Kennel cough is like cold, but for dogs. There’s no need to feel scared, though, since here’s everything you can easily do to help your fluffball recover!
With winters right ahead of us, many people are already sporting blocked noses, watery eyes, and a super lazy routine. But have you ever thought about your big old Dalmatian? Does it catch that ‘cold'? Or does its snout always stay wet and sloppy? Perhaps your dog's cold appears differently. Maybe those same symptoms have a different name for dogs!
What is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough is just like the common cold, but for canines. You have heard that a dog has infectious bronchitis, right? It's the scientific-technical term for kennel cough. Sometimes, the cough is also called Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease, or infectious tracheobronchitis. The most common evidence of kennel cough is a hacking coughing produced by canines that carry contagious germs.
What are the Symptoms of Kennel Cough?
If you feel like your dog is suffering from kennel cough (or CIRD), look out for the following signs:
• A thick cough producing a honking sound, similar to that of a deep-pitched car horn
• Frequent sneezes
• Runny nose with watery residue always present around the snout
• Lukewarm fever
• Lethargy and tiredness
• Lack of appetite
How Does Kennel Cough Spread?
Kennel cough isn't seasonal like the human cold. It can spread in any season and is highly contagious. The disease can spread through airborne droplets commonly containing the bacteria bordetella. Your dog may also contract the cough if it shares food bowls, toys, living space, or any other physical entity with an already-infected species.
Kennel cough is also a standard souvenir for dogs who visit dog parks, dog fashion shows, dog spas, boarding services, and even vet hospitals. It's easy to catch the disease in a place where dogs have close contact with each other and with the items they commonly use.
How to Treat a Kennel Cough in Dogs?
Dogs suffering from kennel cough can take between a week to a month and a half in recovery. The average recovery speed depends on the intensity of the infection, the environment your dog lives in, and how you treat your dog while it's sick.
The most effective way of getting your dog treated for kennel cough is through your registered vet. The vet will usually recommend three courses of action, including:
• Administering antibiotics to strengthen the immune system in fighting off the disease
• Nebulizing with medicated vapors of antibiotics or bronchodilators to melt away mucus and eliminate the nasal drip that inhibits free breathing and causes cough, runny snouts, and sneezes
• Administering medications for mediation of other symptoms, such as loss of appetite, fever, cough, and tiredness
Can You Prevent Kennel Cough in Dogs?
Anti-kennel-cough vaccines do exist, but they're also limited in their scope. For one, these vaccines are only advisable for canines who have a lot of outdoor activities and mingle with different animals and humans and for places that require proof of this vaccination.
The vaccine exists only for bordetella bacterium and is available in intranasal, oral, and injectable forms. Your dog may get two doses of the vaccine separated by an interval of two-four weeks and a booster every six or twelve months.
Lastly, the vaccine doesn't work on other bacteria that cause the cough. Other bacteria, albeit rarer, might be just as potent in causing the cough even after regular vaccine doses. These include bordetella bronchiseptica, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza virus, canine respiratory coronavirus, and mycoplasmas.
How to Take Care of a Dog Having Kennel Cough
Kennel cough drains your dog of its energy, agility, strength, and liveliness. Even the most mischievous of terriers who fall prey to this cough appear gloomy and bleak, which implies that the cough takes a massive strain on the health of even the sturdiest canines.
Naturally, they require your special care and attention so that they can heal properly. Otherwise, their recovery can take quite some time, especially if they're old and suffer from other health conditions. So if you're looking after an ill canine, here are some tips you may consider:
1. Use a Harness
You may be a leash-and-collar person, but a patient with kennel cough requires the use of a harness. This is because the force acting on a collared leash induces strain on the tracheal pathway, making it difficult to breathe or bark with an already clogged snout and throat. A harness that controls the dog from its torso is a much safer option under these circumstances.
2.’Give Honey to Your Dog
Organic honey contains flavonoids, enzymes, and antioxidants that may help alleviate the symptoms of kennel cough. Depending on your dog's size, strength, and illness severity, you may feed it anywhere between two tablespoonfuls to one teaspoonful of honey. You can also mix it in your dog's treats!
3. Ensure Proper Rest
If your dog is restless while it's suffering from the cough, you may consult a vet and find out a way to help it rest. The more sleep and relaxation your dog gets, the more strength it'll provide for its body to fight off the cough germs.
4. Use an Air Humidifier
Dry and polluted air worsens symptoms of kennel cough. If your dog is developing signs of infection, you may place an air humidifier near its bed so that the air around your dog is pure and moist.
5. Keep it Hydrated
Make sure your dog drinks plenty of water while it's recovering from the virus. The more water it consumes, the faster it'll excrete the toxins from its body!
6. Avoid Air-Polluted Spaces
Public parks, streets, and other open-air spaces usually contain a higher rate of air pollutants than indoor areas. This pollution may cause the symptoms of kennel cough to worsen, eventually making it harder to recover. So when your pup is developing symptoms of the infection, it's best to keep it indoors since that'll help it heal more quickly.
Besides being a fast spreader, the kennel cough is also contagious to humans — so it’s best if you maintain your distance. Instead, here’s everything you need to know to help your champ make a quick and complete recovery!