Preventing Kennel Cough in Dogs

When large groups of dogs get together such as in dog parks, dog shows or dog day care centers, they are prone to catching kennel cough. Also known as Bordetella or infectious tracheobronchitis, it is a nasty upper respiratory infection no matter what it’s called. Fortunately, there are many steps caring dog parents can take to protect their dogs from kennel cough.

Keep Very Young Puppies At Home

Although kennel cough is rarely fatal, when it is the victims are usually puppies under six months old that have not had a chance to develop their bodies’ natural immune systems. Even getting the Bordetella vaccine is not a guaranteed protection against kennel cough, since a puppy might pick up another illness and in that time of physical stress contract kennel cough. Ask a veterinarian if a particular puppy is well enough for socializing with other dogs in parks or dog boarding kennels before taking a pup to such a place.

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Get All Dogs Vaccinated

The simplest thing a dog owner can do to prevent kennel cough is make sure the dog gets the Bordetella vaccine. Since the Bordetella bacterium is the most common cause of kennel cough, the dog is vaccinated against Bordetella but not all other types of instances when a dog might get kennel cough. Still, this is a powerful weapon against kennel cough. The American Kennel Club (AKC) requires all dogs participating in AKC events to have this vaccine.

Keep Up With All Recommended Booster Shots

Since kennel cough can set in when a dog is sick and natural immunity is low, it is recommended that all dogs stick with the booster vaccination schedule set up by a veterinarian. Since all dog have different health needs, only a vet can determine what boosters are to be given and how often. Getting an annual check-up also helps detect any illnesses before they set in to weaken a dog’s immune system. Many owners like to schedule booster shots during their dogs’ annual check-up.

Check Requirements for Dog Events or Kennels

Before taking a dog or older puppy to a show, kennel or anyplace where lots of dogs get together, contact the organizers to see what medical qualifications participating dogs need. If there are no requirements, keep the dog away from these events because the dog will pick up illnesses from other dogs such as kennel cough.

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