking in with your vet to see if he can prescribe antibiotics, cough suppressants, or anything to help speed up recovery.
The best thing for you to do at home is keep the inside well-ventilated to aid the breathing of the affected dog, and to try and stop anything from irritating their neck such as tight collars. As much as possible you should try and isolate your dog from others initially to stop the infection spreading further, but if you do need to take them out, use a harness that won’t press on their neck and keep them away from other dogs.
Is there a chance of reinfection?
There are different strains of kennel cough, like any regular cold, but after contracting the most common strain, your dog will be immune for around 6-12 months. There are some vaccinations available for your dog to fend off kennel cough in the future, but it is always worth consulting a vet before using any on your dog.