As a pet owner, you want to do everything you can to keep your pet feeling his or her best. After all, our pets give us love constantly while expecting very little in return. But everyone can get sick sometimes, even our furry best friends.


One of the most common canine illnesses is known as “kennel cough.” This highly contagious respiratory infection can be picked up easily where lots of dogs are found. In this post from Normandale Veterinary Hospital in Edina, MN, our veterinarians are breaking down everything you need to know about kennel cough and how to keep your dog healthy. To schedule your pet’s veterinary appointment, give us a call!

What is Kennel Cough and is it Serious?

Kennel cough is the common name for an infection known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis that’s caused by a bacteria known as Bordetella bronchiseptica. And just like human bronchitis, it’s no fun for pets. Kennel cough spreads via a number of routes including direct contact, contaminated food bowls and surfaces, and airborne droplets.


The good news is that it’s easily treatable, although it can be quite serious in immunocompromised pets and young puppies under six months old. In fact, most cases of kennel cough tend to resolve in a couple of weeks or less when treated by a veterinarian, while untreated cases can last for weeks. Because there is a risk of more serious infections in dogs with preexisting health concerns, kennel cough should always be taken seriously and treated by a vet.


These are just some of the places dogs can pick up kennel cough:


●        At the veterinarian’s office

●        At the groomers

●        While visiting a dog park

●        On a walk

●        At the kennel

●        At dog training class

●        At the animal shelter

●        At the pet store


When it comes to kennel cough, pets can pick it up anywhere other canines hang out, and all dogs are susceptible.

Diagnosing Kennel Cough

As with any animal illness, it’s important to have a vet check your pet and give a professional diagnosis and treatment plan, so talk to your vet if you suspect kennel cough. These are some of the most common symptoms:


●        Runny nose

●        Gagging

●        Sneezing

●        Honking cough

●        Spasmodic cough

●        Unproductive cough

●        Lethargy

●        Low fever

●        Reduced appetite

Treating Kennel Cough

Your vet will determine a treatment plan for your pet depending on his or her individual health needs. If you have multiple dogs in your household, they should all be treated even if not everyone is symptomatic. A typical treatment plan may include antibiotics, rest, and other supplemental treatments. Veterinarians also recommend using a harness instead of a collar since a collar can irritate your pet’s throat while she’s under the weather.

Preventing Kennel Cough

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and kennel cough is completely preventable. Be sure to schedule your pet for her regular vaccinations so she won’t have to deal with this pesky illness. To schedule your dog’s vaccine appointment, give us a call at 952-831-8272 or contact our veterinarians online.