Vets warn owners against common dog behaviour that could lead to kennel cough

Kennel cough is an extremely contagious infection with local outbreaks fairly common – happily vets have shared some tips with owners on how to avoid your pet getting ill

Dog owners are being warned not to let their dogs drink out of shared water bowls as it could lead to kennel cough.

Vets have advised that the condition, which could prove fatal, is highly contagious, with shared food and drink bowls a potential hazard.

Kathleen Pohl, a veterinary surgeon at Zetland Vets and My Family Vets, warned: “If your dog is at risk and you are aware of a local outbreak, it would be sensible to avoid locations where your dog might have close contact with others such as busy parks, day care or shared public water and food bowls.”

But Kathleen is not the only vet to offer this advice, one owner was told the same after their dog had caught kennel cough.

Posting in a community group on Facebook, a dog owner shared the advice they had been given by their local vet. They said: “Been to a local vets today who advised kennel cough is rife in Chelmsford!

“Our dog has caught it. Told us don’t share public dog bowls for drinks.”

Although dog-friendly businesses have the best of intentions when dishing out water for four-legged visitors, and keeping them well hydrated is super important, it could do more harm than good and according to Kathleen, could also prove fatal.

She told TeamDogs: “Kennel cough is very infectious and can spread both in the environment and the air. It is also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis and is an upper respiratory tract infection that can be caused by many different bacteria and viruses.

“Due to this, we do often see outbreaks in cases in local areas, as dogs can pick it up very easily in the park or local dog shows, or in areas where they might mix with other dogs such as day-care and kennels.”

Kathleen added: “Due to the range in possible causes of kennel cough, the symptoms can also vary, sometimes just causing a nasty cough, but in other instances progressing to a fever, appetite loss and breathing difficulties.

“There is a vaccine that can protect against some of the infections that cause severe symptoms, however some viruses that cause kennel cough cannot be protected for due to their rapid mutation.

“In these cases, the infections typically resolve by themselves, but sometimes animals will need treatments such as anti-inflammatories to help them feel better while they are affected.

“Older animals or animals with other underlying health conditions may be more at risk of developing severe disease and these cases can progress to pneumonia, which can be fatal.”