Animals Pets

Kennel Cough In Dogs: Important Cause, Symptoms & Treatments

Kennel cough is also known as Infectious tracheobronchitis, it is a kind of infection which is caused by the virus and bacteria. It usually affects the lungs, voice box and windpipe of dogs. You will find symptoms, causes, and treatments about this disease in this article.

kennel cough

This disease is also known as Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC).  Kennel cough is most common in summer but maybe it can occur anytime. It makes the dogs more vulnerable to a secondary infection.

If you have a pet dog then you must know that they can become ill, cystitis is one of the common diseases so it is important for you to find out the symptoms of Cystitis.

What Is Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is an infectious disease which is found in dogs. This disease is caused by bacteria and virus. Kennel cough is also known as Bordetella, this name comes after the bacteria named Bordetella bronchiseptica which is a cause of this disease.

what is kennel cough

This disease attacks the respiratory tract and causes infection in the upper airway, which leads to irritability of the airway and dry cough. This disease is common in summer, but it can occur at any time. During this disease, dogs sound like something stuck in their throats.

Kennel cough is highly treatable among dogs but can be more common in puppies younger than 6 months of age.

What Does Kennel Cough Sound Like

Dogs Suffering from this disease make a respiratory sound. Mostly a cough is noticeable in such a situation but you should be aware of another sound called reverse sneeze.

kennel cough sound

The reverse sneeze is generally mistaken for a cough, sneezing, a choking fit, retching, or even for some sort of respiratory distress. A cough can be productive or dry, means it is followed by the swallowing motion and gag. You should not confuse with the vomiting.

How Is Kennel Cough Transmitted?

Kennel cough transmitted to other dogs in different ways, you should be aware of those ways to protect your dog from this infectious disease.

dog runny nose

Few of them are listed below:

Spread Through The Air

Kennel cough is an airborne disease and it is primarily spread through the air. How it is transmitted through the air? When an infected dogs cough, bark or sneezes, he releases many microscopic contaminants in the air, these bacteria and viruses can remain alive and able to infect other dogs in the air about two weeks.

They travel on dust particle throughout the environment until inhaled by the other dog. Once it enters in a dogs body, it attacks the respiratory portion.

Contact With Contaminated Objects

If a dog suffering from this disease drinks water from a dish or pick up a toy, and other dogs touch these objects, then he will also suffer from this disease. Bacteria can survive 48 hours alive and during this time they can infect other dogs.

Direct Contact With Infected Dogs

Kennel cough also spread through direct contact with the infected dogs. So be careful where your dog hangs out. Touching noses or just breathing the same air as an infected dog can cause your dog to develop this disease.

Usually, dogs suffer from this disease in Dog daycare, kennels and other pet businesses where many dogs are coming and kept in a close place or quarters. If any dog is suspected to have this disease, that dog must be confined immediately.

Kennel Cough Causes

Kennel cough doesn’t have a single cause, there are various infections particle or factors which are working at the same time to infect your dog.

Some of them are listed below:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica (bacteria)
  • Canine reovirus
  • Canine influenza virus
  • Parainfluenza virus
  • Adenovirus type 2
  • Canine distemper virus
  • Canine respiratory coronavirus
  • Canine herpesvirus
  • Mycoplasma canis

The most common cause is bacteria which is known as bronchiseptica. Due to this cause kennel cough is also known as Bordetella. Bacteria alone didn’t attack, it combines with viruses such as canine parainfluenza and both weaken the dog’s immune system and also affect the windpipe and voice box.

The most common path of transmission of kennel cough is through the air.  When infected dog cough or sneeze it releases thousand of contaminants in the air, these bacteria and viruses stay alive about 2 days, they remain in the air until they find there next host.

Your dog may be get infected by touching the contaminated objects of infect dogs. Maybe this disease transferred through animal interaction. So you should be careful while your dog is playing with other dogs.

Kennel Cough Symptoms

It is noticed that sometimes there is no signs or symptoms of this disease while sometimes you notice a few of the following symptoms:

A Dry, Hacking Cough

This is the primary symptom. The cough is mostly dry, maybe sometimes mucous can be expelled, may be described as a honking noise. This cough is consistent and depressing. Some dogs may face coughing after a few minutes while some may face constantly coughing as they lying down or walking.


Fever is also the sign of kennel cough. If a dog is suffering from fever then he likely has gotten a progressively extreme type of the infection. Some dogs appear perfect and healthy in this disease while some coughing all the time.


Not all dogs with this ailment seem lazy, few look like healthy and normal.


Nasal discharge and watery, runny eyes most common signs of this disease. Sometimes the discharge will be clear but in some cases, it can be slightly discolored.

How To Treat Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is an infectious disease. If you think that your dog is suffering through this disease, you need to take your dog away from other animals and contact your veterinarian.

kennel cough treatment

In most cases of this disease, there is no need for any treatment, it will resolve without any treatment. Medications may speed up the recovery process or maybe overcome the symptoms during the course of infections, there are some antibiotics which will target Bordetella bacteria and cough medicines.

Dogs infected with kennel cough might be recovered within 3 weeks or maybe it takes up to 6 weeks but that’s for older dogs. If your dog crossed the expected limit of recovery then you should concern with the veterinarian because maybe this disease leads to pneumonia.

There are three forms of vaccine for kennel cough disease, one is injected while one is delivered as a nasal mist and the last one is given through mouth. These vaccines may help to recover but they do not guarantee protection against this disease because there are several bacteria which cause kennel cough.

It will be useful for the dog owner to use a harness rather than a collar to walk with this disease because the irritability of the windpipe can provoke the cough and probably cause damage to the windpipe.



There is a vaccine available for the bordetella bacterium, which is the key cause of kennel cough. This vaccine is available in intranasal, oral and injectable form. It is usually given in two doses to four weeks apart, after every six months.

If you notice that your dog is coughing then it will be better to visit a veterinarian.

How Long Does Kennel Cough Last

Most dogs recover from kennel cough within 3-4 weeks, but some dogs which are puppies or older may take 6 weeks to recover.

how long does kennel cough last

The answer to this question depends on the individual dog, but the 3-6 week time frame is common.

Quick Wrap-up

Kennel cough is contagious, which usually affects the lungs, voice box and windpipe of dogs. This disease is caused by bacteria and viruses. It causes infection in the upper airway, which leads to irritability of the airway and dry cough.

Dogs Suffering from this disease make a respiratory sound. Kennel cough transmitted to other dogs through the air, contaminated objects and direct contact with infected dogs, you should be aware of these ways to protect your dog from this infectious disease.

Mostly 3-4 weeks time is required to recover. If your dog still suffering then you need to visit a veterinarian. Take Ellicott Small Animal Hospital services for general medicine such as vaccines, dental care, and routine diagnostics.

I hope you like my article about “Kennel Cough In Dogs: Important Cause, Symptoms & Treatments” You can also visit some other interesting posts like Why Does My Cat Lick Me Then Bite Me? Cat Behavioural Problems. For more related articles you may visit the “Animals” category at Try Articles. Please leave a comment below that how much you find this article helpful. You may also hit your queries in the comment section below if any


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