Kennel Cough Awareness

Black and White dog

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is an infectious respiratory disease in dogs that spreads from sneezing, “mouthing”, playing in close contact, and sharing water bowls. The disease is highly contagious and can be transmitted easily in any area where many dogs congregate, such as kennels, daycares, grooming, fence lines, parks, and multi-dog households. It can even be carried and transferred by people’s clothes. Although kennel cough can sound terrible, most of the time it is not a serious condition and most dogs will recover without treatment.

Signs & Symptoms

What does Kennel Cough sound like?

Dogs with kennel cough often make a “honking” type sound and can have spittle which may seem like they are throwing up. Some dogs with kennel cough may show other symptoms of the illness, including sneezing, a runny nose, or eye discharge.


What causes Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough can be caused by numerous organisms, including:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica (bacteria)
  • Parainfluenza virus
  • Adenovirus type 2
  • Canine distemper virus
  • Canine influenza virus
  • Canine herpesvirus (very young puppies)
  • Mycoplasma canis (a single-cell organism that is neither virus nor bacterium)
Are there vaccines for kennel cough?

We vaccinate against the most common causative agents that offer some protection for your dog. If your dog has been vaccinated for kennel cough, they may still become ill, but the disease is usually milder and resolves quicker. We recommend vaccinating against kennel cough each year if your pet is likely to socialize with other dogs. This helps reduce the risk of outbreaks and contributes to “herd immunity” in our community.

What to do if I suspect my dog has kennel cough?

Typically, mild cases of kennel cough are treated with a week or two of rest, but your dog may need antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection and cough medicine to ease their symptoms.

  • If your dog is otherwise healthy, most cases of kennel cough are considered manageable and resolve within 1-3 weeks. During this time, your dog is contagious and we strongly recommend that you do not place them in a social setting until they have 5-7 consecutive days of no coughing.
  • If your dog has a previous existing respiratory illness, we recommend seeing us for further advice.

If you suspect your dog may be showing signs of kennel cough, please call us.