What can you do to reduce the risk of your dog getting kennel cough?
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What can you do to reduce the risk of your dog getting kennel cough?

Dogs
Health & Safety

Kennel cough is a type of highly infectious respiratory infection that dogs can catch and pass on to others, and one that used to be very widely spread and a familiar sound to most dog owners.

However, kennel cough is far less common today than it used to be historically, largely because a vaccine is available for the most common cause of kennel cough, infection with the Bordetella bacteria.

Even so, dogs that have been vaccinated can and sometimes do get kennel cough, either because they’re infected with a different type (caused by a different bacteria, or a virus, as not all kennel cough causes can be protected against) or because their bodies don’t generate the appropriate vaccination response to fight off the infection.

Kennel cough is also one of the most contagious canine health conditions and one of the easiest for a dog to catch, because it is airborne, and spread in saliva particles and nasal secretions, such as when an infected dog coughs, sneezes, slobbers, or licks another dog.

This means that dogs don’t have to come into direct physical contact with each other to pass kennel cough on, and there is no sure-fire way of ensuring that your dog never catches kennel cough; that said, there are a few steps that you can take to greatly reduce the chances.

With this in mind, this article will tell you what you can do to reduce the risk of your dog catching kennel cough. Read on to learn more.

Make sure they’re vaccinated – check specifically for the kennel cough add-on vaccine

The kennel cough vaccine helps to prevent dogs catching the most common form of kennel cough; the one caused by Bordetella. However, even if your dog has had vaccinations, it is important to check specifically that kennel cough was included within this.

This is because the kennel cough vaccine is not included within the single syringe combined vaccine you’re probably thinking of when you recall your dog getting their shots, but is instead administered separately (usually as a nasal spray) as an add-on, at an additional charge.

Check that your dog is up to date with their boosters

You might have vivid memories of the vet struggling to administer the kennel cough vaccine nasal spray to your dog and feel as if it happened just yesterday – but if it did not, in fact, happen within the last 12 months, your dog is no longer protected!

The kennel cough vaccine for dogs requires a booster dose every twelve months, so once more, check your paperwork to make sure your dog is still protected.

Keep puppies inside until vaccinated and protected

Young puppies are at much higher risk of contracting all manner of contagious canine diseases than their older counterparts, both because they haven’t had their vaccinations and also, have not built up any natural immunity as a result of exposure to life in general.

This is why pups should be kept in and not exposed to other dogs until they have been vaccinated, and have waited for the appropriate time for their vaccinations to take effect.

It is important to note that kennel cough does not require direct physical contact between dogs to spread it, so taking your puppy out but picking them up or moving away if another dog comes by won’t protect them at all.

Keep your dog healthy

A dog that is in generally good health and with a healthy immune system will be much better at avoiding minor (and major) ailments, and will shake them off more easily if they do develop one.

Keeping your dog healthy and giving them the best chance of avoiding illness means keeping them fit and lean, feeding a healthy diet, and investing in preventative healthcare, like flea and worming treatments, cleaning their teeth, and getting them checked out by the vet promptly if you think anything is amiss.

Avoid shared food and water bowls

Many dog-friendly businesses place a bowl of water in reach for thirsty dogs, which is very thoughtful of them, but can come with risks. Shared bowls that might have been visited by any number of unknown dogs can and do spread disease, and should be avoided.

Take a bowl out with you to hold water for your dog (folding bowls are very handy) and either take your own water or fill it yourself, to avoid the need for shared facilities.

If you need to use the services of a dog walker, doggy daycare facility, boarding kennels or any other business where lots of dogs will come together, ensure that you choose one that mandates up to date vaccinations for all dogs attending.

This greatly helps to reduce the spread of contagious conditions and protect all of the dogs involved.

Be alert to symptoms

Finally, whilst you can reduce the chances of your dog developing kennel cough, you can’t entirely be sure to prevent it; so stay alert to potential symptoms and contact your vet promptly if your dog does develop a cough.

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