Has your puppy or puppies come down with kennel cough and you’re in a panic about their runny nose and high pitched cough? As with adult dogs kennel cough in puppies isn’t exactly a life threatening condition, you simply have to be more careful and vigilant about how they’re feeling and what symptoms they’re showing and do a few things to help nurse them back to health and keep them as comfortable as possible.
Kennel cough in puppies comes with the same causes as kennel cough in adult dogs, however, puppies are much more susceptible, the condition is much more likely to hit them harder and as a result it can be quite a bit more life threatening to them because of their more delicate condition, fragile immune systems and tiny size if they’re not properly looked after.
A simple case of ‘the dog version of the human cold’ can quickly take a turn for the worse if symptoms aren’t treated and puppies aren’t well enough taken care of as needed.
If Your Puppy Or Puppies Aren’t Ill
With puppies the best way to prevent them from getting kennel cough is to keep them in isolation away from other dogs who are sick and to keep them away from other dogs who may have been exposed or may still be carries of kennel cough causing pathogens.
While home reared puppies are not at as high a risk of getting kennel cough unless they’re in stressful conditions or exposed to a lot of other dogs, those puppies born in a kennel or other crowded conditions are at much greater risk.
What you want to avoid is having puppies exposed to coughing dogs or having your puppies noses and eyes coming into contact with other dogs’ noses and saliva as the viruses and bacteria responsible for kennel cough are transmitted through the air, saliva and nasal discharge.
The Greater Need For Caution
In puppies, kennel cough can not only turn into pneumonia, it can also result in stunted lung development as the lung’s protective hair like celia are either arrested in their mucous removing activity, damaged or killed off all together by the invading virus and/or bacteria causing the kennel cough.
This isn’t to say kennel cough can’t simple go away on its own if your puppy or puppies come down with it, but if they aren’t getting well or showing signs of improvement after about a week to a week and a half of care, it’s a sign they need medical assistance to help them get over it.
Other Reasons Kennel Cough Is Worse For Puppies
Coughing in small puppies is much harder on their tiny lungs and throats so it causes a greater degree of irritation and discomfort then it does in older dogs and can also cause puppies to get more depressed.
This depression can not only lead to laziness, it can also lead to a loss in appetite and this is extremely dangerous in puppies as they can quickly become more ill due to malnutrition derived weakness.
A mild fever is not abnormal in dogs suffering from kennel cough, however a high fever and any degree of fever in puppies with kennel cough is a sign that their condition has gotten considerably worse.
Nasal, Oral And Ocular Discharge
The mucus membranes in puppies are much more delicate then those of adult dogs. As this mucus is discharged from the eyes, nose and mouth it can range from a clear to yellow liquid.
You may also find that it gets dried up and caked around your puppy’s eyes or nose. If this happens don’t panic, but don’t try to pick off the dried matter either as this can cause pain and even scabbing on your puppy’s delicate skin. Instead take a clean, soft cloth or cotton ball moistened with warm salt water or baby oil and dab onto the dried mucus to soften it up. When it’s softened, simply wipe away with another clean, moistened cloth or cotton ball.
Also, be sure NOT to use the same cloth or cotton ball that you’ve used on their nose to clean away the matter in their eyes as this can lead to infection. Use separate materials for the eyes and nose to prevent this.
Taking Care Of Your Puppy’s Cough
As for the coughing, don’t hesitate to use an antitussive (cough suppressant) to calm your puppy’s cough, doing so can go a long way in allowing them the rest, comfort and peace they need to recover from illness quicker.
Also, as you would with a child, give your puppy a gentle 10 minute steam, vaporizer or humidity treatment 2 or 3 times a day to help sooth lung and trachea membranes and promote the loosening of any phlegm there may be in his or her lungs.
With the steam treatment however, (delivered by running a hot shower in a bathroom and letting your puppy sit on a comfortable mat on the floor to breath in the steam) if you have a little pug, bulldog or other short faced breed be sure to watch they don’t start to have trouble breathing. If this should occur remove him or her from the steam filled room to a room with warm, normal humidity immediately.
Keeping Your Puppy Eating And Hydrated
With puppies adequate, proper nutrition is critical to overall health and immune function. When puppies have kennel cough often times their sense of smell is decreased and can, in addition to their other discomforts reduce their desire to eat and can lead to malnutrition and failing health.
To make sure your puppy maintains her or his regular level of nutrition while their sinuses and throat may be irritated you can do the following things:
1. make sure the food is soft
2. heat the food slightly in the microwave for a few seconds to not only make it warm but to heighten its aroma and make it more enticing to your puppy
3. add a little liquid to your puppy’s food such as warm chicken broth or water and mix it up into the food to make it mushy, this will not only make it easier for your puppy to eat it will also enhance the smell of your puppy’s food to encourage them to eat it
Last Word On Handling Your Puppy’s Kennel Cough
With kennel cough in puppies the warning signs to look out for that are definite reasons to take your puppy or puppies to the vet are anything higher then a slight fever, refusal to eat and/or drink, lethargy and a change in colour of their mucus and/or phlegm (as in it turning from yellow to greenish).
If any of these things occur take your puppy to the veterinarian as soon as possible.