Is it possible to protect against kennel cough when boarding your dog? Our expert vet says yes—and offers the best prevention and treatment tips. 

By Sarah Grossbart
Updated April 26, 2018
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Q: I’m thinking of boarding my dog while we’re on vacation but am concerned about kennel cough. How can I ensure my pup is protected?

You have a couple of options for safeguarding your pup. The most common forms of kennel cough—an umbrella term for any canine upper respiratory infection caused by a virus or bacteria—are Bordetella and parainfluenza, and there’s a vaccine (often casually referred to as a kennel cough vaccine) for each that can be administered annually. In some parts of the country, a separate vaccine for canine influenza is recommended. Still, points out veterinarian Gayle O’Konski, “the parainfluenza vaccine only covers certain strains.” The good news: While kennel cough is contagious, it’s not as serious as it sounds, notes O’Konski. Kennel cough treatment and assessment is best done at your vet's office: He or she can determine whether your pup needs antibiotics. The good news, says O’Konski: “It’s rare that adult dogs can’t clear the cough on their own.”