What you need to know about kennel cough

Kennel cough is a highly contagious viral infection that affects your dog’s upper respiratory tract.

The most common symptom of kennel cough, also known as infectious bronchitis, is a dry, hoarse bark that almost sounds as if there is something stuck in your dog’s throat. Less noticeable symptoms include sneezing, watery eyes and clear nasal discharge. Other than the unsettling cough, a dog’s behaviour and appetite should remain normal.

Because kennel cough is so contagious, it spreads by coming into contact with ill dogs or contaminated objects such as water-bowls and toys, and through the air when an infected dog coughs, sneezes or barks. This also means that it spreads rapidly at places like the park, kennels, doggy daycares, parlours and even at the vet.

Kennel cough usually doesn’t require any treatment and your dog should recover well without medication. However, it can take two to three weeks for the cough to subside and as it’s so infectious, it’s best to stay home and rest. Sometimes dogs develop a secondary bacterial infection and when this happens, they get symptoms such as lethargy and loss of appetite. With a secondary infection, the cough starts to change and the nasal discharge becomes a green colour. If you notice this, your pet may need to visit the vet.

Can kennel cough be prevented? There are various vaccines available that guard against kennel cough and even though they don’t guarantee full immunisation, they provide some protection and less severe symptoms. Speak to your vet to learn more about kennel cough and the best way to protect your dog from it.

Quick tips

  • Keep your dog well-hydrated if they have kennel cough.
  • Use a humidifier to moisturise the air around your dog’s bed.
  • Give a tablespoon of honey three times a day to soothe the cough in large breeds. For smaller dogs, a teaspoon should do the trick.

What about cats?

Our feline friends are also susceptible to kennel cough and they can get it from dogs. Treat the symptoms as you would in a dog and visit your vet if you’re concerned.

* Source:,


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