What is Canine Cough?

Canine cough is a variety of different bacterial strains, and therefore the bordetella vaccine is not effective in every case. In fact, the bordetella vaccine is effective on very few strains of the bacteria. Here is how you can help your dog to stay healthy:

  • Keep his bordetella current – it does help soften the symptoms of the illness should he contract it
  • Make sure to receive the bordetella vaccine at least one week before entering any canine care facility, dog park or pet store
  • If your dog is coughing (sounds like something stuck in the throat), sneezing excessively, or presenting any signs of illness DO NOT ALLOW HIM TO BE AROUND OTHER DOGS AND SEE YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY
  • Use a boarding and/or daycare facility that has a dedicated isolation room with a one way airflow system and that practices good isolation techniques.

If your dog contracts canine cough:

  • Take him to your vet immediately
  • Finish all his antibiotics prescribed by your vet
  • Understand that the sound of the cough is the worse thing about the illness – it’s not as bad as it sounds!
  • Keep your dog away from all other dogs until his cough is completely gone and he has finished his antibiotics. This includes neighborhood walks and trips to the dog park. OTHER DOGS WILL CONTRACT CANINE COUGH!


If your dog shows signs of an illness, such as coughing, nasal discharge or excessive sneezing, he will be placed in one of our isolation rooms. This room is separate from our general population, with its own isolated ventilation system and strict anti-contamination protocols. Your dog will then be assigned a care giver who is allowed in the isolation room ONLY. This person is not permitted around any other member of the general canine population, a further safeguard against contamination.

If you have multiple dogs they will all be placed in isolation together, in case the other dog begins to show symptoms. Your dog will have the same comfortable kennel in isolation as he does in our general population WE NEVER HOUSE DOGS IN CRATES FOR BOARDING PURPOSES! 

Once your dog is safely isolated and comfortable, we will contact you, or your emergency contact. If you or a friend are able to come retrieve your dog we will encourage you to take them to your veterinarian. If you are unable to come get your dog, we will take them to our vet as soon as possible.

Once back from the veterinarian, your dog(s) will be placed back in isolation. While in isolation, your dog will get one on one attention and play time with a Lucky Dog staff member and walks outside, in addition to maintaining their feeding schedule and giving any medications prescribed by the veterinarian. Under no circumstances is a sick dog placed back in our general population or playgroup. All of this extra attention is included in your nightly boarding rate at no additional charge.

When it is time to pick up your dog, please come into our facility and speak with the front desk staff.  They will  explain any medications or recommendations prescribed by the veterinarian. After this, we will bring your dog out to you by our rear entrance; this is to avoid contaminating the other dogs in our care, as could happen when walking a sick dog through the general population.

We do our best everyday to ensure that dogs in our care stay safe and healthy. However, no system is fool proof, and many strains of canine illnesses are airborne, and no amount of sanitizing, cleaning or care can change this fact. If you have any questions about how we clean our facility, care for the dogs, or would like a tour of our isolation areas (tours are given to empty isolation areas only) please do not hesitate to ask!

Simplified In Human Terms

You visit a daycare center for your child and find it to be clean, well run, safe, and your child is happy there. Enter another child who happens to be coming down with a cold. This child coughs and sneezes near your child and the particles containing the virus or bacteria move through the air and are inhaled by your child. Nothing humanly possible can stop the spread of this cold unless one of two things happen. First, the child showing signs of the cold is kept home away from other children, or the child is heard to sneeze or cough by a daycare worker and is immediately put into isolation, away from other children. A proper isolation area prevents the air that child is breathing from mixing with the air every one else is breathing, but any child already exposed is susceptible to the illness as well.

Substitute the word “dog” for “child” in the above paragraph and you have the canine cough scenario. Canine cough is here to stay, and the bordetella vaccine, although helpful, does not prevent all types. At Lucky Dog we take cleanliness and hygiene very seriously, but it does not mean your dog will not get canine cough at Lucky Dog, or any other canine facility. No dog showing signs of illness is permitted to enter our facilities, but a dog may be harboring a virus without showing signs. When looking for a canine care facility ask the staff if a one-way air flow isolation room is available. This is a Dept of Agriculture requirement! An isolation room does not have to be pretty, but it does have to be effective. Bathrooms, cubby areas, and closets do not make effective isolation rooms!

Should your dog experience any of the symptoms listed below, please call your veterinarian and do not expose him to other dogs.

  • Cough/gagging/vomiting white foam
  • Nasal or eye discharge
  • Excessive sneezing
  • Loss of appetite and/or general lethargy