Canine Cough: Fact V. Fiction

Happy Healthy Pets

“Happy Healthy pets” is one of the foundations that the Camp Bow Wow concept is founded on. For many pets the bulk of their “health” stems from a balanced life and current vaccinations.


Vaccinations are an important part of anyone’s health; including our own. We all remember waiting in the lobby at the Doctor's office for the dreaded “measles, mumps and rubella” shot. School aged children are vaccinated prior to the start of school and still we’ve all shuddered in fear when the bright colored note comes home in our child's backpack about pink eye, or even worse; LICE!

Canine Cough: Fact v. Fiction

While the “big” viruses such as Distemper and Rabies are cases we never really hear about, Canine Cough is (unfortunately) quite common. Let’s take a closer look at the Bordetella vaccine and Canine Cough and decipher fact from fiction.

Fact: What is Canine Cough?

The medical terminology is “Infectious Tracheobronchitis” which is a highly contagious upper respiratory infection. This airborne canine virus is like a sinus infection for humans and is often seasonal. Humidity (excessive moisture in the air) seems to breed the virus and allow it to spread faster so it’s not unusual to see an outbreak of Canine Cough in the summer.

Fiction: Dogs Only Get Canine Cough at Kennels

FALSE! While it’s often referred to as “Kennel Cough” this airborne virus can actually spread anywhere there are multiple canines in close proximity; the dog park, on a dog walk, even at the vet. It is more common in kennels because of the number of dogs in close proximity.

Fact: Dogs can be vaccinated against Canine Cough

The preventative measure for the Canine Cough is a vaccine known as Bordetella. All Campers are required to have this vaccine; however it only vaccinates against a particular strain of the virus.

Fiction: If a Dog has the vaccine he can’t get Canine Cough

With over 100 different strains of the virus it would impossible to vaccinate against every possible strain. The Bordetella vaccine is a preventative measure to keep all of our Campers safe but it doesn’t guarantee your dog will never come in contact with this airborne virus.

Fact: There are symptoms of Canine Cough

The main symptom of Canine Cough is, obviously, the cough. The dry, hacking cough mimics the sound of a cat hacking up a hairball and can be exacerbated by excessive activity.

Fiction: The symptoms of Canine Cough are always obvious and the virus is easily detectable

Although there are symptoms of the virus it has an incubation period that can last 3 to 14 days. A dog can carry the virus around without it producing any symptoms for quite some time The treatment for Canine Cough mainly centers around the virus running its course; however some veterinarians may provide antibiotics to prevent against other illnesses while the immune system is weakened.

Preventative Measures for Canine Cough

  • Every Camper is required to be current with the Bordetella vaccine

  • Our cleaning processes are rigorous

  • We ask that you let us know if your dog has contracted a case of Canine Cough so we can take extra precautions to prevent the spread of the illness.

  • If your dog is showing any symptoms of illness please don’t bring them to Camp until they recover or are treated by your veterinarian.

If you have questions about this virus or regarding the other vaccinations we require at Camp, don’t hesitate to ask!