Why Should You Care About Kennel Cough Even If You Don’t Board Your Dogs?


Kennel cough is one of those frequently misunderstood terms when it comes to what it is and how to prevent it. Broadly put, kennel cough is a type of bronchitis that causes inflammation to a dog’s windpipe and voice box. Puppies with not yet mature immune systems are especially susceptible to the infection, but even adult dogs need to be vaccinated annually to avoid the illness.

It’s also known as Bordetella, particularly when referring to the vaccination that prevents the cough. But, because of the name “kennel” cough, the misperception is that the Bordetella vaccine is only for dog owners who board their pets—but this is not the case.  

Kennel cough is an airborne disease that got its name because it’s so easily spread when dogs are in close quarters—such as in boarding facilities or shelters. It can also be transmitted through contaminated objects, such as chew toys or balls. Although humans can not catch Bordetella from their dog, the disease is in the same family as Whooping Cough in people.

Dogs can pick up kennel cough by coming into contact with other dogs in the neighborhood, on hiking trails, or at dog parks. Even snatching up a tennis ball at the dog park can pass along the infection. Simply put, kennel cough is highly contagious and exposure to pets with unknown health and vaccination histories puts your dog at risk.

Symptoms of kennel cough include:

  • A dry hacking cough, which may sometimes produce phlegm
  • Nasal discharge
  • Fever

Left untreated, kennel cough may lead to complications such as severe bronchitis or pneumonia, particularly if your dog is very young, old, or has compromised health. The best way to prevent kennel cough is to make sure your dog is up-to-date on his or her Bordetella vaccination, even if you don’t regularly board your pet. And if you do, reputable day care centers or boarding facilities won’t accept your dog if a Bordetella vaccination is not up-to-date.

The Bordetella vaccination is already part of PetWellClinic’s puppy packages, and can also be administered individually to any dog over three weeks old. We provide you with proof of the vaccination, and can also send it to your boarding facility or regular vet.

By operating limited hours for non-surgical care, PetWellClinic® is able to offer substantially discounted prices for vaccinations such as Bordetella, as well as affordable wellness exams, preventative products, and treatment of minor conditions. Think of us as a “minute clinic” for your pet—no appointment necessary, with quick in and out service. You can save even more time by pre-registering and pre-paying online for our walk-in hours.

PetWellClinic® is open during evening hours and on weekends. We are located in Farragut at 10549 Kingston Pike, near West Hills at 7329 Kingston Pike and at 228 S. Calderwood Street in Alcoa. Learn more about how the PetWellClinic® can exceed your expectations for affordable, top quality pet care by visiting our website at www.petwellclinic.com.


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