Everything you need to know about canine cough

What is canine cough?

Canine cough is a highly contagious, upper-respiratory disease that is spread by an airborne virus. The primary symptom is a gagging cough that can produce phlegm, sometimes accompanied by sneezing or a runny nose. Typically symptoms last 3-7 days but can persist for weeks in some cases.

How is it cured?

Just in the case of the common cold, it is not "cured" but must run it's course. Many times, antibiotics will be prescribed to prevent secondary infection. Sometimes cough suppressants will be prescribed to reduce excessive coughing, but these medications do not attack the disease itself.

My dog is vaccinated, is this something that applies to my dog?

Unfortunately, yes. The canine cough vaccine that's given only protects against 2 strains (Parainfluenza virus and Bordetella bacteria). These are the most severe strains which is why we protect against them, despite there being hundreds of different strains. You can think of it like how humans will get the flu shot - yet can still get the flu.

Some key points you should know


Canine cough is often wrongly named "kennel cough" due the the fact it spreads more readily at a boarding facility because of the large concentration of other dogs. However canine cough can be picked up anywhere there are other dogs (parks, vets, walking trails, ect.).


It's airborne - Therefore no amount of cleaning we do can eradicate the virus. We can clean surfaces, circulate fresh air and isolate the dogs that show symptoms, but sadly this isn't always enough.


It's contagious - If your dog has picked up canine cough somewhere, it's important to avoid contact with other dogs to minimize spreading the virus as best you can.


It's seasonal - Vets and boarding facilities generally won't see any cases for most of the year. Typically we find winter to be the worst for it.


A clean living area makes for a faster recovery. We clean with a solution called Safe4 every day which kills any bacteria and virus on contact. The Royal Canin biscuits we feed also contain pre-biotics which boosts the dogs immune systems. Pro-biotic treats are also supplied by us.