How Long Does Kennel Cough Last In Dogs? What Are Some Treatments?

You ever wonder if dogs get colds or can they catch the flu in the same way humans can? How about whether or not germs can spread from human to dogs?

To answer your first question: the answer is YES. Technically they can.

Dogs can indeed catch the cold/flu from humans, and similar medical problems can occur with your dog suffering from the flu. Let’s take a look at some of these symptoms.

  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea

As you can tell your dog can show very similar symptoms for colds and flu just in the same way humans do.

So you’ve probably heard of the term kennel cough a lot from other dog owners and you’re probably wondering what exactly this term kennel cough means.

That’s what I’m here for. Sit back, pull out a legal notepad, a nice felt tip pen, and listen up! I got you.

What exactly is kennel cough in dogs?

What is this kennel cough in dogs, and how does it relate to bordetella?

Bordetella is one of the bacterial causes of “kennel cough.” Kennel cough is a highly contagious inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) and bronchial tree caused by a contagious virus. It’s not something that you want your dog to have!

This bacterium and virus will infect your pup’s upper respiratory tracts, mostly settling down in the trachea and the bronchi. As a result of the infection residing in this area of your dog, it will cause respiratory distress, as well as triggering coughing and even sneezing.

Seems scary I know.

The disease is associated most often with dogs housed in a high-density population or boarding kennel. If your dog is to be boarded frequently, go to the groomer, dog park, and doggy day care or interact with other dogs, it is recommended.

How long does kennel cough last?

According to most vets, the majority of dogs will recover from Kennel Cough within a 3-4 week time span. This also depends on how well nurtured your dog is and how active he is. It can take up for 6-7 weeks if he has a weak immune system.

What are some signs of my dog having kennel cough?

Here are the kennel cough symptoms commonly associated with bordetella:

  • Coughing, usually dry and hacking
  • Fever, accompanied by lethargy or decreased energy levels
  • Possible nasal discharge(watery in nature)
  • In mild cases however, eating and activity levels may remain unaffected

Now there are other activities that could potentially increase the chances of you pup being exposed to kennel cough, mainly any close encounters with a potentially infected dog. Some of the more active areas include:

  • Dog parks
  • Vet’s offices
  • Dog day care centers/hotel

Bear in mind though, that most of the places I’ve listed above do require proof of up to date vaccines in order to get into.

How to treat kennel cough in dogs?

Kennel cough treatment for your dog is straight forward and simple. It’s also nothing major to panic about.

Most the time simple antibiotics prescribed by your vet can treat this issue. This will take up to 4 weeks for everything to clear, but it works. Think of it as recovering from a cold.

If it’s intense enough, your vet might require that your dog stays overnight in the vet hospital for them to closely monitor your dog. This will include pumping some fluids into your dog, but it is usually treated overnight.

Avoiding kennel cough

Avoiding kennel cough is similar to avoiding a cold or flu for humans. There are a lot of “minor” things you can do to prevent it, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

The most simple way is to ensure that your dog is up to date with its vaccination.

The bordetella vaccine is one of the core vaccines that your puppy will get boosted for, and will be administered daily for your adult dog.

Vaccination is a whole different topic that requires an entire article to learn more about. I will cover an article on vaccination in the near future. Please subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates for the upcoming articles.

With that said, kennel cough is common within dogs similar to having a cold or fever with humans. Don’t panic and if the situation gets severe enough, take it to the vet.

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