Kennel cough is infectious tracheobronchitis and presents itself as a very distinct “goose honk” cough. This cough is caused by bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica and is extremely contagious. Kennel cough is usually contracted in boarding kennels, shelters, dog parks, and grooming facilities.
The best way to keep your dog from contracting kennel cough is to make sure your dog is current on the vaccine for Bordetella. Also, whenever you are selecting a boarding facility, make sure they require every dog to be vaccinated. A facility with lax vaccination requirements is more likely to pass along kennel cough and other diseases to the dogs who board there. Whenever you select a groomer, make sure they also have vaccination requirements and do not let the dogs mingle communally. When dogs contract kennel cough, they usually will not show signs until three to four days after exposure. However, they can transmit the disease up to 14 weeks post-exposure. The good news is kennel cough is very easy to treat and responds well to antibiotics. If you have acquired a dog that is diagnosed with kennel cough be sure to notify your veterinarian if you have other dogs at home. This way all dogs can be treated at the same time so they do not pass it back and forth.