top of page
Black Dog

Kennel Cough

What Is Kennel Cough?

Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD) is the medical term often used interchangeably for a number of respiratory diseases with similar symptoms, one of which is Bordetella, also known as “Kennel Cough.” Kennel cough is a bacteria (Bordetella bronchiseptica) spread through saliva and/or aerosolized particles from an infected dog, either through direct contact or through exposure to surfaces that an infected dog has had contact with.

Kennel Cough does require a veterinarian exam to confirm diagnoses. 

Kennel Cough is the most common upper respiratory infection of dogs of all ages. It is most often recognized by a persistent hacking or honking, gagging, sometimes spasmodic or unproductive cough. Some dogs may experience low energy, decreased appetite, or may be asymptomatic but still contagious.

Kennel Cough can last for days or weeks if left untreated.

How Does a Dog Contract Kennel Cough? 

Any one of these common situations can put your dog at increased risk for Kennel Cough:

  • Dog park visits

  • Vet visits

  • Grooming

  • Day Care

  • Boarding

  • Multi-dog households

  • Training Classes

  • Daily walks or contact with other dogs

  • Chronic heart or lung disease

  • Compromised Immune System

  • Commercial transport

  • Recent adoption from shelter, rescue 

  • Pet store visits

What Causes Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough is caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica.

Is Your Dog at Risk? 

Yes, all dogs are at risk for Kennel Cough. Here’s why:  Kennel Cough is easily transmitted when dogs cough or come in contact with each other or with contaminated surfaces. Even brief contact with an infected surface such as a bush or sidewalk is enough to transmit kennel cough.  

Kennel Cough can survive outside for a limited time (about half an hour), but is highly contagious until that point. You can also transmit kennel cough from an infected dog on your hands, shoes, and clothing. 

Puppies are at greater risk for Kennel Cough if they have not been vaccinated yet or have not been previously exposed to Kennel Cough. Even vaccinated dogs may still contract Kennel Cough, as no vaccine exists to cover every strain, which does mutate rapidly. 

How is Kennel Cough Diagnosed?

 Veterinarians usually rely on visible signs of disease, specifically the characteristic hacking or gagging cough. In addition, veterinarians may conduct laboratory tests, including bacterial culture, to aid in the diagnosis.  A positive response to antibiotics is also an indication of Bordetella infection 

How is Kennel Cough Treated?  

This varies based on your dog, their symptoms, underlying health, and your veterinarian’s preferred method of treatment. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotic therapy or a supportive therapy such as humidifier treatments and rest.  If your dog needs help resting, cough suppressants may also be recommended, but you do want to make sure your dog is able to have a “productive” cough to help break up any fluids in the lungs. Your veterinarian is the best source for treatment options for Kennel Cough. 

How Does The Dog Club Handle Cases of Kennel Cough?

If your pup contracts Kennel Cough, the policy at The Dog Club is to contact your veterinarian immediately for advice, and to wait at least one week from the time your dog starts treatment (if recommended) before returning to daycare, assuming they are on the expected course of recovery and no longer exhibiting symptoms. We ask that you please contact your vet for his or her opinion before returning as well. This is due to the contagious nature of the bacteria.

The cleaners used in our facility throughout the day, and after every single session, are formulated specifically for veterinarian environments, targeting and eliminating potential transmission of viruses and bacteria like Kennel Cough, Parvo, Distemper, even the human cold and flu (and recently shown to eliminate Covid-19 as well). 

If we observe coughing while in our care, we will isolate the pup until you are able to pick them up, and we will notify you immediately. We appreciate your understanding that our policies are driven by the priority we place on the overall health and wellness of all the dogs in our care. 

bottom of page