As a dog owner, you know how important regular exercise is for your furry friend. But what happens when your dog comes down with a case of kennel cough? Many pet owners wonder if it’s safe to take their dog for a walk while they’re recovering from this common respiratory infection.

The short answer is no, dogs with kennel cough should not go for walks until they have fully recovered. In this article, we’ll explore why this is the case, what you can do to help your dog recover more quickly, and how to prevent kennel cough in the future. Let’s dive in!

Can Dogs Go for a Walk With Kennel Cough?

Can Dogs Go for a Walk With Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs. It is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria, and is commonly spread in areas where dogs congregate such as kennels, dog parks, and grooming facilities. One of the common questions that dog owners have is whether their dog can go for a walk with kennel cough. In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and provide some guidance on how to handle kennel cough in your dog.

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is a respiratory disease that affects the upper respiratory tract of dogs. It is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria, including the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria, parainfluenza virus, and canine adenovirus. The disease is highly contagious and can spread rapidly in areas where dogs congregate, such as kennels, dog parks, and grooming facilities.

Symptoms of kennel cough include a dry, hacking cough, retching, and gagging. The cough is often described as a “honking” sound and can be very persistent. Other symptoms may include sneezing, a runny nose, and fever. In severe cases, dogs may develop pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.

How is Kennel Cough Treated?

Treatment for kennel cough depends on the severity of the symptoms. Mild cases may resolve on their own within a few days to a week, while more severe cases may require antibiotics or other medications. Your veterinarian may also prescribe cough suppressants or anti-inflammatory drugs to help manage your dog’s symptoms.

It is important to note that while antibiotics can help treat the bacterial component of kennel cough, they do not affect the viral component. Additionally, antibiotics should only be used under the guidance of a veterinarian, as overuse can lead to antibiotic resistance and other health problems.

Can Dogs with Kennel Cough Go for a Walk?

While it may be tempting to take your dog for a walk to help them burn off energy and stimulate their immune system, it is generally not recommended to take a dog with kennel cough for a walk. This is because kennel cough is highly contagious and can easily spread to other dogs in the area.

Additionally, the physical exertion of a walk can exacerbate your dog’s symptoms and make them feel worse. Kennel cough can cause inflammation and irritation in the respiratory tract, and the increased breathing and activity associated with a walk can make it harder for your dog to breathe and cough.

What Should You Do Instead?

Instead of taking your dog for a walk, it is best to keep them isolated and away from other dogs until they have fully recovered. This means avoiding areas where dogs congregate, such as dog parks, kennels, and grooming facilities.

Make sure your dog has plenty of rest and access to clean, fresh water. You can also help relieve their symptoms by providing a humidifier or steam treatment to help soothe their respiratory tract. If your dog’s symptoms persist or worsen, make sure to contact your veterinarian for further guidance.

Preventing Kennel Cough

The best way to prevent kennel cough is by keeping your dog up-to-date on their vaccinations. The Bordetella vaccine can help protect against the bacteria that cause kennel cough, while other vaccines can help protect against other viruses that can contribute to the disease.

Additionally, it is important to practice good hygiene when interacting with dogs. Wash your hands frequently, especially after handling other dogs or visiting areas where dogs congregate. Avoid sharing food or water bowls, toys, or other items with other dogs.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, it is not recommended to take a dog with kennel cough for a walk due to the highly contagious nature of the disease and the potential for exacerbating their symptoms. Instead, keep your dog isolated and away from other dogs until they have fully recovered. Practice good hygiene and keep your dog up-to-date on their vaccinations to help prevent the spread of kennel cough. If you have any concerns about your dog’s health or symptoms, make sure to contact your veterinarian for further guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects dogs. It is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria and can be spread through the air or by direct contact with an infected dog. Symptoms include a dry, hacking cough, sneezing, and nasal discharge.

Kennel cough can be especially dangerous for puppies, older dogs, and dogs with weakened immune systems. It is important to seek veterinary treatment if your dog is showing signs of kennel cough.

Can Dogs with Kennel Cough Go for a Walk?

It is not recommended to take your dog for a walk if they have kennel cough. The disease is highly contagious and can easily spread to other dogs in the area. Additionally, the physical exertion of a walk can make the coughing and other symptoms worse.

It is important to provide your dog with plenty of rest and keep them isolated from other dogs until they have fully recovered from kennel cough.

How Long Does Kennel Cough Last?

The duration of kennel cough can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the overall health of the dog. In most cases, the cough will last for 1-2 weeks, although it can persist for up to 6 weeks in some cases.

To help your dog recover more quickly, it is important to provide them with plenty of rest and keep them isolated from other dogs until they have fully recovered.

How is Kennel Cough Treated?

Kennel cough is typically treated with a combination of medications and supportive care. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to help fight the bacterial infection, as well as cough suppressants to ease your dog’s symptoms.

It is also important to provide your dog with plenty of rest and keep them isolated from other dogs until they have fully recovered from the illness.

Can Kennel Cough Be Prevented?

There are several steps you can take to help prevent your dog from contracting kennel cough. These include keeping your dog up-to-date on all vaccinations, avoiding contact with dogs who are sick or showing signs of illness, and keeping your dog’s living area clean and free of germs.

If your dog is at high risk of contracting kennel cough, such as if they frequently attend dog shows or spend time in boarding facilities, your veterinarian may recommend additional vaccinations or other preventative measures.

How To Spot and Treat Kennel Cough In Dogs | Vets4Pets


In conclusion, if your dog has kennel cough, it is best to avoid taking them for walks until they have fully recovered. Walking can put additional strain on their respiratory system, making it harder for them to recover. Instead, focus on providing them with plenty of rest, hydration, and medication as prescribed by your veterinarian.

It is important to note that kennel cough is highly contagious, so it is essential to keep your dog away from other dogs until they are no longer contagious. This means avoiding dog parks, daycare, and other places where dogs gather. It is also a good idea to keep your dog isolated from other pets in your household.

Finally, taking preventative measures, such as keeping your dog up to date on vaccinations and avoiding exposure to infected dogs, can help reduce the risk of your dog getting kennel cough in the first place. Remember, the health and safety of your furry friend should always be a top priority, and with proper care and attention, your dog can make a full recovery from kennel cough.

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