Now we are entering the Holiday season, more and more pets will be having contact with 3rd party dogs. Whether you are looking after a friend’s pooch, someone will be looking after your dog in a home boarding situation or your pup might be going into group Kennels while you are away which means the likelihood of your dog contacting Kennel cough is high. Tom and Toto have been very lucky to only have 2 small outbreaks (effecting no more than 2 dogs at a time) of Kennel Cough over the last 3 years due to the prompt communication from parents and the protocol put in place by Tom and Toto to insure your pets stay safe.

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is the common name given to infectious bronchitis in dogs. Just as in chest infections in humans, a number of different bacteria and viruses can cause the illness – normally a combination of both. It affects their respiratory system, causing them to cough.

Kennel cough is airborne and highly contagious, which is why it can spread through kennels and large groups quickly. It is also transmitted with bacteria on toys, food bowls or other shared objects.

The most obvious symptom of kennel cough is a forceful, hacking cough, which will often sound like your dog has something stuck in their throat.

What to do if you suspect your dog has Kennel cough?

1) Contact Tom and Toto ASAP. You need to contact Tom and Toto as soon as possible in order for us to isolate your dog from the rest of the group if they need to be seen that day until your dog has been seen by the vet. It is vital for us to be immediately notified so the team can have an urgent Deep clean of their vehicles if they have transported your dog.

2) Contact your vets. Do not take them directly to the vets as them entering the facility could infect other pets waiting in the practice. Call your vets and ask for an appointment and the process they take for suspected Kennel Cough, usually this means your pet will wait in the car instead of in the waiting room until they are called, the Vet room gets a deep clean after the possible diagnosis, your pet may receive antibiotics.

3) After Diagnosis. Once the vet is almost certain it is Kennel Cough (there is no official diagnosis for Kennel Cough), please re contact Tom and Toto so we can trace back and notify parents that your pup has come into contact with the previous 2 weeks, as on average Kennel Cough incubation period is 2 – 14 days so we need to insure the rest of the group does not come into contact with any other non exposed dogs.

4) What happens for regular walks. Due to Kennel Cough contagious period, if you still need the visits to continue, your dog will be switch to Solo walks (not group), will not be transported in Tom and Toto vehicles, on lead (best to use a harness as their throat will be sensitive from the coughing) walks only from the house or garden play as not to spread any contamination to other dogs and not add any increased pressure on your dog’s throat and chest.

5) When you think they are all better. Notify us when the cough stops. We will still keep your pet on solos for a period of up to 21 days after the coughing stops to insure there is not any lingering infection that could be introduced to the group.

Should I vaccinate my dog against kennel cough?

Yes, you should if your dog is in regular group situations and especially if they are an off lead dog that is friendly and comes into contact with unknown 3rd party dogs.

Some of the infections that can cause kennel cough are included in the basic vaccinations dogs need to have as a puppy, and subsequent boosters but the most common bacteria present in kennel cough is Bordetella bronchiseptica, which is given as a separate vaccine – through nasal drops or injection.

The nasal vaccine for Bordetella bronchiseptica can be given when your dog is as young as three weeks, with it providing protection for about 12 months. It takes four days for it to become effective, and is considered the fastest method of providing immunity.

The injection is a better option for dogs who may struggle with nasal drops. It can be done once your dog is one month old and will require a further dose a month later. Yearly Kennel Cough boosters can maintain immunity.

Although protection is not guaranteed, many boarding kennels require dogs staying with them to have the Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccine.

Tom and Toto now require your dog to be vaccinated against Kennel Cough due to the large number of dogs your pet comes in contact with. If your pet is already Vaccinated against Kennel Cough can you please email a copy of the Vaccination record to so we can upload it to your pets record. If your dog has yet to be vaccinated we recommend they get vaccinated as soon as possible as Kennel Cough is rampant during the warmer months due to the higher foot traffic out in public areas.

If you have any questions about the Tom and Toto Kennel Cough protocol please feel free to contact us