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Protecting Your Dog From Respiratory Illness

Published on: November 29, 2023  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

Two dachshunds kissing

Protecting your furry friend from the latest canine respiratory illness is of utmost importance for every dog owner. As a responsible pet parent, it is crucial to stay informed about the most recent case of dog respiratory disease (kennel cough) and take preventive measures to ensure the well-being of your beloved companion.

What is Kennel Cough?

Dogs can become ill with canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC) - commonly called kennel cough. It can be caused by viruses [such as canine parainfluenza, adenovirus type 2, influenza, respiratory coronavirus, herpesvirus-1, or distemper] and/or bacteria [such as Bordetella bronchiseptica, Mycoplasma, or Streptococcus]. Recent cases in the news have been causing concern among dog owners due to its contagious nature. It is a respiratory disease that can affect dogs of all ages and breeds and is spread through the air and contact with infected dogs. It is commonly spread in settings where there are several dogs such as kennels, shelters or rescues, and dog daycare facilities.


Preventive measures play a crucial role in keeping your dog healthy. Vaccinations are key to preventing kennel cough. Consult your veterinarian to ensure your dog is up to date on all vaccinations, including DHPP, Bordetella, and CIV. Vaccination helps build immunity and significantly reduces the risk of your dog becoming ill.

Maintaining proper hygiene practices is another effective way to minimize the risk of infection. Regularly clean your dog's living environment, including their bedding, toys, and food bowls. Use pet-friendly cleaning products and follow recommended cleaning routines to create a clean and safe environment for your furry friend. You should also ensure their living space is well ventilated with clean air.

Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing early signs of respiratory illness or kennel cough is crucial for prompt treatment. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the common symptoms, including persistent coughing, sneezing, nasal and/or eye discharge, as well as lethargy. If you observe any of these indications, it is imperative to seek immediate veterinary care. Keep in mind that not all infected dogs display symptoms, but they can still transmit the illness. We strongly advise pet parents to have their dogs examined if they begin coughing. A thorough physical examination by your veterinarian will help determine whether your dog's respiratory symptoms are due to kennel cough or another respiratory issue.


Managing kennel cough at home requires providing comfort and care to your sick pup. While there are no specific medications to cure the illness, there are various home remedies that can alleviate symptoms and support your dog's recovery. Natural remedies, such as honey and steam therapy, can help soothe your dog's throat and alleviate coughing. Additionally, creating a calm and stress-free environment will aid in your dog's healing process. Depending on how ill your dog is, a veterinarian may recommend a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) if they have a fever and/or fluids if they are dehydrated.

If your dog is coughing they should be kept away from other dogs both while showing symptoms and for at least two weeks after the cough goes away. Similarly, if your dog is near other dogs who are coughing, it's best to stay away.

Stay Informed and Connected

Staying informed and connected is essential for dog owners dealing with canine respiratory illness. Stay updated with the latest research and developments in combating kennel cough. You can monitor local dog flu outbreaks in the United States using this Merck resource.

By taking proactive measures, staying informed, and providing the necessary care, you can protect your furry friend from kennel cough or other respiratory diseases. Remember, your dog's health and well-being are in your hands, and with your love and dedication, they can overcome any challenges that come their way.


*Photo by Kojirou Sasaki on Unsplash


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