Kennel cough is a dangerous respiratory infection in canines. The good news is that this is highly preventable with on-time vaccinations of your pup. But if your doggo isn’t vaccinated, you’re surely wondering: can I catch kennel cough from my dog? Experts say that this is highly unlikely, but there’s still a small possibility that you might be at risk.
In this post, I will discuss kennel cough, its symptoms, and the risk of contracting the infection. But whatever the risk level is, it’s crucial to get your dog vaccinated. This will protect both you and your dog from the threat of this health problem.
What is kennel cough?
Kennel cough is a respiratory infection brought by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterium. There are other bacteria that can also cause kennel cough, but the former is the most common culprit.
Your dog can acquire this infection once it inhales the bacterium. If your Bulldog’s respiratory system is weak, the bacterium will advance and stir a massive infection.
Take note that kennel cough is highly contagious between dogs. It’s called kennel cough because it usually spreads on shelters and kennels shared by multiple canines. Aside from that, boarding facilities, dog parks, doggy daycare, and training groups can also be the source of the infection.
Puppies that are younger than six months are at risk because they are yet to receive kennel cough vaccinations. Such immunocompromised conditions will make Bulldogs vulnerable to severe symptoms.
Nevertheless, dogs that recovered from Bordetella-induced kennel cough will have immunity for up to 12 months. However, it’s a different story if your Bulldog acquires a different infection.
How do Bulldogs get kennel cough?
No matter how clean you are at home, your Bulldog can still get kennel cough. A trip to the dog park is enough to expose an unvaccinated canine to the bacterium. This risk increases if your pooch drinks on the water fountain shared by other canines.
Aside from that, dog walking services in groups can also be the source of kennel cough. Basically, any activity that will put your dog in contact with other canines can be the culprit behind the infection.
Signs that a Bulldog has kennel cough
Kennel cough is easy to identify because it triggers a strong cough that almost sounds like a ‘honk’. Aside from that, the following are the symptoms you should check on your dog:
- Hacking cough
- Runny nose
- Poor appetite
- Low-grade fever
If you observe at least two of these symptoms on your Bulldog, you should bring it to the vet right away. Since these symptoms are quite general, they can also point to other health problems. Nevertheless, all of it requires immediate veterinary attention.
Take note that these symptoms will become worse over the days. While some dogs can recover without proper treatment, it may not always be the case with Bulldogs. Remember, this breed is prone to breathing problems, so any respiratory issues must be addressed right away.
Can I catch kennel cough from my dog?
Now, let’s answer this dreaded question: can I catch kennel cough from my dog? Setting aside the risk level, the answer is yes – there’s a chance that you can acquire kennel cough from your Bulldog.
However, the likelihood is very slim. First, most Bulldogs past the age of six months will be fully vaccinated against this infection. Second, it’s very unlikely that modern veterinary literature doesn’t venture into the topic that much.
Take note that other microorganisms can also cause kennel cough. The likes of canine distemper virus, parainfluenza virus, and mycoplasma can all be the culprit aside from Bordetella. But of all these pathogens, only Bordetella can be contracted by humans.
So if your dog has non-Bordetella kennel cough, it’s almost impossible for you to get the infection.
Who are at risk of getting kennel cough?
When it comes to Bordetella bronchiseptica, humans with a weakened immune system are at great risk. But even in this condition, contracting a serious case of kennel cough is quite rare. For the most part, it shouldn’t be a cause of concern for Bulldog owners.
What you have to be concerned about is the risk factor of your dog. Unvaccinated and unhealthy Bulldogs are at risk of acquiring kennel cough. You should also know that there’s always a kennel cough outbreak during summer, so protecting your dog should be your priority.
How to prevent kennel cough on your dog
If you’re worried about your dog contracting kennel cough, the following preventive measures will increase its safety against the infection:
✔️Get your dog vaccinated
I may sound like a broken record, but the only way to fully protect your dog against kennel cough is to have it fully vaccinated. Most canines, including Bulldogs, can receive their Bordetella shot as early as 8 weeks old. After that, a booster shot will be given 12 weeks or four weeks later.
Even if Bordetella vaccines aren’t considered core shots, it’s still wise to give them to your dog. In my opinion, all dogs that will step outdoors should be given this jab for added protection.
✔️Disinfect your dog’s belongings
Aside from keeping your home clean, disinfecting your Bulldog’s belongings will help the spread of kennel cough. This is helpful, especially if you have multiple pets at home.
Through disinfection, you can also spot the presence of parasites like ticks and fleas. It will let you pick up the first signs of an infestation before it affects your dog’s health.
✔️Avoid nose-to-nose contact
If your Bulldog is yet to be vaccinated against kennel cough, you should isolate it from other pets. You should never let your pup be nose-to-nose with other dogs, vaccinated or not, until the pooch gets its own shots.
✔️Don’t let your dog share bowls
Another thing you should avoid is letting your Bulldog share food or water with other canines. This is common in dog parks, where hordes of canines drink into the fountain. Just imagine the amount of infection that water source contains.
With this, it’s wise to bring your dog’s own water bottle. You can also bring a collapsible water bowl to let your Bulldog drink properly. Remember that pouring water into your dog’s mouth is dangerous as it can get into the canines’ lungs. This is much so for breeds like Bulldogs.
✔️Ask handlers to wash their hands
This may sound a bit too much, but if there’s a kennel cough outbreak in your area, you can ask a dog walk or sitter to wash their hands before touching your pet. You can also explain to them politely that you’re just being careful. You should do the same when bringing your Bulldog to dog shows.
If you’re worried that your Bulldog will get kennel cough from the grooming shop, you can ask the groomers about the disinfection processes they observe.
Caring for a Bulldog with kennel cough
If your Bulldog has been diagnosed with kennel cough, you have to focus on immediate treatment. This is to alleviate your dog’s discomfort and to prevent the possibility of you contracting the infection.
Here are some of the tips you can do:
✔️Isolate the dog
The first thing you need to do is isolate your infected Bulldog. This is to prevent the spread of the infection to your other pets.
Once your dog is secured in a separate room, you should sanitize all its toys, bowl, bed, and other belongings. You can also wipe the floors to remove potential traces of the bacterium.
✔️Get in touch with the vet
Aside from that, you should call your dog’s vet immediately. This way, you’ll be advised whether you need to bring the pooch in for an examination. Most of the time, veterinarians will ask for the animal to be brought to the clinic.
Even after the examination, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact the vet should there be adverse reactions on the part of your Bulldog.
Next, it’s important to encourage your Bulldog to drink more water. This will help flush out the toxins out of your Bulldog’s body.
Aside from water, you can also give unsalted broth to your dog. The added taste will help encourage hydration. If that doesn’t work, you can try giving your pooch some ice cubes it can chew and play with.
✔️Let your dog rest
Most of all, you should let your dog rest until it recovers. Stop playtime and outdoor works to give your Bulldog the time to regain its strength.
Also, you should keep your dog indoors, so it won’t be exposed to irritants that will trigger coughing. The likes of smoke, dust, and chemicals are no-nos as these will make the symptoms worse for your pooch.
It’s important to keep the kids away, so your dog won’t be disturbed. You should also close the curtains and avoid making loud sounds.
✔️Give a prescribed cough suppressant
If your Bulldog’s coughing is getting serious, you can ask the vet to prescribe a cough suppressant. Most of the time, dogs with kennel cough will thrive on a small dose of Robitussin. However, you should consult the vet first to know if your Bulldog isn’t allergic to it and identify the proper dosage.
✔️Provide honey diluted in warm water
Another thing that will help your Bulldog’s coughing is honey diluted in warm water. Honey contains flavonoids and antioxidants that can help ease the symptoms of kennel cough.
For Bulldogs, two teaspoons a day would suffice. You wouldn’t want to overindulge your pet as honey contains lots of sugars.
✔️Let your dog inhale steam from the shower
Kennel cough can cause phlegm buildup on your Bulldog’s throat. And for a brachycephalic breed, this can cause breathing difficulties.
To help dislodge the gunk on your dog’s throat, you can let your Bulldog sit inside the bathroom as you take a hot shower. The goal here is to let your pet inhale the hot steam for at least 20 minutes. But since this environment can be pretty warm, you should also give your dog a bowl of water while you shower.
✔️Use a humidifier
Lastly, you can use a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air. It will help reduce the symptoms of kennel cough, so your dog can have a better sleep.
Just make sure that you use drinking water. Also, you should skip the fragrances and oils as these might cause adverse reactions. Most of all, you should clean the humidifier to prevent mold buildup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long is a dog contagious with kennel cough?
A: Most dogs will remain contagious for up to 10 to 14 days. However, this period can be shortened if your dog will be treated with antibiotics early on. Being proactive and seeking veterinary care right away is key to save your dog from suffering.
Q: Do I need to take my dog to the vet for kennel cough?
A: If your Bulldog exhibits signs of kennel cough, you must bring it to the vet right away. After proper diagnosis, your dog will receive immediate treatment. While it’s rare for this infection to kill canines, it will still put your dog to intense suffering if not treated immediately.
Q: What do you feed a dog with kennel cough?
A: Dogs with kennel cough should be given bland food. Boiled chicken and cooked rice are some of the best options. You should also keep your dog hydrated by giving unseasoned broth and lots of water.
Q: Can dogs get kennel cough even if it’s not around other dogs?
A: Even if your dog isn’t around other canines, it can still acquire kennel cough. This happens when your dog gets in contact with an infected surface. This is possible in shared places like dog parks, grooming shops, and even the vet’s clinic. It’s the reason why you should get your dog vaccinated against kennel cough once it’s old enough to receive the jab.
Q: How long does kennel cough last on surfaces?
A: Usually, the Bordatella virus, which causes kennel cough, can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours. It can linger on dog bowls, cages, tables, floors, and other hard surfaces where the infected dog stayed. The best defense here is to get your pooch vaccinated.
Can I catch kennel cough from my dog? Yes, but the possibility is slimmer than finding a tiny needle in a haystack. Despite that, you should still take the respiratory problem seriously as it will cause discomfort and suffering to your pet.
Did your Bulldog catch kennel cough before? How did you address it? Share it with us below!