Should I Call The Vet If My Dog Has Kennel Cough?

By Julie •  Updated: 07/08/22 •  3 min read
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Should I Call The Vet If My Dog Has Kennel Cough?

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Have you noticed that your dog seems to have a dry, hacking cough? Does he have any other symptoms, or is he OK otherwise? If so, there’s a chance he could have kennel cough.

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough, called Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, is a common respiratory infection in dogs. It’s caused by different bacteria and viruses; however, it’s usually caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica and Caine parainfluenza.

Kennel cough attacks the dog’s respiratory tract, causing inflammation of the upper airways. The airways become sensitive, causing the dog to cough.

Kennel cough, in most cases, is not a serious illness and can go away after three weeks. However, this can be a dangerous infection for some dogs, such as those that have secondary illnesses or infections. Young puppies and older dogs are the most susceptible to kennel cough.

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Kennel cough is a very contagious infection, but dogs don’t just catch it at the kennel. The bacteria may linger on a surface for up to 48 hours. When a dog touches that surface, he can become infected. That means any surface can infect a dog with kennel cough, including toys, water & food bowls, plants, and more.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

You may notice these symptoms if your dog has kennel cough:

The incubation for kennel cough is usually between 2 to 14 days. So, once your dog has been exposed to the bacteria, he may not show symptoms for as long as 2 weeks later. In addition, dogs can also be carriers of this illness but not be sick themselves. They may not even show any symptoms.

When to Call the Vet

If your dog develops a dry, hacking cough and shows other symptoms, it’s time to call the vet. It’s true that coughing can be caused by other things; however, if you’re not sure of the cause, it’s imperative to call the vet right away. Not only could your dog become very sick, but he could also be spreading kennel cough to other dogs.

Treatment of Kennel Cough

Treatment of kennel cough is usually done at home, and it can take between 1-3 weeks for the infection to clear up. The vet may prescribe anti-inflammatories to reduce airway inflammation and fever. They may also prescribe antibiotics if they find the infection is bacterial.

During his recovery, it’s important that your fur baby receives lots of rest and has a warm, clean, dry spot to sleep and rest. He may benefit from using a steamer but ask the vet before trying this with your dog. And never leave your dog unattended with the steamer.

In addition, it’s imperative to keep your dog away from other dogs until he’s fully recovered.

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Julie

Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.
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