Sit. Roll over. Cover your mouth when you sneeze.
That last trick is really tricky, which is one reason it’s important to be sure your dog is vaccinated against kennel cough, which is usually – but not always – caused by the Bordetella bacterium, according to the American Kennel Club.
“Dogs can spread it to one another through airborne droplets, direct contact (e.g., touching noses), or contaminated surfaces (including water/food bowls). It’s highly treatable in most dogs but can be more severe in puppies younger than six months of age and immunocompromised dogs,” says the AKC, which identifies potential symptoms as: a strong cough, often with a “honking” sound, runny nose, sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and low fever.
“The classic symptom of kennel cough is a persistent, forceful cough. It often sounds like a goose honk,” according to WebMD, which says most cases will resolve on their own, but cough medicine and antibiotics are sometimes prescribed.
For prevention, there are oral, injectable and nasal mist forms of vaccine, WebMD says. “Although these vaccines may help, they do not guarantee protection against kennel cough … because it can be caused by so many different kinds of bacteria and viruses.” Also, vaccines don’t treat active infection.
Like most reputable dog-boarding facilities, at Tradewinds we require our guests to be up to date on all vaccinations, including Bordatella, to reduce risk and keep tails wagging. It’s a lot easier and way more effective than trying to teach dogs the finer points of etiquette.