Spotting and Treating Kennel Cough in Dogs

What is Kennel Cough? Know the Facts

During the warmer months and through holiday travels, dogs will meet other dogs for playtime, on walks, and just as they are out and about. Naturally, people worry about their dogs getting sick from this exposure to other dogs and people. This is the time of year that dog owners need to pay attention to the possibility of their dogs getting kennel cough. If your dog is “coughing,” gagging, or sounds like they are constantly choking, this may be an indication that they could have kennel cough.

Let’s begin with certain facts about kennel cough in dogs:

  • Some dogs will never get kennel cough, whether or not they have the Bordetella vaccine.
  • Some dogs will get kennel cough, even if they have the vaccine.
  • Dogs can spread the organisms that cause kennel cough without showing symptoms of the disease.
  • Some dogs have serious reactions to the vaccines that cause kennel cough.
  • The organisms that cause kennel cough can live on untreated surfaces for up to two weeks.

Considering these facts together, how can owners protect their dog from kennel cough? If dog owners want to absolutely guarantee their dogs will not contract this illness, only isolating their dogs from contact with other dogs and people will work. But dog owners can greatly reduce the likelihood that their dogs become sick in more realistic ways.

This month, Winding Road Kennel wants to make dog owners aware of the consequences of kennel cough and how to prevent it from happening to your precious pup.

Protect Dogs from Kennel Cough with Vaccinations

The first line of defense is vaccination. Keeping dogs vaccinated against kennel cough on a regular schedule is the best way to protect them. However, not all dogs agree well with the vaccine. If your dog has a bad reaction to the kennel cough vaccine, make sure the dog socializes with vaccinated dogs. This will help to limit exposure of the organism that causes kennel cough.

The kennel cough vaccine, also called the Bordetella vaccine, is like the human flu vaccine. It provides protection from the most common organisms expected to be active in a given year. Exposure to a different kennel cough-causing organism can still lead to sickness. But even then, the vaccination increases the dog’s ability to fight off the sickness, making the infection less harmful.

Be Proactive During Play Time with Other Dogs

Another way to avoid kennel cough is to stay away from the organisms that cause it. While this seems like a no-brainer, these organisms can be anywhere. Dogs can get kennel cough from other dogs who have the illness, or things these dogs have coughed on, sneezed on, licked, or handled with their mouths. Do not allow your dog to share toys with unknown dogs, and never allow dogs to share a water bowl outside of the family. After all, we wouldn’t let our children share toothbrushes or drinking glasses with other children at school, would we?

Cleanliness is an Important Way to Keep Kennel Cough Away

The final line of defense against kennel cough is general cleanliness. If a dog has any exposure to kennel cough-causing organisms, but lives in clean, sanitary conditions, the dog may not get the disease. Frequently disinfecting shared spaces can help to reduce the chance of Bordetella organisms becoming concentrated.

Like we mentioned, the organisms that cause kennel cough can live on surfaces for up to two weeks. Regular cleaning of counters, water bowls, floors, toys, and bedding will help to lessen the chance of your dog getting or spreading the illness.

How to Treat Kennel Cough

If you believe that your dog has kennel cough, be sure to make a call to their vet right away. They will be able to give you the best advice on how to proceed in care. Mild cases may need rest for a few weeks, but more severe cases could require antibiotics. If going outside or on walks, use a harness instead of a collar to lessen stress or tension on the throat. Also make sure that your dog isn’t sharing water, food, toys, and other items with other dogs to help stop the spread. In some cases, other species like cats and rabbits can become infected, as well. Keep a close eye on pets in the family to watch for signs of additional cases.

Visit Winding Road Kennel for Safe Boarding

After learning about kennel cough, we understand that the idea of boarding may be scary. What if you want to board your dog during the summer or a quick weekend away? How will you know that they are well taken care of and protected from disease? Fortunately, you have a choice about the type of kennel that takes care of your dog. Look for a kennel that keeps its guests warm enough and cool enough to keep them comfortable, dry, and in good health. Look for a kennel where sidewalks, corridors, lobbies, and other public places are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Look for a kennel like Winding Road Kennel!

Winding Road Kennel believes in one-on-one play time and keeps dogs separate, unless they are in the same family. Our kennel ensures that all pups have their own bedding, water bowl, and toys during their stay with us. You can count on the staff at our facility to keep your beloved pet safe while boarding.

Winding Road Kennel in Parkersburg, WV, is here to answer any questions you may have about kennel cough. Give us a call at (304) 428-3518, or follow us on Facebook for updates at the kennel.