Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough is a fairly common and typically benign disease that causes coughing, retching and gagging in dogs. The best way to thing go Kennel Cough is like the common cold or flu in humans.

Caused by

Kennel cough can be caused by a number of different factors, usually one of:

  • A virus know as Canine Parainfluenza Virus.
  • A bacteria know as Bordetella Bronchiseptica.

However many other factors can result in symptoms that will get lumped under the 'Kennel Cough' banner.


Kennel Cough results in irritation of the upper respiratory tract causing a dry cough often ending with a retching sound. One you have heard it for the first time, the cough is easily recognisable.


In health dogs the infection is self limiting and will resolve itself in a few weeks. Dogs should be kept in a warm dry environment and rested. I also recommend boiling watercress and offering your dog the cooled water, which will soothe their sore throat. In some situations a cough suppressant may be required. If you think your dogs has Kennel Cough, or are worried about them, please give me a call on 0429 443 314  immediately so we can talk through the issues and make sure they get help if they need it.

What else do I need to know

These pathogens are HIGHLY contagious, so if you hear your dog start to cough then play it safe and keep them at home. It is best to keep them away from other dogs for at least three weeks after they start coughing to avoid transferring the disease on to their furry friends.

It is possible for Kennel Cough to progress in young, old or immuno-compromised dogs to pneumonia which requires Veterinary attention and management. If your dog goes off its food, becomes lethargic, develops a fever, nasal discharge or is struggling to breath then take them straight to your veterinary clinic.


There are a few options available to try and prevent you dogs getting Kennel Cough:

  • Vaccination is available against these pathogens, however complete protection is not possible due to the complex nature of the disease.
  • Avoid sharing water when in large groups of dogs such as pet festivals and fun walks.

If you are worried that your dog has Kennel Cough, isn't recovering on their own, or have any other concerns, please give me a call on 0429 443 314 so we can talk through the situation and get you dog the help it needs. 

Dr Jaime Jackson