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Kennel Cough in Animals: What You Should Know

If you notice kennel cough in animals, take them to the vet as early as possible. Isolate them and keep them away from other dogs until they show signs of improvement and get better. But what is kennel cough, and is it a serious condition?

What is Kennel Cough in Animals

Kennel cough, also called canine cough, is an infection that occurs in the upper respiratory by a virus and bacteria. Other names for this disease are Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC) and Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis because it affects your pup’s windpipe, lungs, and voice box.

Kennel cough is extraordinarily uncomfortable and highly contagious. However, it can become life-threatening in only geriatric dogs, young puppies, and dogs with sensitive immune systems.

Causes of Kennel Cough in Animals

Kennel cough in animals is contagious and can easily spread and infect every dog. It usually transfers from one dog to another by aerosols released when a sick dog coughs. It also spreads by sharing contaminated things and contracting directly from infected animals.

Kennel cough can quickly spread when you put dogs in close quarters, such as animal shelters and boarding facilities. It can also transmit when a dog greets an infected friend or drinks water from the same bowl.


The most common or notable symptom of kennel cough is a forceful cough. You may think of it as a goose honk. It is entirely different from the cough-like sound that little healthy dogs make, which is known as a reverse sneeze. These coughs can be normal in some breeds and dogs, and usually indicate post-nasal drip or irritation in the throat.

Some dogs also show symptoms other than coughs, such as sneezing, eye discharge, and runny nose. A dog with kennel cough usually does not lose appetite or have a low energy level.


The treatment of this disease depends on the symptoms. In mild cases, doctors don’t give medications because the condition usually resolves on its own, like a human cold. Moreover, severe cases need oral antibiotics and cough suppressants. Most dogs get better after 7 to 14 days. If your dog still shows symptoms, medications will help reduce the symptoms and speed recovery. Use humidifiers in the areas you are keeping them; besides, using a harness instead of a dog collar will help reduce irritation on your pup’s neck.

Kennel cough can also lead to pneumonia, so it’s important to keep an eye on your pet’s progress. Visit the vet if you don’t notice any improvement in their health. Older dogs and puppies with a weak immune system are prone to develop pneumonia because of kennel cough. Visit your vet immediately if your dog is lethargic, breathing hard, discharge excessive green nasal, stops eating, or cough continuously. Most importantly, if you think your pup is suffering from kennel cough, isolate them immediately from other dogs to prevent its spread.

Bottom Line

Kennel cough in animals is not always life-threatening, but it can transmit to other dogs quickly. So it’s essential to stop the spread of disease; do not overlook your little fellow’s cough. Make sure to visit the vet immediately if your dogs have kennel cough to save them from further health problems.

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