Also called canine infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is a respiratory infection caused by a number of bacteria and viruses. Kennel cough is airborne and highly infectious, and can be spread by being close to infected dogs, or sharing items such as toys or bowls. The name kennel cough can be misleading as, although it can spread rapidly in situations with lots of dogs such as boarding kennels, any dog in contact with an infected dog can contract the illness.
The main sign of kennel cough is a forceful hacking cough, which may sound like retching, or trying to clear something stuck in the throat. Kennel cough may go away on its own if your dog’s immune system is able to fight off the condition, but many dogs need prescription medication to help them recover. It is best to get your dog checked out by your vet at the first signs of kennel cough as not only will they be posing an infection risk to other dogs, but the longer the condition persists, the higher the chance of more serious complications, such as pneumonia.
You can minimise the chance of your dog contracting kennel cough by having your dog vaccinated. It is important to note that your standard yearly booster does not protect against kennel cough.