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Treatment for Kennel Cough

Updated on June 7, 2011

What is Kennel Cough?

Most people have heard of Kennel Cough, but few are aware of exactly what it is. Kennel cough can be extremely distressing for both dog and owner and correct identification of the illness is important. Whilst kennel cough is in itself rarely fatal, it can lead to serious illnesses such as bronchopneumonia.

Kennel cough is a highly contagious condition that can remain contagious days or even weeks after symptoms have disappeared. Kennel Cough is casued by a combination of bacteria and infectious viruses that can spread rapidly between dogs either by direct contact or contact with contaminated surfaces. This rapid spreading of the disease through close contact is how kennel cough got its name.

Summary of signs and symptoms

  • dry hacking cough
  • cough that continues till vomiting is likely
  • vomiting during or after eating and drinking
  • loss of appetite
  • redness of eyes
  • runny nose
  • history of close contact with other dogs

Signs and symptoms of kennel cough

 Symptoms normally include a 'hacking' cough that sounds much like a bark and often continues to the point where it sounds as though your dog may vomit. This hacking is very uncomfortable for your dog and puts its body under a lot of strain if it remains untreated. The production of phlegm with this cough is common, a sure sign that the throat is irritated. This irritation is often the cause for a dog with kennel cough to vomit during or immediately after eating or drinking. Other common signs of a dog suffering with kennel cough can be a runny nose, loss of appetite and redness around the eyes.

Classic symptom of kennel cough

Treatment and Prevention of kennel cough

 There are four key areas in treating kennel cough and preventing its return. If your dog is presenting any of the symptoms above then you should seek immediate consultation with your vet.

Kennel Cough Vaccine

Dogs that spends a lot of time with other dogs such as frequent kennel users or gun dogs amy well benefit from the kennel cough vaccine. Understand that the kennel cough vaccine does not give 100% protection.

Stop the cough

Coughing is both the cause of transfer and causes the dog great discomfort so it makes sense to use cough suppressants. Cough suppressants can be particularly useful to enable your dog to rest and sleep at night. Relief from the coughing can definitely boost kennel cough recovery times but cough suppressants should not be used indefinitely.

Anti inflammatories

Kennel cough and the accompanying throat irritation can lead to swelling in the airways.  Your vet may decide that such swelling is best relieved with a course of anti inflamatory drugs to help them breathe more easily.


Fundamentally for kennel cough to be cured a course of antibiotics may well be needed to treat the bacteria that are the cause of the problem. your vet will prescribe the appropriate type and dosage of antibiotic for your dogs needs.



Kennel Cough - Prevention better than cure?

 Understanding the classic triggers of kennel cough can be key to helping prevent your dog from suffering the discomfort and paying for expensive vet visits. Recognise likely sources of contamination and learn the symptoms of kennel cough so treatment can begin early. Mixing with other dogs in kennels is a common cause and if your dog spends time there, you should be particularly alert for early signs. Poorly ventilated kennels and cold humid conditions can both trigger the illness and stressful situations can easily trigger a relapse.

Its important to recognise that helping your dog to maintain a healthy immune system through an appropriate diet is the best way to help both prevent and cure kennel cough. Your vet can give you good advice on maintaining a balanced diet and give you advice about additives such as garlic pills to boost their immunity.


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      dogfond 4 years ago

      Though it is very frustrating to hear our dogs with kennel cough, the cough could go on naturally on its own sometimes without treatment. I don't usually give my dogs antibiotics and other drugs. Home remedies are effective and very safe to use.

    • infocity profile image

      infocity 5 years ago from United States

      It is also referred to as canine infectious tracheobronchitis. Dogs suffering from this medical condition make awful choking sounds.

      The most common reason of kennel cough is bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria that affects dogs having either of these viruses- parainfluenza virus, distemper or canine herpes, canine adenovirus.

      Here's some more ways for the treatment -