As dog owners, we always want the best for our furry companions. Ensuring their health and well-being is a top priority. However, despite our best efforts to keep them safe, our dogs can sometimes fall ill. One common ailment that can affect our four-legged friends is kennel cough. If you’ve ever wondered how dogs get kennel cough, let’s delve into the details and understand this ailment a little better.
Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Just like when humans catch a cold, kennel cough is an infection that affects dogs’ respiratory systems. It’s important to know that kennel cough isn’t limited to dogs who have recently been in a kennel. It can be contracted anywhere dogs congregate – from dog parks to grooming facilities and even during a simple walk around the neighborhood.
The primary cause of kennel cough is the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterium. This bacterium, along with other viruses such as parainfluenza virus and adenovirus, can lead to kennel cough. These pathogens are airborne and can spread easily through the air when an infected dog coughs or sneezes. This means that even a brief interaction with an infected dog can put your own pup at risk.
Dogs who are frequently exposed to other dogs in places like boarding facilities, dog shows, or training classes are more susceptible to kennel cough. The infection can also occur when dogs come into contact with contaminated surfaces, such as food and water bowls or toys. The close proximity and shared spaces in these environments create an ideal situation for the quick spread of kennel cough.
Symptoms of kennel cough typically include a persistent, dry, hacking cough, which can sometimes end in retching or gagging. In mild cases, a dog with kennel cough might still have a healthy appetite and be active, while in more severe cases, they may appear lethargic and have a decreased appetite. It’s important to remember that just like with human colds, kennel cough can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, it can lead to pneumonia.
So, how can we protect our furry friends from kennel cough? The best way to prevent kennel cough is through vaccination. Just as we get vaccinated against certain illnesses, dogs can also receive a kennel cough vaccine. This is especially crucial if your dog is frequently in contact with other dogs, whether at a boarding facility, dog park or during training classes.
While the vaccine isn’t a guarantee against kennel cough, it significantly reduces the risk and severity of the illness if your dog does contract it. Additionally, practicing good hygiene, such as regularly cleaning your dog’s living and eating areas and avoiding close contact with dogs showing symptoms of illness, can also help reduce the risk of kennel cough.
If your dog does develop kennel cough, it’s essential to seek veterinary care. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on the best course of action, which may include rest, proper nutrition, and in some cases, medication to alleviate symptoms or prevent secondary infections.
Understanding how dogs contract kennel cough empowers us as pet parents to take proactive steps in safeguarding our dogs against this common ailment. By staying informed and taking preventative measures, we can help ensure that our beloved companions stay healthy and happy, enjoying their lives to the fullest. After all, our dogs give us so much joy and companionship – it’s only right that we do our part to keep them safe and well.