Kennel Cough In Dogs – Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Kennel Cough In Dogs

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Kennel cough in dogs is a very contagious viral infection. It often spreads from dog to dog in kennels and that’s why it got its name.

Does your dog have kennel cough? Here’s everything you need to know about this nasty infection so that you can help your fur baby recover.

Kennel Cough In Dogs

Kennel cough is caused by a bacterium called Bordetella Bronchiseptica but a family of infections can cause Kennel Cough in dogs.

It’s an airborne infection where dogs get infected by inhaling the bacteria in the air from the infected dog. It may also happen if they play with an infected dog. It’s very contagious so if one dog in the locality has it, it is very likely to spread to other dogs.

Usually, dogs tend to recover pretty well from Kennel cough. However, if your dog has other conditions or is either too old or too young, it can lead to pneumonia and can be fatal.

In other cases, kennel cough makes the body susceptible to canine distemper. Young unvaccinated puppies who get canine distemper with kennel cough are very less likely to make it.


Common symptoms of kennel cough include:

  • Loud coughing from the mouth that often resembles a goose
  • White mucus from the mouth
  • Runny nose
  • Mild fever

Dogs with kennel cough often feel pressure on their throat when they are on a leash. If they lunge or try to bark, you may hear them cough. Some dogs also have trouble breathing and sleeping because of the congestion.


Usually, any kind of respiratory infection in dogs is labelled as kennel cough. After you tell them the symptoms they may press the throat to check for any coughing. This is usually enough to diagnose kennel cough.


Usually, a few days of rest is all that it takes to treat kennel cough. Doctors might give antibiotics to protect the body from other infections. In some rare cases, doctors prescribe nebulisers too.

It usually takes 3 weeks for kennel cough to heal and 6 weeks for it to heal in older dogs or dogs with a compromised immune system.

Don’t let your dog mix with other dogs. If you have more than one dog, try to keep them separate as much as possible. We know this is difficult and it’s very likely that your other dog will get infected.

Seclude all your dogs from other dogs for the next 3-4 weeks. Even if one dog is infected, your other dog can become a carrier.

Though the condition is not contagious to people, we can become carriers and infect other dogs. This is why it would be best to stay away from other dogs and pet parents as much as you can.

Also, avoid using neck collars for the next few weeks. Collars add pressure to the larynx and induce coughing which irritates the throat. You can use a padded harness instead as this will take away all the pressure they have on their neck.

A few weeks of downtime is all that it takes for dogs to make a full recovery. But if you see their symptoms worsen or if they start to deteriorate, you should take them to the vet to rule out any other kinds of infections.

Can Dogs Get Kennel Cough Twice?

Yes. Though the immune system becomes stronger if they have kennel cough once, there are many strains of kennel cough, so a dog can catch the other strains of the infection.

If dogs are infected by the Bordetella Bronchiseptica, they will stay immune for the next 6 months to a year. But after that, they can get infected again.

Our best advice to prevent this condition would be to avoid crowded doggie daycare centres, kennels etc as much as you can. Don’t let your dog play with other dogs that seem a bit sick to you.

Work on ways to strengthen their immune system – keep their weight in the right range, give them the right dog food and make sure they are clean. These simple things will prevent kennel cough.

Should I Give My Dog The Kennel Cough Vaccination?

There is a vaccination for Bordetella Bronchiseptica. It is either given as a nose drop or it comes as an intravenous injection. Most veterinarians in India give the intravenous injection if you make a request. However, the nose drop vaccination is less invasive and more holistic. 

For the vaccination to work, you will have to give it every once a year or once in 6 months. But, even after all the effort, this vaccination does not guarantee that your dog won’t get kennel cough again. 

They will most likely catch other strains of kennel cough if exposed to an infected dog.

Instead of giving them the Bordetella Bronchiseptica vaccination, you can give them the canine distemper and parvo vaccinations. This will protect them from getting other life-threatening infections if they get kennel cough in the future.

Many doggie daycare facilities have made it compulsory for dogs to get a kennel cough vaccination. In this case, you can give it but you don’t have to renew it unless they have to go to a doggie daycare facility again.

If you have a young dog with kennel cough, don’t worry. They are most likely to get better in a few weeks. 

We hope this article was helpful to you. Does your dog have kennel cough? Or did they ever have it in the past? Let us know in the comments section below.

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About Dheepakh

About Dheepakh

Dheepakh is a dedicated pet parent. His love for his dogs turned him into a pet food enthusiast. He has dedicated all his life to understand pet food nutrition and is eager to learn everyday.

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