If you’re reading this you probably have a dog at home who is driving you crazy with constant coughing and hacking. On the one hand you want to be able to give him some relief, and on the other, you want some peace and quiet as well.
Well the bad news is if it is kennel cough your canine pal may have it for 1 to 3 weeks.
Kennel cough or canine infectious tracheobronchitis is an extremely common condition among both dogs and cats. It is essentially an upper respiratory infection often times contracted after close contact with unfamiliar animals such as those in a kennel. Kennels of course, are not the only places where your dog can come in contact with this highly infectious disease. Aside from the obvious encounters in dog parks or on leashed walks, your dog can be infected simply by coming in contact with an area that an infected dog has been.
So is it kennel cough or something else?
Kennel cough symptoms include:
- A dry hacking cough sometimes followed by a gagging sound.
- A watery nasal discharge from one or both nostrils
- Conjunctivitis – Inflammation and redness of the lining of the eyes
- In more severe cases, the dog may become lethargic, lose its’ appetite and run a fever. If this occurs you need to get the pet to a veterinarian.
Kennel cough is a complex disease normally consisting of multiple viruses and transmitted through the bordetella bacteria. You probably already know that name from your veterinarian’s bill for inoculations.
The best treatment obviously is prevention but even the shots can not guarantee that your dog will not become infected. However there are some things you can do at home to make your pet more comfortable.
Most dogs will work through the infection in a week or two. Here are a couple of ideas to help him through it.
- If the coughing is productive, that is if mucus is coming up, then don’t do anything to prevent it. The dog is ridding himself of infected material.
- If the cough is not productive, then give him a dose of children’s cough syrup to slow down the hacking.
- Honey on a piece of bread can ease the irritation in the trachea caused by the coughing.
- Make sure that your pet’s sleeping area is clean and dry and well ventallated.
- Be aware that your house is now infected and will continue to be infected until at least a week after your dog recovers. You shouldn’t have visitors who bring pets into the house during this time.
If you really think about it, kennel cough is just one of those negative things that happen to our pets. It’s something we have to deal with but it certainly does not outweigh all the benefits having that pet as part of your life. Knowing how to care for them just strengthens the bond and makes you an even bigger hero in their eyes.