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Kennel cough is one of the most common health problems for dogs, and it’s easy to contract. Dogs can pick up this respiratory disease at kennels, but parks, pet stores, and other areas where they come into direct contact with other dogs or share bowls and beds. Kennel cough is also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis and can cause severe health complications in puppies and older dogs alike. It is essential to recognize the symptoms and treatments of kennel cough infection.

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Unusual Cough

The telltale sign of a kennel cough infection is a new and unusual cough and a recent history of having been exposed to other dogs. The cough typically sounds like more of a honking noise, rather than an actual cough. It is also sometimes described as a raspy or shallow type of cough. A dog with kennel cough will typically behave as though they have something stuck in their throat and is trying to dislodge it. If your dog has a sudden cough of any kind, you should keep them away from other pets. Use separate water and food dishes until 4 or 5 days after the cough resolves, either by itself or with the aid of antibiotics. Kennel cough is highly contagious, so it is essential to prevent it from spreading to other animals through direct or indirect contact.

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Lethargy

Another common symptom of kennel cough is lethargy. It’s important to know what your dog’s typical activity level is so that you can note any sudden changes in energy. A dog who has kennel cough will often seem run-down or tired and may not want to play or go for walks. Small amounts of exertion, like jumping onto the couch or going outside, may tire them out entirely. Your dog may also sleep for extended portions of the day or be slow to stand up after laying down. These are symptoms which may be associated with other more serious diseases as well. If you should notice any of these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian for an appointment.

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Fever

Because kennel cough is a type of infection, it usually results in a fever. Dogs are generally much warmer than humans, with an average body temperature between 100 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37.7 and 39.1 degrees Celsius. A dog with a temperature above 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit (39.7 degrees Celsius) is considered to have a fever. There are lots of pet thermometers available on the market, which can be used to take the temperature of your dog. A fever that lasts for more than two days is a good sign that you should call your vet and schedule an examination.

symptoms of kennel cough
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Nasal Symptoms

When a dog has kennel cough, he or she may develop many of the same nasal symptoms that humans do during respiratory infections. You may notice that your dog is sneezing more often or that they have a constantly runny nose. Their eyes may also be watery or red. These are all symptoms of kennel cough, and you should talk to your vet about treatment options. It is also important to clean up after your dog and disinfect any bedding or furniture that comes into contact with their face. Doing this will help to prevent the spread of kennel cough to your other dogs.

kennel cough symptom

Loss of Appetite

Many factors contribute to loss of appetite in dogs with kennel cough. First, coughing may irritate the throat of your dog and make eating unenjoyable. As a result, your dog may not want to eat at all or may consume only a small portion of their regular meal. If you notice a loss of appetite lasting more than a few days, you should see your veterinarian. They’ll be able to provide you with a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, so your dog can stay nourished.

signs of kennel cough

Rest

Most instances of kennel cough will resolve on their own, without any medication, within a period of 10 days to two weeks. Make sure that your dog gets plenty of rest and let them sleep as much as they need. Do not take your dog for walks, both because this may spread the infection to other dogs and because it is tiring for them. You should also provide a comfortable, dry place for them to sleep indoors since cold or moist air can cause kennel cough to worsen over time. If you notice an increase in the severity of symptoms, or they do not improve after a week or two, you should contact your veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis.

kennel cough signs

Seclusion

One of the reasons that kennel cough is such a common disease is that pet owners often do not take the proper precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. If you have multiple pets, the dog with kennel cough should be separated into one room and should not come into contact with your other animals. All food and water bowls should be disinfected with soap and hot water, then diluted bleach, regularly. Toys and bedding should be cleaned periodically as well. Your dog should also be kept indoors while they are ill. Do not take a dog with kennel cough to parks, pet stores, training lessons, grooming appointments, or anywhere that other dogs may be.

seclusion kennel cough

Switch to a Harness

If you use a traditional leash and collar for your dog, you should replace it with a harness. This is true at all times but is especially important when your dog has kennel cough. Kennel cough irritates the trachea, making your pet’s throat especially vulnerable to the pressure that comes from a collar and leash. Harnesses, in contrast, wrap around the belly and legs of your dog to provide a safe, secure way to leash them. A collapsed trachea is a serious, sometimes fatal condition. Some breeds of dogs are more prone to this injury than others. To protect your dog’s throat from this kind of trauma, invest in a harness system.

kennel cough puppies

Antibiotics

In more severe cases of kennel cough, medicines may be necessary to clear up the infection. This is especially true for puppies and older dogs or dogs with compromised immune systems. Your veterinarian can help you to determine whether your dog needs, or if the infection will resolve on its own. Antibiotics are typically inexpensive and can usually be picked up from your vet’s office or a local pharmacy. Be sure to let your veterinarian know that your dog may have kennel cough before bringing them in so they can take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease at their office.

antibiotics kennel cough

Cough Medicine

If your dog’s cough is so severe that they have difficulty sleeping or eating, your veterinarian may prescribe a cough medicine similar to those that humans take. Cough medicine may be in syrup form or may be given in pills. Many types of cough suppressants are available at your local pet store, but others require a prescription from a veterinarian. You should always be careful to closely follow dosing instructions based on your dog’s size, breed, and weight. Failure to do so can result in overdose or ineffectiveness, both of which are detrimental to your pet’s health. Even after the cough medicine begins to work, you should still keep your dog separated from other dogs until 4 or 5 days after the coughing resolves and they are fully healthy.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.