Kennel cough in older dogs

Kennel cough in older dogs

Key Takeaway:

  • Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria which affect the respiratory system of the dogs.
  • Older dogs are more susceptible to kennel cough due to a weakened immune system and underlying health issues. Therefore, prompt diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent any complications caused by this disease in older dogs.
  • Prevention is the best approach for kennel cough, and vaccinating your dog against the disease, ensuring a clean and healthy environment, and avoiding contact with sick dogs should be a top priority for pet owners.


Kennel cough, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, is an illness common among aged dogs with a weakened immune system. Symptoms include a dry, hacking cough or gagging, fatigue, loss of appetite, and fever. This sickness can be cured easily, but if left untreated it can lead to pneumonia. Early treatment is vital for avoiding serious issues. Vaccines can reduce the risk of getting kennel cough, but will not eradicate it altogether.

Dog owners must be aware of the potential dangers of kennel cough in their older pets. Pre-existing health issues can augment the hazard, making regular vet visits and vaccinations essential for their health. Kennel cough is highly contagious and can be transmitted through the air, making prevention a must. Vaccines and keeping aged dogs away from possibly contaminated animals can help diminish the spread and stop fatal health issues.

A significant event happened at an animal shelter. Several older dogs died due to a kennel cough outbreak. This accident shows the importance of quick intervention and proper hygiene to stop the transmission of infectious illnesses. Additionally, it accentuates the significance of preventive measures to secure the health of senior dogs.

Understanding Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory illness that affects dogs, especially older ones. To better understand this illness and how it affects our furry friends, we will be exploring the two sub-sections of causes and risk factors and symptoms. By understanding the causes and risk factors, we can take steps to prevent our dogs from contracting the disease, while recognizing the symptoms is crucial for early detection and prompt treatment.

Causes and Risk Factors

Kennel cough is a respiratory illness caused by multiple agents, like Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine parainfluenza virus, adenovirus type 2, and mycoplasma. These microorganisms can spread through the air or nasal secretions of a sick dog. Dogs in overcrowded, poorly ventilated areas are more likely to contract it.

Risk factors include:

Poor ventilation
Unclean living conditions
Close contact with affected dogs
Puppies and older dogs (weaker immune system)
Dogs with pre-existing respiratory issues
Viral mutations
Geographical location

The consequences of kennel cough can be devastating. A Swedish family lost their 10-year-old miniature pinscher to pneumonia, due to kennel cough. The pup had been adopted from a rescue center, where it may have been exposed to various diseases.

Therefore, it’s important to understand the causes and risk factors of kennel cough. Taking preventive measures, such as proper ventilation and sanitation, is the best way to protect our beloved pets.


If a pup has Kennel Cough, they may have a range of signs. These include a harsh, dry cough, retching, and gagging. Additionally, eye or nose discharge is common. While usually not fatal, it can be quite uncomfortable.

It’s essential to note that some dogs may show more serious symptoms. These may lead to issues like pneumonia, which can be dangerous. Pet owners should pay close attention to their pup’s symptoms and get medical help if needed.

The severity and length of coughing may be different for each dog. Some may have mild symptoms that can be treated easily, while others may need more care.

If you’re a pet owner, keep an eye out for any unusual behaviour in your dog. Lethargy or lack of energy might be an early sign of kennel cough or related conditions.

In conclusion, if your pup is exhibiting Kennel Cough signs, seek veterinary help. Diagnosing and treating Kennel Cough can be tricky, so don’t hesitate to ask for expert assistance.

Diagnosis and Treatment

As our senior dogs get older, they often develop health issues like Kennel cough that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. In this section of the article, we’ll discuss the various treatment options for Kennel cough, including severity-based treatment, nebulizers and vaporizers, and using a harness instead of a collar. Stay tuned to learn more about how you can keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

Severity-Based Treatment

Veterinarians often use a severity-based approach to address kennel cough in dogs. Mild cases may just need rest and cough suppressants, but more severe cases might require antibiotics. Severe cases may require hospitalization for oxygen therapy or fluids.

Antibiotics are not always necessary and can cause antibiotic resistance. Cough suppressants can worsen the condition. Vaccination and avoiding sick animals is also recommended.

One senior dog had a particularly bad case of kennel cough. Despite medical attention, it worsened and needed monitoring and intensive care. This shows how dangerous kennel cough can be if left untreated.

The best approach for kennel cough is one tailored to each dog’s condition and symptoms.

Nebulizers and Vaporizers

Treating kennel cough in dogs? Nebulizers and vaporizers are here to help. These devices turn liquid medicine into a mist, so it can reach the respiratory tract. They can be used instead of oral medications, and alongside other treatments.

But, proper dosage and use guidance from a vet is essential. Don’t struggle to give medicine orally, get these helpful devices instead. And show your furry friend your love with a stylish harness!

Use of Harness Instead of Collar

Harnesses can help manage kennel cough in dogs. A collar can worsen symptoms, but harnesses spread pressure evenly and reduce the tension on the neck. Here’s a guide to using harnesses for puppies with kennel cough:

Step Action
1 Choose a fitted harness which doesn’t hinder breathing.
2 Make sure it’s made from soft fabrics like cotton or nylon.
3 Consider a no-pull harness for activity-related dry coughs.
4 Positive reinforcement training can help them adjust.

Harnesses can help, but cannot cure underlying issues. Visit a vet if your pup has respiratory issues. Don’t delay or their health is at risk! Vaccinating your pet is a “superhero cape” against kennel cough.


As our dogs grow older, their susceptibility to kennel cough increases. That’s why it’s essential to take preventative measures against this highly contagious respiratory illness. In this section, we’ll discuss some simple yet effective strategies for preventing kennel cough in older dogs. We’ll cover topics such as vaccination and preventative measures for dogs who are boarded frequently, so you can protect your furry friends from this uncomfortable and potentially dangerous condition.


Canine infectious tracheobronchitis, otherwise known as kennel cough, is a highly contagious respiratory illness in dogs. Vaccination is the key to stopping the spread of kennel cough amongst pups.

Providing a vaccine for kennel cough is essential for your dog’s immune system to build resistance to the bacteria and viruses that cause kennel cough. It’s recommended that all dogs and puppies at risk of exposure, such as those visiting groomers or dog parks, get immunized.

No vaccine is a surefire way of preventing kennel cough, but it is important to take preventive measures alongside vaccination. Vaccines are different in the method of administration, length of immunity, power, and even strain type. So it’s vital to follow the vaccination protocol prescribed by your vet, tailored to your pet’s age and overall health.

To sum up, getting your pup vaccinated against kennel cough is critical for keeping them healthy. By following the recommended protocol and avoiding contact with other infected dogs, you can lower the chances of your pup contracting kennel cough.

Preventative Measures for Boarding Dogs

Boarding dogs are more prone to Kennel Cough than other dogs. To avoid the spread, it is important to take preventive steps. Especially since so many dogs come in contact with each other.

Here are some ways to prevent Kennel Cough for boarding dogs:

  • Ventilation – Good air flow is essential to stop airborne diseases like Kennel Cough.
  • Hygiene – Cleanliness and hygiene must be kept up in the facility.
  • Management – Overcrowding increases the risk of infection transmission, so manage your dogs wisely.
  • Veterinary Advice – Before boarding, involve a vet for early detection and prevention.

Stick to these steps and keep an eye on their effectiveness. If you notice your dog coughing or wheezing when they leave a boarding facility, contact your vet right away. This way you can make sure they get treatment and rehabilitation to beat Kennel Cough.

Other Conditions Causing Coughing in Dogs

Coughing in dogs can be caused by a variety of conditions beyond kennel cough, many of which are serious and potentially life-threatening. In this section, we will explore several common conditions that may trigger coughing in dogs, including:

  • the canine distemper virus
  • the canine influenza virus
  • collapsing trachea
  • bronchitis
  • asthma
  • and heart disease.

Canine Distemper Virus

The Canine Distemper Virus is serious and very contagious. It affects dogs of all ages and breeds. Symptoms can include fever, coughing, sneezing, eye/nose discharge, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, and seizures.

Prevention is best! Vaccines are key in avoiding the virus. But, if a dog is already infected, sadly, no cure exists. Treatment consists of supportive care to manage symptoms and avoid other sicknesses.

Keep in mind that other sicknesses, such as Canine Influenza Virus, Collapsing Trachea, Bronchitis, Asthma, and Heart Disease can have similar symptoms. It’s important to get a proper diagnosis before treatment.

Overall, with vaccination and care, Canine Distemper Virus can be managed.

Canine Influenza Virus

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) is a serious illness that only affects dogs. It can spread easily between dogs in close contact, like at boarding facilities or dog shows. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever, nasal discharge, and lack of appetite – just like kennel cough.

To diagnose CIV, blood tests or nose/throat swabs are taken from an infected dog. Treatment includes supportive care – fluids and rest – plus antibiotics to stop other infections. Vaccination is the best prevention, as well as avoiding contact with sick dogs.

Although CIV is not believed to spread to humans, humans can still transfer it from one dog to another via contaminated clothing or materials.

Collapsing Trachea

The trachea, known as the windpipe, is a tube that transports air to and from the lungs of canines. Collapsing trachea is a respiratory condition which affects the tracheal rings. This causes narrowing of the windpipe. Smaller breeds are more vulnerable due to their tiny airways. Humidity, physical activity, allergies, and obesity may worsen the deformity.

Symptoms of collapsing trachea include a honking cough. This may occur after drinking or eating. It can get worse with excitement or exercise. Difficulty breathing may also occur.

A friend’s dog was misdiagnosed with pneumonia, when it was collapsing trachea. Vet visits are important for accurate diagnosis.

It’s important to be aware of the causes of coughs and breathing difficulties in dogs. Seeking expert help is the best way to address these issues. Getting the correct treatment is essential, rather than guessing or self-diagnosing. Bronchitis can be a combo platter with other respiratory conditions.


Bronchitis can be caused by numerous irritants like cigarette smoke, air pollution, or allergens. Not only humans, but dogs can also suffer from bronchitis as a result of another respiratory problem. Symptoms in dogs such as coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing are similar to humans’ symptoms.

Once identified, treating bronchitis in dogs involves managing symptoms with medication. In serious cases, oxygen therapy may be needed. Always consult a vet for guidance in managing and treating bronchitis in dogs.

Coughing in dogs can also be caused by canine distemper virus, canine influenza virus, collapsing trachea, asthma, and heart disease. All these conditions need special diagnosis and treatment. Finding the source of the coughing can be vital for your dog’s well-being.


Asthma in dogs can cause coughing, wheezing, breathlessness, tiredness and loss of appetite. Allergies, stress, exercise and environmental irritants can all trigger it. Fortunately, treatments like limiting triggers and medications such as bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory drugs can help improve a pooch’s life. So, it is essential to get veterinary care for an early diagnosis and proper management.

Heart Disease

Heart disease affects the heart’s function. It can cause abnormalities in blood vessels and valves. This leads to coughing for dogs due to blood pooling in the lungs or valves leaking. Respiratory distress, difficulty breathing, and chronic coughing can happen. Some breeds are more prone to heart diseases than others. Cocker Spaniels, Boxers, and Doberman Pinschers are examples.

Proper diagnosis is very important as there are different types of heart disorders in dogs. A case study involved a six-year-old male Boston Terrier with cough and fatigue. The vet diagnosed mitral regurgitation and chronic bronchitis leading to canine cardiomyopathy. The treatment was administered as needed.


To sum up, when it comes to elderly dogs with kennel cough, it’s vital to act quickly. This is especially true for dogs with weak immune systems — a delay could lead to worse problems. Luckily, kennel cough is usually not serious and can be treated with antibiotics and medication for the cough.

But, for senior dogs with underlying health issues, the infection can be more severe and might need extra medical help. Pet owners should carefully watch their older dog for signs of kennel cough, like a lasting cough, fever, and decreased appetite. Early discovery and treatment will avoid the infection from getting worse and causing permanent harm.

Plus, if a senior dog has had kennel cough before, they’re more likely to get it again. So, pet owners must take extra steps to reduce their dog’s risk — like limiting contact with other dogs and making sure their shots are up to date.

By being proactive, pet owners can make sure their elderly dog has a good quality of life.

Five Facts About Kennel Cough in Older Dogs:

  • ✅ Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory illness that can affect older dogs with immature or decreased immune systems. (Source: HelpEmUp)
  • ✅ Symptoms of kennel cough in older dogs include persistent cough, vomiting, and runny nose, which can progress to more severe conditions such as pneumonia, lethargy, and fever. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Kennel cough can be spread through direct contact with infected dogs or contaminated surfaces such as toys, food bowls, or water bowls. (Source: AKC)
  • ✅ Prevention of kennel cough in older dogs includes vaccination and avoiding crowded areas with poor airflow and warm, moist air. (Source: PetMD)
  • ✅ Treatment options for kennel cough in older dogs include rest, antibiotics, cough medication, and hospitalization, and owners should use a harness rather than a collar to avoid aggravating the cough. (Source: WebMD)

FAQs about Kennel Cough In Older Dogs

What is kennel cough in older dogs?

Kennel cough is a respiratory illness that dogs often catch when they are around other infected dogs. It is highly contagious and can be spread through direct contact or contaminated surfaces. Older dogs are particularly susceptible due to their decreased immune systems.

What are the symptoms of kennel cough in older dogs?

Symptoms of kennel cough infection include persistent dry, hacking cough, coughing during the night, retching with the production of white foam, and tracheal sensitivity. It can progress to pneumonia, fever, lethargy, and even death in serious ongoing cases.

How is kennel cough in older dogs treated?

Treatment for kennel cough in older dogs depends on severity and may include rest, antibiotics, cough medication, or hospitalization. Nebulizers and vaporizers utilizing inhaled antibiotics or bronchodilators may be beneficial but are usually not prescribed. Mild cases of kennel cough are treated with rest, antibiotics, and cough medication.

Can kennel cough in older dogs be prevented?

Kennel cough in older dogs can be prevented by vaccination. A vaccine is available but does not cover all types of bacteria causing kennel cough. Pet owners should consider vaccination and preventative measures, especially as holidays approach and many people board their dogs in boarding daycare facilities.

What are other conditions that can cause coughing in older dogs?

Other conditions that can cause coughing include canine distemper virus, canine influenza virus, collapsing trachea, bronchitis, asthma, and heart disease. It’s important to speak to a veterinarian if your dog may have any of these conditions.

How should owners walk their dogs with kennel cough?

Owners should use a harness rather than a collar to walk a dog with kennel cough because irritation of the tracheal can aggravate the cough and possibly even cause damage.

Joe Inglis
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