Canine Cough: Symptoms and Treatments

Canine Cough: Symptoms and Treatments

If you own a dog, you have most likely heard of Kennel Cough. Kennel Cough, also known as Canine Cough, is highly contagious respiratory disease. While it is not typically a serious illness for dogs, it should be treated promptly so that it does not progress into something more serious.  The Canine Cough virus is an airborne virus most commonly spread in places where a large number of dogs congregate, such as dog parks and boarding kennels. It’s helpful to know the symptoms of Canine Cough so that you can quickly address it in your dog and minimize the spread of this very contagious disease.


  • A Cough that almost sounds like a “honk” or reverse sneeze. This is the first and most obvious symptom.
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever


If you notice your dog coughing, call your vet right away to ensure that it’s not something more serious, such as Bordetella, which has similar symptoms.  Most likely your vet will start your dog on antibiotics to treat the symptoms.  There are times when antibiotics are not needed, however, most vets feel a round of medications is the best way to treat a dog with canine cough to ease their symptoms and to also minimize the spread.  You will most likely be advised to keep your dog away from other dogs until he has finished his meds and is back to normal.  Most vets will also require a follow-up appointment to ensure your dog is in the clear.


Since Canine Cough is an airborne virus that is typically transmitted in areas where dogs congregate, many people are reluctant to board their dogs with their vet or at a Kennel.  This is certainly understandable, but here’s what we do, at Hillrose Pet Resort, to combat this virus and prevent the spread of it in our kennel.  Circulating large volumes of air helps to dilute the virus so we provide large rooftop fans that provide for ample airflow and minimize the possibility of our boarders spreading canine cough.

Also, the vaccine that is given for canine cough is a live vaccine administered through the nasal cavity. The first time a dog is given this vaccine, usually as a puppy, they are temporarily contagious to other dogs.  At Hillrose Pet Resort, we require the first vaccination to be given at least four days prior to boarding. This provides enough time for the contagious period to pass before the dog is around other dogs.  If this is not possible, we will quarantine the dog in order to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

It’s important for families to feel that their pet is safe and protected when boarding is necessary. Taking these extra precautions make our kennel a popular one for that reason.


If you notice these, or any other symptoms in your dog, call your vet right away. Remember, acting quickly not only brings quicker healing to your pet, but it also prevents the spread of contagious canine disease.  Also, keeping your dog’s vaccines current is another important factor. While the kennel cough vaccine does not cover all strains of the virus, it can help to lessen the severity of the disease if your dog should get it.  Think of it like getting a flu shot for yourself each year; it’s no guarantee that you won’t get the flu, but the shot can help lessen the severity if you do get sick.

In both humans and animals, vaccines provide protection in two ways: they protect us and help prevent the spread of disease.

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