Kennel cough is a common respiratory infection among dogs of any breed and age. It is similar to bronchopneumonia in humans, and is called infectious canine tracheobronchitis in dogs. It is caused by both bacterial and viral agents, which are extremely infectious, especially for dogs living together in quarters. Kennel cough symptoms are similar to what humans exhibit, but many owners find it challenging to distinguish a bark, from a cough.

Pet owners normally notice that their four-legged friend is sick when he or she is lethargic, and refuses to interact. However, in canine tracheobronchitis, dogs can stay alert and lively despite having contracted the infection from another dog. This is one reason owners fail to bring the dog immediately to the vet.

The most characteristic symptom presents itself about a week after the dog has been exposed to another infected dog. This symptom is a loud, honk-like cough that sounds dry and harsh. The dog’s bark does not come on smoothly, and sounds as if something, which was stuck in the dog’s throat, is causing the harsh, abnormal bark. The dog will most likely cough persistently for several times a day.

Humans with bronchitis exhibit wheezing sounds when breathing. Dogs do too. They make snorting, sneezing, gagging sounds, which are made even more significant when the dog is excited, or has just finished an active play session. The veterinarian will usually be able to elicit the same sounds by pressing the dog’s throat gently. As the disease progresses, the dog will start to show symptoms of colds – yellowish, purulent discharge from the nose.

Owners may fail to notice the signs early on because infected dogs may still be playful and active. However, the disease eventually takes toll on the body’s dog, and soon, he or she loses interest in eating and playing, and may often have a fever. The dog may be lethargic and may present with difficulty in breathing from persistent coughing.

When kennel cough symptoms appear, it is best to rush your four-legged friend to the vet to get treated right away. The bacteria and virus that cause the disease will soon eat up what’s left of the dog’s immunity, and the worst that can happen, is death.