Kennel cough, or infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious upper respiratory infection. Dogs in densely populated situations, such as boarding kennels, doggie daycare, and dog parks, are most likely to get kennel cough. There are a variety of infectious organisms responsible for causing kennel cough, the majority of which are viral. Transmission generally occurs by air or contact with infected particles. Like most common colds, kennel cough generally resolves on its own over the course of a few weeks. While the cough can sound particularly harsh, most dogs will continue to eat and behave normally during the course of infection.



Kennel cough is generally diagnosed based on a history of exposure and physical examination. In some cases, your veterinarian may also recommend blood tests and chest X-rays to rule out other disease processes or assess severity.


Kennel cough is generally self-limiting and doesn’t require treatment beyond cough suppressants if the cough is particularly severe. If a bacterial infection with Bordatella bronchiseptica is suspected, a course of antibiotics may be prescribed.


There is a vaccination against two of the more common organisms responsible for causing kennel cough, Bordatella bronchiseptica, and parainfluenza.