My Dog Has Kennel Cough – Is This an Emergency?

When your dog starts coughing, it can be a worrisome experience. You might wonder if it’s just a small issue or something more serious. Learn what kennel cough is, how it affects your dog, and when you should seek emergency care. If you’re concerned about your dog with kennel cough, reaching out to one of our Emergency Veterinary Care Center’s locations can provide the guidance and care your pet needs. Let’s dive into what kennel cough is and help you decide the best course of action for your pet.

dog on couch

Understanding Kennel Cough

Kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs. It’s caused by a blend of viruses and bacteria, with the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria being a common culprit. Dogs with kennel cough will often have a loud, distinctive cough that sounds like they’re trying to clear something from their throat.

How Dogs Catch Kennel Cough

Dogs can catch kennel cough in several ways, including:

  • Close contact with infected dogs
  • Sharing bowls or toys with an infected dog
  • Being in crowded conditions like dog parks or kennels

This disease is so contagious that your dog can catch it just by sniffing or being near an infected dog. That’s why it’s often associated with places where dogs gather together.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

Identifying kennel cough early can help prevent its spread and ensure your dog gets the care it needs. Here are some signs to watch for:

  • Persistent, forceful coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

While kennel cough can sound scary, many dogs will recover on their own with proper care and rest. However, puppies, older dogs, or those with underlying health issues may have a harder time.

When to Contact Emergency Veterinary Care

Knowing when kennel cough is an emergency can be tricky. If your dog shows any of the following symptoms, it’s time to call one of our Emergency Veterinary Care Centers:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Seeming extremely tired or unwilling to move
  • Not eating for more than a day

These signs could indicate a more severe condition, such as pneumonia, and require immediate attention.

Prevention and Protection

Preventing kennel cough is all about minimizing your dog’s exposure to the disease and boosting their immune system. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Keep your dog up-to-date on vaccines. There’s a vaccine for the Bordetella bacterium, one of the primary causes of kennel cough.
  • Avoid places with known outbreaks or where dogs are closely packed together.
  • Maintain good hygiene, especially in communal dog areas.

The Role of Vaccination

Vaccinating your dog against kennel cough is a proactive step you can take. While the vaccine doesn’t guarantee your dog won’t catch kennel cough, it can significantly reduce the severity and duration of the disease.

Seeking Expert Care

At the first sign of kennel cough, or if you’re unsure about your dog’s symptoms, reaching out to veterinary professionals is a smart move. Emergency Veterinary Care Centers are equipped to assess your dog’s condition, offer advice, and provide treatment if necessary. Don’t wait if you’re concerned—early intervention can make a big difference in your dog’s health and comfort.

Making the Call

If you think your dog might have kennel cough, or if you’re seeing any worrying symptoms, calling your primary veterinarian for an appointment is the best first step.  If you believe your pet is having an emergency, contact the team at Emergency Veterinary Care Centers. We understand your concerns and are ready to support you and your pet through this time.

Emergency Veterinary Care Centers are Here to Help

Kennel cough can be a concerning condition, but understanding what to look out for and when to seek emergency care can help you navigate this challenge. By keeping an eye on your dog’s health, maintaining vaccinations, and avoiding high-risk areas, you can help protect your pet from kennel cough. And remember, Emergency Veterinary Care Centers are here to help your dog with kennel cough or if you are concerned you have an emergency. If in doubt, give one of our locations a call. We’re here to provide the care your dog needs, when they need it most.

Recent Posts


Lyme Disease in Dogs: A Complete Guide for Pet Owners

Lyme Disease in Dogs: A Complete Guide for Pet Owners Discovering that your dog may be at…

Read More

Parvo in Dogs: What it is, Symptoms and How to Protect Your Pet

Parvo in Dogs: What it is, Symptoms and How to Protect Your Pet Parvovirus in dogs, commonly…

Read More

6 Common Pet Emergencies in Westville, IN

6 Common Pet Emergencies in Westville, IN When your pet faces an emergency, knowing what to expect…

Read More

My Dog Ate a Corn Cob, What Should I Do?

My Dog Ate a Corn Cob, What Should I Do? Discovering your dog has eaten a corn…

Read More
cat with chocolate cake

What To Know about Chocolate Poisoning in Cats and How to Protect Them

What To Know about Chocolate Poisoning in Cats and How to Protect Them Chocolate is a treat…

Read More

About Emergency Veterinary Care Centers