How Do I Protect Against Kennel Cough?

by Shellie Alyssa
Dogs contract kennel cough as airborne bacterial agents enter the respiratory tract.

Dogs contract kennel cough as airborne bacterial agents enter the respiratory tract.

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Kennel cough, also known as bordetella, is a highly contagious canine upper-respiratory infection. Frequent dry cough and spitting up white, foamy phlegm are common symptoms. At times, nasal discharge and fever may develop. Kennel cough spreads through the air from coughs and sneezes of infected dogs located within close proximity in shelters, grooming shops and boarding kennels. Maintaining a healthy, strong immune system in your dog is a good defense against kennel cough.

Help Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Provide your dog with a healthy lifestyle and his immune system will follow. A balanced healthy diet filled with a variety of nutrients is recommended. Speak to the veterinarian about your dog's specific nutritional needs. Allow your dog to get plenty of exercise -- whether running around alone in the yard or participating in family activities, exercise will keep his body healthy. Offer a safe, clean and comfortable environment; constant emotional stress affects the immune system. A low immune system will struggle to fight off illness and bacteria, making your dog more susceptible to contracting kennel cough.

Prevent Exposure

While occasional exposure to other dogs is unavoidable, limiting the time spent in kennels, shelters and other areas that kennel cough may exist cuts down the possibility of your dog contracting the ailment. Boarding kennels are convenient and a welcomed relief for pet owners that travel frequently. Try to break up the routine by hiring a pet-sitter or have a family member care for your dog.

Provide Vaccinations

Vaccinations against kennel cough are mandatory in most boarding kennels. Usually the vaccination has to be performed three weeks before your dog is scheduled to stay at the kennel. There are two ways a veterinarian will administer the vaccination. The first and most common way is to inject the vaccination using a syringe. Intranasal is the second option, in which the vaccination is inhaled through the nose and enters the blood stream more quickly. Bordetella vaccines are the most commonly recommended at kennel boarding facilities. However, it's best to consult a veterinarian and enquire about alternative vaccinations that help fight a combination of bacteria illness, while at the same time helping fight against kennel cough.

Fight Free Radicals

Free radicals cause damage to healthy cells. Environmental conditions and exposure to bacteria can cause free radicals to arise. Antioxidants protect healthy cells against being attacked or damaged by free radicals. Speaking to a veterinarian about adding vitamin C and E to your dog's diet is recommended. Vitamin C and E inhibit cellular damage caused by free radicals. Protecting your dog's cells and keeping his body healthy will help him fight against contracting kennel cough.

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