What's Kennel Cough?

And should you worry if your dog gets sick? 🤧

what is kennel cough

Maybe you’ve heard the term “kennel cough” but aren’t really sure what that means.

Is it something dogs get at a shelter?

Do they get it when they stay overnight at a kennel when you're on vacation?

Is there a way to prevent it?

To get some answers, The Dodo reached out to Dr. Zay Satchu, cofounder and chief veterinary officer at Bond Vet in New York City, to find out more.

What is kennel cough?

“Kennel cough is the common name for a slew of upper respiratory illnesses that dogs can get,” Dr. Satchu said.

It can be caused by a variety of different infectious organisms that are transmitted from dog to dog. So like a doggy cold!

What are kennel cough symptoms?

According to Dr. Satchu, you’ll probably hear a loud "honking" cough and notice that your pup has some other symptoms you’d associate with a human cold, like:

  • A runny nose
  • Lethargy
  • Inappetence
  • Fever

How does a dog get kennel cough?

Just like with a human cold, your dog can get kennel cough from being in close contact with a dog who has it themselves! Think places like doggy day care, boarding, dog parks or even in the elevator of your building. It’s also commonly seen in new puppies, especially if they came from a pet store or somewhere where dogs are kept in crowded conditions.

How do you treat kennel cough?

According to Dr. Satchu, your dog probably just needs some rest, time to heal and, sometimes, oral antibiotics.

“Depending on the severity, your pet may need oral antibiotics to help treat or prevent pneumonia, which can be a common complication to kennel cough,” Dr. Satchu said.

Is kennel cough dangerous?

Generally speaking, no. Kennel cough often just goes away on its own and doesn’t even require treatment.

Of course, there's always the chance that kennel cough can develop into something worse, especially in puppies, older dogs or dogs with existing illnesses. So if your dog is sick, it’s always best to reach out to your vet just to be safe.

How can you prevent kennel cough?

Vaccinating your pup can help to prevent it. The vaccine helps to protect against common strains of the illness, but not all. “Keeping up to date on vaccinations will lessen the severity of illness, should your pet contract kennel cough,” Dr. Satchu advised.