We have seen a massive influx of calls, messages and appointment requests lately from owners worrying that their dog has contracted Kennel Cough… Being your pet care professionals, we decided it was time for an educational PSA about this infamous Kennel Cough.

Helllllooooo Spring! With moisture in the air, new plants starting to spout, bacteria thriving in this Spring weather, brings on a lot of itchy, scratchy, throat tickling, coughing pets. About 40% of the worried owners coming into Pawsh thinking their pets have contracted Kennel Cough, they are actually experiencing seasonal allergies! Yes, just like humans, pets are affected by seasonal changes too, yuck!

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into some Kennel Cough facts.

Kennel cough is an all-encompassing term used to depict a multitude of highly contagious respiratory illness. Kennel cough, scientifically known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is easily spread from dog to dog through aerosol droplets, direct contact, or contact with contaminated surfaces like food and water bowls, toys, or kennel runs — a bit like how the common cold is spread in child daycare. Your dog is most likely to pick it up in an area where lots of dogs congregate, but they can also pick it up from any contaminated environment, and you can bring it home to him if you spend a lot of time around dogs at work or during volunteer opportunities.

DO NOT WORRY, Kennel Cough itself is not fatal but in rare cases, the virus could lead to bronchopneumonia in puppies and chronic bronchitis in senior or immunocompromised dogs, so it is very important to get your dog checked if they have any of these symptoms:

  1. Coughing – very strong, often with a “honking” noise
  2. Hacking up “white foam”
  3. Sneezing
  4. Lethargy
  5. Loss of appetite
  6. Low fever

Bordetella is the vaccine your dog will receive when they get their first puppy shots to help boost their immunity from the Kennel Cough virus. Since Kennel Cough is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS it is recommended that your dog will need to get it re-administered every single year.

The tricky thing about the Bordetella vaccine, just like the human Flu vaccine, is that it does not protect against all strains of the bacteria found in some Kennel Cough cases. Which is why your dog can contract Kennel Cough even though he/she is currently vaccinated. Your dog IS protected from the Bordetella bacterial infection with this vaccine, which is the most contagious upper respiratory infection caused but is not protected from the wide range of them all.

If your dog does contract Kennel Cough, your vet will prescribe antibiotics in order to prevent a secondary bacterial infection, and to not to evolve into the more serious conditions like having decreased appetite & high fever. Kennel cough symptoms start about 5 days after being exposed to the virus and lasts around 1 week… but it is then recommended not to go anywhere with your pup for 1 more week after that. Humans know that when they have a cold, to prevent it from becoming more serious, we need to rest, eat more and stay hydrated… your dog on the other hand, doesn’t know any better.

A responsible boarding and grooming facility will require your dog to have a current Bordetella vaccine (along with other vaccines) in order to receive their services. The experienced staff should also be asking all pet owners if their pets’ have been experiencing any symptoms of Kennel Cough during the time of check-in.  Every facility should also have a bacterial disinfection protocol in place and you as an owner should feel confident in asking what exactly that is. This, however, does not mean your pet will never be at risk for contracting Kennel Cough. Every time you take your pet out in the community, they are at risk for contracting an upper respiratory disease just like we are. But this risk is more unlikely to happen if your pet care facility requires all pets to be currently vaccinated and if all owners are being 100% honest of their pet’s recent health history. 

If you are concerned that your pet is experiencing any symptoms listed above, please contact your pet care professional and have your pet seen!

To book your pets’ Pawsh appointment, or if you have any questions about Kennel Cough or anything related… please follow this link —> www.pawshplace.com/contact

We are here to help!

-Team Pawsh