Ugh. I haven’t been feeling myself. I think it’s all the weather changes. First it’s spring, then it’s winter, then it’s spring again! I don’t want anyone to worry, but I think have a little bit of a cold and want to make sure I let you guys know so no one else catches it! Love always, your dog :)
Okay, let's back up. A few days ago a Puppy Pal was very excited to come to Daycare and may have pulled a little too hard on their leash. After hearing a dry hack we hung out in our front reception area to see if the coughing subsided. We gave the Puppy Pal a bit of water and then decided to err on the side of caution and skip Daycare for the day. Unlike humans, dogs do not know not to lick each other in the face when they aren’t feeling well. As I was explaining this to the Fur Mom, she thanked me for taking extra caution and explained even though they had dogs their entire life "IT" had never been explained this way. So I thought I would share my understanding of… hang on tight... Kennel Cough.
Here we go! Just like a human cold or flu, Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis also known as Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease or Kennel Cough has many causes and strains. It can be found in areas where dogs are in close proximity to one another like outdoor dog parks, indoor play areas, groomers, dog daycares, kennels and training centers. It can also be found in areas with poor ventilation, cold temperatures and dust.
What does it sound like?
If a dog has Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, the cough tends to be a dry, persistent cough. It can sometimes be followed by a gag, a swallowing motion or production of foamy mucus. If you are unsure if a persistent cough is a Kennel Cough cough, the best thing to do is to avoid any common areas for dogs and check in with your Veterinarian. It may be nothing but it may be something very contagious.
(Click here for video of a dog named "Dixon" coughing that I found on Youtube.)
Isn’t there a vaccination to prevent it?
Yes! Just like there is a flu shot for humans there is an optional kennel cough vaccination for dogs This vaccination helps protect against the most common bacteria that causes the cough called Bordetella bronchiseptica. Even though this is an optional annual vaccination, it is required for all of our Puppy Pals before coming to play at Daycare. (see the point above about dogs not knowing not to lick each other in the face when they aren’t feeling well!.)
Just like with us humans, immunity will also play a part in defending against Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis. For example, if a co-worker of yours accidentally sneezed into your face, having a strong immunity will play a role in helping your body’s defense to keep you healthy. (Ray for example, never gets sick. He’s an alien. It’s annoying…😉)
What happens if my dog gets sick?
With humans, when we are not feeling well we get lots of rest, drink plenty of liquids and make an appointment with our Doctor. The same goes with dogs (Except instead of going to your Doctor, we suggest your Veterinarian.😉) Dogs with Kennel Cough can be contagious for 2 to 14 days before they start to cough and then for quite a few weeks after they stop coughing. Keeping a dog away from other dogs and common areas while they are recovering is an important part of preventing the spread to others.
Is there any way to prevent it completely?
I haven’t seen it myself, but there is a movie with Danny Trejo and Jake Gyllenhaal called “Bubble Boy”…
For us as a Dog Care company, we have nothing fibrous in our Daycares. This means no communal dog bed and no fibrous rope toys. All shared Daycare toys are made of rubber making them easier to clean and keep clean daily. For our training classes, all of our training toys are washed and disinfected after every class. We also always err on the side of caution. If a dog is coughing, even if we think it’s from pulling on a leash, we skip the day of Daycare or class and even to be more cautious, we’ll disinfect the area thoroughly.
As a team, we have very thorough cleaning practices because our own personal Puppy Pals (Rosa, Ryder, Tilly, Dexter, Bruiser, Daisy, KC, Willow, Taz, Lilo, Joey Luna, Dakota… ) come and play at Daycare too!
Unfortunately, just like a human cold, there is no way to completely prevent someone from getting sick. By understanding the potential risks and working together not only as a Puppy Pal family but as a community we can keep all the dogs in Airdrie healthy and happy.
So there you have it. My two cents as a Dog Trainer, Fur Mom and Daycare Owner. Even though I know A LOT about Kennel Cough (it’s my mission to keep the dogs in our care healthy, happy, clean and safe) I asked a local Veterinarian to proofread this for accuracy (Thanks to Dr. Erin).
If you have any questions about Kennel Cough, please give your Veterinarian a call.
Wishing you all, humans and dogs alike, health and happiness. :)
xo Nikki & The APP team