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Dog Kennel Cough Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

April 09, 2020



Canine infectious tracheobronchitis, commonly known as kennel cough, is a highly contagious condition found in dogs. This respiratory infection affects a dog's airway causing worrisome symptoms, but is rarely serious. Kennel cough is very similar to human colds, which are caused by a variety of viruses. Even though most dogs recover without treatment, those with compromised immune systems or very old or very young animals may become seriously ill and require immediate medical attention. This complex disease is caused by several different viruses or bacteria and can begin to affect a dog within five to ten days following exposure.


Kennel Cough Symptoms

The main symptoms of kennel cough are:

  • A persistent cough that sounds like the dog is choking or gagging, and can be compared to a honking goose
  • Retching or gagging
  • A foamy white liquid is expelled from the throat


When the cough is accompanied by lethargy, appetite loss, or extreme nasal discharge it may indicate a more serious condition such as pneumonia. Most symptoms abate by themselves within a few days, but can last as long as three weeks. Owners who observe their dog coughing and choking should seek a diagnosis to determine the cause.



Dog kennels and shelters are notorious for keeping animals in poorly ventilated areas that are cold and dusty. Animals may contract an illness by inhaling virus particles into their respiratory tract. The first sign of an infection may be a dog coughing persistently. Dogs that have been exposed to adverse conditions or other infected dogs should receive comprehensive testing. They should be given blood tests and have X-rays taken to determine the severity of the kennel cough symptoms before beginning treatment.


Treatment and Prevention

A veterinarian will observe a dog to determine the severity of the cough before recommending a course of treatment. If the symptoms worsen, a veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic if the blood test reveals a bacterial infection. Sometimes dogs recover without any treatment.

Natural treatments, such as the new BestLife4Pets Breathe Easy Remedy for Dogs, can aid in reducing the severity of the cough, reduce chest congestion, and aid the dog’s natural healing.


In addition, vaccines can help prevent the development of this condition. A veterinarian can administer a vaccination before a dog is exposed to situations with extreme risk factors for contracting a cough. There are three forms of this vaccine available. It can be injected, given orally or be administered as a nasal mist. This vaccine is not guaranteed to prevent all forms of the disease, but it is effective for most.

Since this cough is so highly contagious, it is best to limit contact with other animals that may be infected. Because dogs are confined in close quarters, most boarding facilities require proof of annual vaccinations before they are accepted. This minimizes the risk of dogs contracting kennel cough symptoms from infected dogs.

Kennel cough is not a serious condition for healthy dogs, so keep your pup's immune system strong and healthy to make any illness easier to overcome.




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