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Kennel Cough: Signs & symptoms of Kennel Cough and what you can do

Kennel Cough: Signs & symptoms of Kennel Cough and what you can do

Kennel cough and how to treat it


Pet owners are often not too concerned when their dog coughs because they think that something is probably just irritating their throat. However, coughing in dogs should not be taken lightly as it can be an indication of various health conditions, including kennel cough.

1. What is kennel cough? 

Kennel cough is an infectious condition, also known as tracheobronchitis or Bordetellosis Bordetella, a type of bronchitis. It causes inflammation in a dog’s windpipe and voice box.

The reason why it’s commonly called kennel cough is because boarding kennels, grooming parlours, the vet’s waiting room, animal shelters or other meeting places for dogs are notorious for spreading bacteria and viruses that cause this condition.

While it is one of the most highly contagious diseases in dogs, it usually runs its course and clears up in a few days.
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2. What signs of kennel cough should I look out for?

The main symptom of kennel cough is a dry, hacking, harsh, persistent cough. The cough is often described as though something is stuck in your dog’s throat accompanied by gagging or wheezing. Prepare yourself for non-stop coughing and throat clearing!

The coughing may worsen after exercise or if your pooch becomes over excited. In mild cases, dogs with kennel cough are still active and maintain a good appetite.

However, in more severe cases symptoms of a fever, nasal discharge, lethargy and loss of appetite may appear. 

3. How do dogs develop kennel cough?

Just like humans catch a cold or the flu when exposed to one another, so dogs contract kennel cough. Kennel cough is spread in crowded or enclosed areas that have poor ventilation such as boarding kennels or animal shelters. Direct contact with other dogs is another common way for your dog to catch kennel cough.

Taking your precious pooch for a check up at the vet where there are other dogs in the waiting room, dog training classes or her monthly grooming session at the parlour is a breeding ground for kennel cough infection.

Your dog simply needs to be exposed to another that has kennel cough and she will be at risk. Puppies tend to be affected more by this infection because their immune systems are not fully developed as well as  older dogs with weak immune systems.

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4.  How to prevent and treat kennel cough?

From an holistic health point of view, the key to preventing kennel cough (or any other illness) is a healthy animal with a strong immune system.  This means a healthy diet and regular exercise!

In order to prevent kennel cough, you also have to try and prevent your dog from being exposed to the infection. Make sure that your dog is vaccinated for the Bordetella, Parainfluenza or Adenovirus, especially if they are visiting a boarding kennel. Most boarding kennels will require proof of vaccinations if your dog will be staying for a while.

In most cases of kennel cough, the infection will run its course. Keep your dog isolated from other dogs to prevent exposure and infection. Using a humidifier can help to soothe your dog’s throat and make breathing easier. Make sure that your dog is eating and drinking. Keep her environment calm, relaxed and stress-free. Be careful not to expose your dog to harsh irritants such as smoke, aerosol or chemical fumes and odours.

Kennel cough usually disappears after three weeks but may take a while longer for puppies and elderly dogs with compromised immune systems.

5. Can natural remedies help to treat kennel cough?

In the Feelgood Pets Pets range, there are a number of natural remedies that can help to prevent and treat kennel cough.

Use Feelgood Pets Immunity & Liver Support to boost and strengthen your dog’s immune system. This remedy acts as a general tonic, keeps the immune system healthy and strong and speeds up recovery after illness. Immunity & Liver Support can therefore help to protect your dog from kennel cough and other illnesses  – and also speed recovery if there is active infection.  If your dog will be spending some time in kennels over the holidays, a course of Immunity & Liver Support is a must!

For active kennel cough infection, Feelgood Pets KC Defense treats dry, hacking coughs as well as respiratory infections and strengthens immune functioning, while calming your dog and aiding the recovery process. KC Defense is a 100% homeopathic remedy which is very effective in the treatment of kennel cough and is usually recommended together with Immunity & Liver Support for a speedy recovery.

If your dog has also developed a cold or an upper respiratory infection, you can also add Feelgood Pets Respo-K to treat symptoms such as coughing, runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing. Respo-K will  also strengthen your pet’s immune system and prevent recurrence of infection.
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Remember, to prevent kennel cough you have to control your dog’s exposure to other dogs with this infection. A strong and healthy immune system is your dog’s best defence from infectious diseases such as kennel cough. Keep your dog pal healthy by feeding good quality food, regular exercise and natural supplements.

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