Kennel cough is caused by viral or bacterial infections. It is very contagious and spreads when infected dogs cough, sneeze or have direct contact with other dogs. According to the University of Arizona Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, treatment of kennel cough consists of antibiotics, anti-cough medications and supportive care. If kennel cough is not treated in a timely manner, your dog could suffer pneumonia or even death as a result.
Isolate your dog to a specific area in your yard or home if you believe he has kennel cough. Common symptoms of kennel cough include dry coughing, retching, sneezing and snorting. Since kennel cough is highly contagious, isolating your dog will prevent other dogs from becoming infected with the illness.
Take your dog to your veterinarian to confirm whether or not he has kennel cough. To get rid of or treat kennel cough, your veterinarian will likely prescribe antibiotics and a cough suppressant. Antibiotics are used to treat any bacterial infection present.
Give the antibiotics and cough suppressants to your dog on a regular basis. Follow your veterinarian's instructions carefully to ensure success.
Keep your dog quarantined for an extended amount of time to allow the illness to run its course. According to the ASPCA, most cases of kennel cough gradually decrease and disappear after three weeks, yet some animals may remain infectious for long periods of time even after the signs and symptoms of kennel cough have cleared up.
Clean your dog's toys, sleeping materials and kennel thoroughly to get rid of any infectious bacteria left on any objects that could possibly reinfect your dog with kennel cough at a later date. Use a mixture of bleach and water to clean your dog's toys and kennel. Use soap and water to clean your dog's bedding and sleeping materials.
Excessive coughing can damage your dog's throat; therefore, help soothe his throat by giving him 1 to 2 tbsp of honey on a regular basis. Since kennel cough can resurface when your dog is put in a stress-related environment, ensure that the area where you isolate your dog is stress-free and safe. If you must walk your dog, prevent him from making contact with other dogs and also use a harness instead of a leash to prevent further damaging your dog's already sore throat. Ensure that your dog resumes proper drinking and eating habits, by leaving his water bowl full at all times and feeding him nutritious meals two to three times per day.
Follow your veterinarian's medical prescription thoroughly to ensure your dog improves from kennel cough as quickly and safely as possible.