[Updated December 20, 2018]
Kennel cough, or tracheobronchitis, is comparable to the common cold in humans. Nevertheless, it is frightening to many new dog guardians to discover that their puppy or newly rescued dog has contracted the disease. An unrelenting goose-like cough is the hallmark of kennel cough in dogs, but fortunately, most cases are treated successfully at home. To ensure your puppy recovers from kennel cough in a minimal amount of time and without complication, Whole Dog Journal has outlined the necessary steps you, the concerned guardian, need to take.
For an in-depth report on kennel cough, read “Kennel Cough Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention,” by CJ Puotinen.
1. Keep your pup in a warm, dry, low-stress environment.
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2. Encourage your dog or puppy to drink. If the weather is cold, offer lukewarm water, or “spike” the water with a tiny bit of chicken broth – not enough to make him drink the whole bowl in one sitting; just enough to get him interested in drinking if he hadn’t been previously.
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3. Most dogs recover without treatment; puppies (especially those who have come from a crowded, stressful shelter environment) may benefit from antibiotics, as they are more likely to develop a secondary bacterial infection and pneumonia.
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4. Keep infected and exposed pets at home (other dogs in home have usually already been exposed by the time symptoms appear, so isolating infected dog from your others provides no benefit).
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5. Keep coughing dog or puppy away from smoke (cigarettes, vape, fireplace, campfires, etc.).
6. Use a harness (rather than a collar) for a few weeks, to reduce coughing brought on by pressure on the irritated trachea.
7. We get that this is difficult with puppies, but try to minimize excitement; activity can irritate the airways.
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8. Ask your vet for a recommendation of an over-the-counter or prescription cough suppressant for your dog if the coughing interferes with either your sleep or his.
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