Kennel cough is a condition that a lot of dogs experience at some point in their lives. If you start to experience your whippet coughing, then you’ll want to know how to combat this nasty illness.
Kennel cough is the common name given to infectious bronchitis in dogs. Also known as canine infectious respiratory disease, it is an upper respiratory infection that affects dogs.
In this article, we are going to go over everything you know about whippet kennel cough and how to treat it swiftly, and effectively to get your whippet back to full health as soon as possible.
Let’s get to it…
What Is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough is an infection that will give your whippet a loud and nasty persistent cough. This illness will cause your dog’s throat and voice box to become inflamed, which can be quite uncomfortable for the time that it lasts.
You will likely be able to tell if your whippet has kennel cough because of their persistent cough that can last up to a couple of weeks.
Kennel cough in dogs is quite common, and it likely feels similar to when we humans have a cold or the flu. This means your whippet will feel under the weather and will probably not want to go outside much.
Kennel Cough Symptoms
If your whippet is infected with kennel cough, you’ll notice some of the below symptoms:
- Low fever
- A strong, loud cough that sound painful and is persistent
- Runny nose
- Lethargic and not wanting to go for walks
- Being extra needy and affectionate
- Not wanting to eat food
Whilst kennel cough isn’t something that you should be overly concerned about, it’s important that you advise your veterinarian of any symptoms your whippet is experiencing to rule out anything more serious.
Heart disease, asthma, bronchitis, and other conditions can all start out with a cough, so it’s wise to seek the advice of your veterinarian before simply putting it down to kennel cough.
Out of all of the above symptoms, the cough is the most distinctive. However, it doesn’t always sound like the cough a human might have.
Often kennel cough can sound more like a choking or barking noise, it will sound like it’s causing your whippet pain as their voice box will be inflamed and irritated.
How To Treat Your Whippets Kennel Cough
In most cases, kennel cough is treated by a week or two of resting up. Allowing your pet to regain their strength to fight off the infection is crucial for them to overcome kennel cough.
Don’t put your whippet under any unnecessary stress such as long walks, runs, or any strenuous activity whilst they’re battling kennel cough.
Kennel cough will usually go away on its own after around 2-weeks of resting up. If the kennel cough is severe, your veterinarian may prescribe your whippet with antibiotics to prevent secondary infection and cough medication to ease symptoms.
Bonnie has experienced kennel cough once before and let me tell you it wasn’t a fun experience. She was clearly ill as she didn’t leave my side for one minute and all she wanted to do was sleep.
Her nose was dripping like a tap and every few minutes she would let out this loud cough that sounded dry and uncomfortable.
Kennel cough can really take it out of your whippet, so allowing them enough time to rest and heal is crucial.
One tip I do have for you is to use a harness instead of a collar when going for walks. As your whippet’s throat will be inflamed, using a collar can be painful for them and cause extra tension around their neck.
A harness won’t put any added pressure on their throat and will not irritate their inflamed throat any further.
Is Kennel Cough Contagious?
Yes, kennel cough is highly contagious. If you have multiple pets at home, then it’s probable that they are all now infected.
During the time that your whippet has kennel cough, it’s important that you separate them from any other animals. This means not taking them out for walks where they may interact with other dogs, and essentially isolating them at home with you until their symptoms clear up.
If you have a family member at home that has a compromised immune system, it’s also a good idea to ensure they stay away from your whippet until symptoms have cleared.
Although humans cannot usually contract kennel cough from dogs, if you have a family member with an immune system issue then it’s wise that they seek advice from a medical professional whilst your pet is in the same household with kennel cough.
Kennel cough is contagious for several days before your pet displays symptoms, this means they may have infected other pets without anyone realising.
If you know you’ve been on a walk with a friend or family member’s pet then it’s wise to give them the heads up that your whippet has kennel cough and their pet may start experiencing symptoms too.
How Long Does Kennel Cough Usually Last?
Generally, kennel cough symptoms will last for around 1 – 2 weeks. The amount of time your dog is sick largely depends on their health and their immune system.
If you’ve got a young, healthy whippet that is in its prime, they may be able to shake the illness off in a matter of days.
However, that doesn’t mean they are not contagious, so it’s important that you still ensure that they avoid contact with other dogs for at least 14 days.
If your whippet is older, they may find that it is harder to fight kennel cough so symptoms may stick around for much longer.
Kennel Cough Vaccine
Just as many humans get a flu shot every year in the winter season, you can vaccinate your whippet against kennel cough if you think it’s necessary.
It’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian about this first, as it’s largely going to depend on the individual dog. As mentioned above, if you’ve got a young, spritely whippet you may not believe a vaccine is necessary.
But if your whippet is old with pre-existing medical conditions, it may be a good idea to consider giving them a vaccine against kennel cough, especially if it’s currently prevalent in your local area.
Dogs that regularly visit doggy daycare that have a compromised immune system will benefit from a kennel cough vaccine as they will be protected.
There are different types of vaccines too, such as a needle, nasal spray, or even a tablet. If you’re concerned about your whippet’s health, speak to your veterinarian about a kennel cough vaccine and they can advise you best.
How To Prevent Kennel Cough
It’s tricky to prevent kennel cough as it’s such an infectious virus that is so easily spread from one dog to another.
One of the best ways to prevent whippet kennel cough is to ensure that they are in great physical condition, this will help them fight infection quickly and may prevent them from getting it in the first place.
You can do this by giving your whippet enough daily exercise and feeding them on a high-quality and nutritious diet.
Some whippet owners also like to give their whippet supplements to ensure that they are functioning at their peak all of the time, helping them fight off illness.
Kennel cough is transmitted through contact with other dogs, so if you want to avoid kennel cough, sadly you’ll need to keep your whippet away from other dogs.
This isn’t a great idea, as it can lead to socialisation problems later on down the line. However, if you use a dog-sitter or take your whippet to doggy daycare, it may be best to speak with the owner and ask them to immediately warn you of any dog showing symptoms of kennel cough.
That way you can remove your pet from the group of other dogs immediately to reduce the chances of your whippet becoming infected.
As a whole, it’s difficult to avoid kennel cough. It’s wise to do your due diligence when taking your whippet to areas with other dogs and to be equipped with the knowledge and expertise to deal with whippet kennel cough should it arise.
As you’ve probably established through reading this post, kennel cough can be quite stressful for your whippet.
Your whippet may experience this infection throughout its lifetime, and if so, don’t panic. Kennel cough is usually a harmless infection that will clear up by itself within a week or two.
Provide your whippet with lots of affection and care when they are sick, this will not only help them get back to health sooner but it will also strengthen the bond between you and your pet.
They will never forget the time that they were sick and you were right by their side helping them through it all of the way.
Remember that this is a highly contagious infection that can quickly spread between pets, so isolating your whippet whilst they are sick is essential to help combat the spread of the virus.
If you’re worried about your whippet’s health in any way, consult your veterinarian who may advise it best for your whippet to receive a vaccination.
Hopefully, this post has helped you understand whippet kennel cough a little more and now you’re better equipped to help your furry friend through this illness.