Caused by bacterial bordetella bronchia and accompanied by a virus, kennel cough is an airborne respiratory infection that is highly contagious for dogs. Transmission can occur repeatedly with exposure to an infected dog, even if your dog just got over a case. Kennel cough for dogs is much like the common cold in humans, and it can be passed back and forth.
Keeping Your Dog Healthy
First exhibited with a deep and continuous cough, a dog with kennel cough may display additional symptoms such as sneezing, eye discharge, loss of appetite or decreased energy. Typically entering through the respiratory tract, the germs can lay dormant on surfaces such as toys, water bowls and floors, passing back and forth between your dogs. Wash all surfaces your dog has access to with a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water if your dog has been exposed to kennel cough. Ask your vet to administer the annual bordetella vaccine to help prevent the infection, and reduce your dog's chances for exposure. Infected dogs can spread the agents for weeks after symptoms have disappeared, and only your veterinarian can ensure the risk for the contagion is gone. Simple exposure is the common cause, and situations linked to kennel cough include housing in crowded and poorly ventilated areas, such as shelters and kennels, unnaturally cold temperatures, breathing second-hand cigarette smoke or dust, and stressful situations, such as travel.