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The Lowdown on Canine Cough

A common condition affecting our four-legged furry friends, Canine Cough can strike dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages. However, this virus is often incorrectly referred to as “para-influenza” and especially Kennel Cough - a terminology which unfairly implies the condition is the fault of pet accommodation facilities. This terminology is also used by the media, confounding the situation and misleading the general public. That’s why this month, with official advice from the Australian Pet Care Association (APCA), The Pets Hotel team would like to set the record straight with a basic overview of Canine Cough.

 Canine Cough

The cause: A common respiratory virus

Canine Cough or Infectious Tracheobronchitis to use the medical term, is a common and highly contagious upper respiratory condition that affects dogs and is spread by an airborne virus. If your furry friend contracts canine cough, they’ll usually display symptoms within 3-7 days (the typical incubation period for this pesky ailment).

Although very annoying, Canine Cough rarely develops into something more serious. However just like a human cold, it can lower their defences to secondary infections, which is why seeking professional vet care in a timely manner is often a good precaution.

It’s also important to note that despite the frequently misused term “Kennel Cough”, this condition can develop anywhere dogs congregate in social settings – from the local park, to dog obedience classes, play dates with their canine pals at the neighbour’s house and of course, from pet boarding facilities!

  • Canine Cough is a common viral infection affecting dogs
  • Although annoying, it rarely develops into a more serious condition
  • Symptoms usually display 3-7 days after exposure
  • Like other airborne infections, dogs can catch canine cough in any social setting


The Symptoms 

Much like the common human cold which is also caused by an airborne virus, Canine Cough results in similar symptoms. Most notably a repetitive dry, hacking cough that develops 3-7 days after exposure to the virus and is sometimes accompanied by regular sneezing and nasal discharge:

  • Dry, “hacking” cough
  • Gagging or vomiting after ingesting food
  • Sneezing
  • Eye or nasal discharge
  • Fever or lethargy

If your dog displays any of these symptoms, please seek the advice of your nearest qualified vet. On that note, the RSPCA website, AVA (Australian Veterinary Association) directory and Vet Board Victoria are excellent resources for finding a vet in your area.



As is the case with the common cold, Infectious tracheobronchitis or Canine Cough can’t be “cured” per se but must run its course until the infection leaves the dog’s body, which usually happens after 7 days. Given how this condition will make your dear furry friend more susceptible to other secondary ailments, your vet will generally prescribe antibiotics to protect their immune system coupled with cough suppressant medication and the age-old advice to get plenty of rest.

Thankfully, vaccines (parainfluenza and adenovirus type 2) are available to protect against this condition and other related ailments, which are generally administered as part of an adult dog’s yearly check-up. Puppies are also vaccinated for this condition in combination with distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus.

  • Canine cough can’t be “cured”, but will generally run its course over 7 days
  • Treatments include antibiotics, cough suppressants and rest
  • A vaccine is also available


Keen to find out more about The Pets Hotel and our friendly team of professional animal lovers? Contact us at The Pets Hotel (Port Melbourne) on (03) 9646 3696 or The Pets Hotel Country Club (Lara) on (03) 5282 1286.

About Us

After years of research in Australia and the USA, The Pets Hotel is custom designed for your pet’s health, safety and comfort, all in a fun-filled environment - which exceeds the industry Code of Practice.
The owners of The Pets Hotel have 35 years experience in the Pet industry.

The Pets Hotel is the culmination of this experience.

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Contact Information
Phone: (03) 9646 3696
Fax: (03) 9646 3695

Monday - Friday
7am-12pm & 3.00pm-6.30pm
Public Holidays

Address: 7 Phillip Court
Port Melbourne. Vic 3207