Image Alt

Albuquerque VetCo

 / dogs  / Is it dry air or Kennel Cough?

Is it dry air or Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough can be a viral or bacterial infection. It is a form of bronchitis and is similar to a chest cold in people. It causes an inflammation in your dogs voice box and windpipe, causing a persistent cough. Kennel cough usually clears up on its own, but it is highly contagious.

How to you get Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough spreads through the air and through contact. It is called kennel cough because dogs often get it after being in an enclosed area with poor circulation. It is highly contagious. Your dog can even catch it by sharing a water bowl with an infected dog.

Because it is so contagious most kennels will not board your pet without proof of parainfluenza and bordetella vaccination. These are the 2 most common causes of Kennel Cough.

Dogs that are in frequent contact and young dogs are at the highest risk. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date to keep your dog safe from infection.


  • Dry cough
  • Honking sound to the cough
  • Appears healthy except for the cough
  • May gag during coughing and cough up white foamy phlegm – often worse after exercise
  • Possible fever
  • Possible nasal discharge

What to do?

If you think your dog may have kennel cough, make sure to isolate them from other dogs. It is highly contagious and you don’t want your whole crew to be coughing. You should also call your veterinarian to seek advice and treatment.


There isn’t too much that can be done. Most of the treatment is just making your pup more comfortable while they go through it.

  • Isolation from other dogs
  • Humidifier to provide some relief from coughing. – Bring your dog into the bathroom while you shower, the steam will help.
  • Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke or other noxious fumes
  • A cough suppressant can be prescribed by your vet
  • Supportive care – make sure your dog is eating or drinking

Kennel Cough usually lasts less than three weeks, though older dogs and puppies may take longer to recover.

If you notice an increase in symptoms, like rapid breathing, lethargy, loss of appetite, you should bring your dog into the vet right away. Kennel Cough can lead to pneumonia if left untreated.