If you just brought home a puppy or adult dog that was purchased from the local pet store you may be concerned about dog illness. If the dog is coughing on a regular basis, then there is a distinct possibility that your new dog has brought home “kennel cough”.
An indication of kennel cough is when a dog has intense periods of nonstop coughing and may end the coughing sessions with vomiting. Eventhough this spasm of coughing looks like an awful experience to your dog, kennel cough typically does not affect the animal’s energy levels and the dog may still seem very alert and upbeat after having a full blown cough attack.
Caution: Kennel cough is a dog illness that is highly contagious
If your dog is experiencing the listed signs of coughing problems then you need to be alerted to the possibility that the dog has kennel cough. The technical term for this disease is called “infectious tracheobronchitis” and it is very contagious. This illness is a respiratory condition that is most common in dogs that have spent time in pet stores or an animal shelter where they are enclosed with other dogs and animals. Kennel cough is a combination of several bacteria, viruses, and mycoplasma that have invaded and irritate the lungs.
The most common symptom of kennel cough is a dry and rough sounding tracheal cough (a deep throaty sound). Your dog may gag and choke frequently in the attempt to clear his air passageway. Thus, the tendency to vomit after an episode of coughing.
In dogs, kennel cough is very similar to the common cold in humans, with the symptoms lasting anywhere from five to ten days. The cough may pass after that time but then return to afflict your dog, much like the common cold comes back to infect our bodies time after time.
Steps you need to take to provide relief for your dog
Like any serious health concern, the first thing you should do is take your dog to the veterinarian. A veterinarian will be able to properly examine your dog and find out exactly how bad the symptoms are, as well as advise you on a few possible remedies. Additionally, a dog that has been in a compromising environment (pet store, shelter) may have picked up a few other unwanted pests and your doctor will have the opportunity to check for worms, etc…
The doctor may prescribe cough suppressants and possibly antibiotics depending on how severe the cough. A number of dogs have a more serious health issue due to kennel cough, which can be the formation of pneumonia. Pneumonia is caused from bacteria infiltrating the dog’s air sacs of the lungs.
Your veterinarian will likely offer a preventative measure such as intranasal vaccines. This is a great way to help prepare your dog to avoid infection of kennel cough if he ever has to be placed in a kennel at any point in his lifetime. These types of vaccines have been shown to offer stronger immunity than injectable types because they help stimulate both the upper and lower airways with strong immunity. Most kennels that board animals will require these vaccines to prevent outbreaks of contagious infections at their facility.
If you will not need to board your dog at a kennel, but want to build some immunity I suggest holistic dog care. Homeopathic remedies build the immune system through natural means and help prevent future respiratory problems. These remedies support the functioning of the respiratory system and help the lungs fight off invading microbes themselves reducing the chance of future dog illness.