Why is My Dog Coughing? Kennel Cough 101

You may be asking yourself “why is my dog coughing?” if your dog coughs with a hacking or “honking” sound, yes, like a goose sometimes the cough happens only in the morning time, when your woof gets excited or is pulling on the leash. This is characteristic of canine kennel cough, which is similar to a hooman’s common cold that is picked up while at work, socializing or your hooman kids daycare. 

What is Kennel Cough, Exactly?

An infectious respiratory disease that can be detected by your dog’s cough sounding much like a goose honking sound. “Kennel Cough” as it is commonly referred to, is made up of multiple viral and bacterial infections, according to Dr. Lauren Schluterman of Bowman Road Animal Clinic.

The most common cause of kennel cough is a contagious bacteria that is picked up in an environment or from licking furriends in the face. For all of our vacationers’ protection, the bordetella vaccine is required to stay at Hounds Lounge Resort and Spa and must be given at least 48 hours before arrival. 

What is kennel cough?

While all dogs must be vaccinated for Bordetella, there are also other bacteria and viruses that can cause kennel cough, making the vaccine not 100% fool-proof. As a matter of a fact, there are 13 different strains of viruses and bacterias that cause “kennel cough” and there are only 6 different vaccines which means that 7 strains our doggos are not protected from until they are exposed and build up a strong immunity. 

What does Hounge Lounge Resort and Spa do to suppress the spread of kennel cough?

Hounds Lounge is not only dedicated to providing the very best doggie daycare, overnight stay facility and grooming experience to our vacationers – but also to provide the highest level of cleanliness, safety and wellbeing to all of our guests. We take our responsibilities of keeping all woofs safe very, very seriously. (And hoomans! Read our Coronaviruff pupdates here!) 

Justin with a beloved fur babe at Hounds Lounge fayetteville

In order to reduce the incidents and spread of kennel cough, Hounds Lounge:

  • Keeps all play and stay areas thoroughly cleaned and sanitized (hospital-grade sanitizers) multiple times every day to ensure the safest stay possible for all guests
  • Facilities are equipped with infrared filtration systems to ensure that we are actively eliminating airborne pathogens (a major culprit of the spread of kennel cough)
  • Requires all guests to be up-to-date on vaccinations, including their respiratory infection vaccinations, prior to each and every stay at the Lounge 
  • Educate our staff and be constantly watching/listening for symptoms that might be related to “Kennel Cough” such as, gunky eyes, nasal drainage, sneezing and coughing/hacking

What are the Symptoms of Kennel Cough?

Other than your dog coughing frequently in a hacking or honking manner, there are several other symptoms to know when it comes to your dog and kennel cough. Some of these symptoms are often confused with common allergies we have here in Arkansas. Not to mention that when our doggos are battling allergies, their immune system is compromised welcoming the bacterias and viruses that cause respiratory infections to enter.

Pup at Hounds Lounge Doggy Daycare

These symptoms include:

  • Hacking or honking cough
  • Runny nose or eyes
  • Repeated sneezing

Less common yet more severe symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite (Also a side effect of the #HoundsLoungeHangover)
  • Low fever

A trip to the vet is in order if you believe your beloved fur baby is experiencing any number of these symptoms or you suspect your dog may have kennel cough. It is best to not delay treatment to avoid any unnecessary infections or worsening of symptoms – just in case! Kennel cough is also more likely to be transmitted to dogs with compromised immune systems and young pups, as well.

How Do Dogs Get Kennel Cough?

There are several bacterias and viruses that can cause your precious woof to come down with a canine cold. Much like hoomans can get a cold from many types of viruses or bacteria, dogs can also come down with kennel cough from a variety of viral or bacterial culprits. Because kennel cough is highly infectious, it spreads easily from dog to dog in close proximity to each other and even airborne.

Similarly to other respiratory illnesses, kennel cough can be passed from woof to woof through:

  1. Airborne respiratory droplets
  2. Direct contact with an infected pooch (nose to nose contact or kisses)
  3. Sharing toys or via other contaminated surfaces
Kennel cough can be spread through direct contact (1)

Diagnosis of Kennel Cough in Our Fur Fam

At Hounds Lounge, we are not veterinarians and your pup should be taken to his or her regular vet if you suspect your pooch may have come down with kennel cough. 

Once at your vet, they may take bacterial cultures or blood tests to isolate and identify the bacteria. An x-ray of your dog’s chest, lungs and trachea may also be taken. While many cases of kennel cough resolve themselves in around 3 weeks, it’s important to have a vet check your pooch to make sure that no complications, such as infections, are arising. It’s likely your vet will prescribe an antibiotic to prevent a secondary infection, such as pneumonia, and a cough tab to lessen the cough.

Timeline and Treatment for Kennel Cough

Kennel cough, much like a hooman cold, runs its course over time and usually clears up with no complications. The virus may incubate for 2-14 days after exposure, then your dog may exhibit symptoms from 7-14 days. Your dog is still infectious on day 10 and should be kept away from any other dogs at home. To ensure the safety of our furry guests, our policy at the Lounge is that any dog that is diagnosed or being treated for kennel cough must wait 14 days after the last cough or the last antibiotic (whichever comes last) before returning to Hounds Lounge.

Hounds Lounge doggie daycare Little Rock Arkansas (1)

“It is recommended that any dog with a current communicable illness must wait at least 14 days after symptoms are gone to resume doggy playtime. It is very important that all prescribed antibiotics are finished completely even if clinical signs, such as coughing, have completely resolved.”

Dr. Lauren Schluterman, Bowman Road Animal Clinic

Treatment for kennel cough may include a round of antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian. The most common antibiotics include Baytril, Doxycycline and Clavamox. 

At home, you can help your pooch recover by:

  1. Using a humidifier to help relieve their respiratory symptoms 
  2. Keep your dog away from any smoke, such as grills, fire pits, campfires, etc. that could irritate their lungs
  3. Use a harness for walks instead of a collar to reduce tension put on vocal cords or the trachea 
  4. Avoid known stressors to your pooch to aide their immune system, including activities such as nail trimmings, baths, loud noises or anything that could cause your precious pooch to worry 

Kennel Cough Prevention

Vaccinations are the best way to protect your pooch against kennel cough. Although, as mentioned earlier, kennel cough can be caused by an array of bacteria and viruses, so the vaccine may not be effective at protecting against these other possible culprits. 

Other ways to protect your dog include helping them naturally boost their immune system via a healthy dog food diet, regular exercise and a stress-free environment. If your dog has been exposed to kennel cough or has caught kennel cough, please be sure to keep them away from other dogs and animals to reduce the spread of this common canine cold. 

Pup plays safely at Hounds Lounge Doggie Daycare

“Both humans and dogs require appropriate immunizations to protect against infectious diseases for the safety of all. The best thing we can do for our four-legged companions is to keep them up-to-date on all of their appropriate immunizations to not keep them from the activities that they enjoy!”

Dr. Lauren Schluterman, Bowman Road Animal Clinic

Hounds Lounge is Here to Keep Your Woof Safe

As a hooman, sickness can get us down. We know too well how hard it is to see our fur babes deal with sicknesses of their own, no matter how mild. Kennel cough should be taken seriously, especially if your beloved fur child has a compromised immune system, is older or if they’re still a young pup.

The seriousness of contagious doggy diseases is a matter not taken lightly at the Lounge. Much like we expect hooman restaurants, hotels, airplanes, schools and workplaces to do everything that they can to keep us safe, we expect the same for our cherished fur babes.

Hounds Lounge Requires all dogs be vaccinated for kennel cough (1)

In order to stay and play at Hounds Lounge Pet Resort and Spa, we require all woofs to be current on their vaccination schedules as well as be symptom-free when it comes to kennel cough. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and willingness to keep Hounds Lounge kennel cough-free! If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact your neighborhood HL location.