I’ve never had much experience with kennel cough. I know it’s extremely common but I never board my dogs or have them around unvaccinated, unhealthy dogs – until about three weeks ago.
I rescued McKenzie Rae from the euthanasia list at MCACC. A few days after bringing her home, Wynston and Khloee started coughing. I initially thought it was kennel cough since the shelter that McKenzie was brought to after being a stray wasn’t exactly a luxurious place. I took Khloee to the vet first because her cough was the worst, followed by McKenzie. Here’s what I learned in the process:
- Most dogs will recover from kennel cough without treatment. Although this is the case, it can take a while. If your dog is older or has other health problems, kennel cough can take up to 6 weeks to fully go away. Khloee’s cough was REALLY bad for about a week, and she’s been coughing on and off since then. McKenzie is under weight and still adjusting to a good, healthy life so it’s effecting her more negatively.
- Other symptoms may come with the kennel cough – These include runny nose, eye discharge and sneezing.
- There are antibiotics to help – My vet prescribed all of my dogs doxycycline to speed up the recovery process. Overall, I felt better since all three of my babies were on the medications at the same time. Dogs can keep contracting kennel cough, so it’s important that if you have multiple dogs who are coughing, they are all being treated at the same time.
- Warm steam will help with coughing – Just like treating Wynston’s tracheal collapse, a warm steam vaporizer or shower with eucalyptus oil can make it easier for dogs to breathe. Here are some more specifics.
- Other medications can help – Personally, I would suggest a more natural approach with the warm steam first and foremost. If your dog’s cough sounds very painful and it’s happening frequently, your vet may prescribe cough suppressants.
- Vaccinations may not matter – It’s definitely important to vaccinate your dogs, especially if you are going to board them or take them to places where there are other dogs. Wynston and Khloee are both vaccinated, but they still got kennel cough from McKenzie.
- Kennel cough is easy to catch – Dogs can contract kennel cough if they simply inhale virus particles.
- Cold temperatures make it worse – Of course my dogs got kennel cough when winter was around the corner. Cold temperatures can cause an inflamed trachea, which make the coughing worse.
- Kennel cough should not slow down your dog – Dogs with kennel cough should still have a normal appetite and activity level. If your dog becomes lethargic or stops eating, take your dog to your veterinarian immediately.
Have your dogs ever gotten kennel cough? How did you treat it?
For specific questions on how to treat your dog’s kennel cough, contact your veterinarian.