Kennel cough is one of the most common forms of canine illnesses. It can be transmitted from one dog to another and passed on at boarding kennels, groomers, pet shows, or any other event where a large number of dogs such as a local dog park. The typical symptom of kennel cough is a dry, persistent cough.
However, dogs may also experience other symptoms, such as a runny nose or eye discharge. The bad news is that even if it is just one dog with the illness, it can spread faster to other dogs. The good news is that it is possible to prevent kennel cough in dogs and stop an outbreak before it spreads.
If you want your canine business to succeed, you must ensure the well-being of the dogs in your care by maintaining a healthy and safe environment. This article explores the effective strategies to help prevent kennel cough in your commercial kennel.
But before that, let’s discuss the importance of avoiding kennel cough.
The importance of preventing kennel cough
Preventing kennel cough is paramount for various reasons. It is not only good for the overall health and well-being of the dogs but also reduces the spread of the disease. Another thing is that when there is an outbreak of kennel cough, your business may face disruptions in daily operations, including increased veterinary care, the need for isolation, and even the potential for closure. Preventing kennel cough can help avoid financial setbacks your business may experience due to an outbreak.
With that said, let’s now discuss strategies to help prevent kennel outbreaks in a commercial kennel.
Strategies to prevent kennel cough
1. Implement a vacation protocol
One of the most effective ways to prevent kennel cough in dogs is by ensuring that all dogs are up-to- date on core vaccinations. Some of these vaccines include the Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccine, which targets the kennel cough. Again, ensure you have a routine for administering booster shots to maintain the immunity of the dogs inside the kennel.
You can speak with a vet to help you determine the right frequency for booster vaccinations depending on the specific needs of your kennel.
2. Maintain strict hygienic practices
Another effective way to prevent kennel cough in your commercial kennel is by maintaining a high level of hygiene. Have a thorough cleaning schedule for kennel surfaces, including walls, floors, bedding, etc. It’s worth mentioning that you should only use pet-friendly disinfectants to kill any pathogens that may be present in the kennel.
Ensure that the kennel is adequately ventilated to reduce the concentration of airborne pathogens. Of course, fresh air circulation can help prevent the accumulation of respiratory contaminants. In addition, have a separate isolation room where dogs showing symptoms of the illness are kept. This can help prevent the spread of the infection to other healthy dogs.
3. Ensure the kennel’s environmental conditions are optimized
You need to avoid overcrowding your commercial kennel. That’s because proximity can fasten the transmission of respiratory infections such as kennel cough. Sufficient space between kennels and proper grouping of dogs based on their health status can significantly help reduce the risk of transmission.
Additionally, ensure you provide a consistent and comfortable environment for the dogs. Temperature and humidity fluctuations stress the dogs and compromise their immune system, making them more prone to diseases such as kennel cough.
4. Implement strict entry protocols
Having strict entry protocols can also help prevent kennel cough in dogs. You need to perform comprehensive health checks on all dogs being brought in. Pay attention to any signs of respiratory distress, coughing, nasal discharge, etc. If you notice any dogs showing symptoms, don’t allow them into the kennel until they receive clearance from a vet.
Additionally, enforce a brief isolation period for newly brought dogs to observe their health status before you can introduce them to the rest of the dogs.
5. Educate your staff and clients
Your staff is the people that take care of the dogs and spend more time with them. This is why they need to be highly knowledgeable about signs of respiratory diseases such as kennel cough. Ensure that your staff is adequately trained on the signs, symptoms, and preventive measures regarding kennel cough. This involves recognizing early symptoms and reporting them right away.
Educating your clients about the importance of vaccination and the preventive measures they need to implement for their dogs is also essential. Promote open communication regarding any signs of illness they should look out for in their dogs. This can contribute to a collaborative approach to disease prevention.
6. Regularly monitor the health of the dogs for early detection
Come up with a routine for daily health checks on all dogs in your commercial kennel. Check out for signs of cough, lethargy, nasal discharge, changes in appetite, etc. Early detection generally allows for quick intervention and isolation. If a dog shows any of these symptoms, you should immediately consult a vet. Early treatment will not only stop the severity of the illness but also prevent further spread within the commercial kennel.
7. Make sure that your kennel is as stress-free as possible
Promote an stress-free environment for the dogs by providing comfortable resting areas, minimizing loud noises, and maintaining a predictable routine. Remember that, just like for human beings, stress can also weaken the immune system of dogs, making them more susceptible to infections and diseases.
Preventing kennel cough in your commercial kennel is doable. With the right comprehensive and proactive approach, you can prevent kennel cough in dogs. Implement these strategies above, and you can significantly reduce the risk of kennel cough and create a healthier and safer environment for the dogs under your care. Talk to a veterinarian to help you tailor these strategies to the specific needs of your kennel to help you ensure the well-being of your dogs.
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