Are you concerned your dog might have kennel cough? Kennel cough is a common illness in dogs, especially in those who have been around other dogs in close quarters recently—hence the name. It can be caused by a few different types of bacteria, but they all lead to similar symptoms.
In this article, we’ll walk you through six of the most common symptoms of kennel cough so you can know what to expect. If your dog starts to show some of these signs, call Antioch Veterinary Hospital at (925) 757–2800.
The most common sign of kennel cough is a severe cough. This is usually the first sign that develops, and it worsens quickly. Dogs with a cough from kennel cough will usually make a honking sound while coughing, which is a distinctive noise frequently associated with this illness.
The cough is usually not productive, although some dogs with kennel cough may vomit from the strain of coughing so much. It can take some time for the cough to fade, even with treatment from the veterinarian.
Sneezing and Reverse Sneezing
Frequent sneezing may go along with coughing when your dog has kennel cough. The sneezing may not be as severe as the coughing, but it is still a common part of this illness. This is one of the many reasons why kennel cough is so contagious, since sneezing spreads it easily.
Reverse sneezing may also occur in dogs with kennel cough, although it isn’t quite as common as regular sneezing. Reverse sneezing also sounds like honking, much like the cough associated with kennel cough. Be on the lookout for this noise when your dog coughs or sneezes to be sure the cause is kennel cough.
Runny Nose and Eyes
Along with the other respiratory problems associated with kennel cough, your dog may also develop a runny nose or runny eyes. The runny nose may be clear, or it may show some color, depending on how sick your dog has become. The discharge from their eyes may or may not be very noticeable.
These symptoms are less common than coughing and sneezing in dogs with kennel cough, but you should still be on the lookout for them. If your dog has a runny nose or runny eyes, your vet may give you nasal or eye drops to administer.
Loss of Appetite
When your dog is sick with kennel cough, they are likely to lose their appetite. This is simply from being sick; kennel cough doesn’t really affect the digestive system otherwise. However, if your dog stays off their food for more than a day or two while they’re sick, you may need to speak with your vet for more information and for some suggestions to get them eating again.
One of the reasons for this is because kennel cough affects your dog’s ability to smell their food. If they can’t smell what they’re eating, they are less likely to want to eat it. You may be able to entice them to eat with some food that has a strong smell.
Loss of Energy
Feeling sick may also cause your dog to develop low energy. Just like humans, dogs feel sluggish and want to sleep more often while they are sick, and this is true when your dog has kennel cough as well. If this occurs on its own, there could be another cause; however, if it occurs along with any of the other symptoms on this list, it is probably related to the kennel cough.
Your dog’s energy level should go back to normal when they recover. If it doesn’t, speak to your vet right away.
Finally, your dog may run a fever if they are sick with kennel cough. If they do, you should contact the vet for information, as they may require an antibiotic or some other medication to help tackle the fever and the illness as well.
While your dog has a fever, be sure to provide them with plenty of cool, fresh water. Give them a comfortable place to rest and recover, and try not to force them into activity other than to go outside to potty as needed.
Treating Kennel Cough
It is possible for most healthy dogs to overcome kennel cough with the help of veterinary care and treatment. However, it can be tough on a dog’s body to deal with this disease. Additionally, dogs who are sick with kennel cough are not permitted in dog parks, kennels, training groups, or other locations, since the illness is very contagious.
You can prevent kennel cough from affecting your dog at all by having them vaccinated against it. Most of the underlying causes of kennel cough have vaccinations which are readily available from any vet’s office. Call us at (925) 757–2800 for more information.