How to Treat Pug Kennel Cough

Share with other Pug lovers!

Kennel cough can be distressing for pet owners, and debilitating for pets themselves. Here’s how to identify pug kennel cough, and what you need to do if you suspect your pug has it.

Life can be stressful when your pup or adult pug coughs persistently. Besides being uncomfortable, your dog may have trouble breathing, relaxing, or getting the quality of sleep it needs to stay energized.


pug kennel cough

Because dogs cannot tell when they are in pain, it is important to note any changes in their behavior. If your pet has been coughing for more than a day and shows no signs of improvement, kennel cough may be your culprit.

Read on to learn the early signs of a pug kennel cough, its causes, and how to treat them.

What Is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough refers to a respiratory illness caused mainly by Bordetella bronchiseptica, a bacterium that affects the respiratory tract. It is sometimes called canine infectious tracheobronchitis (CITB) or canine kennel cough.

This disease is common in toy breeds of dogs and cats, and rabbits. It is contagious and can be transmitted from dog to dog. It is most often seen in dogs housed in groups or high-density areas such as puppy mills, shelters, and animal shelters.

The condition is usually not severe for young puppies. But it can be severe for older pugs with weakened immune systems or underlying health problems such as heart disease or diabetes mellitus (diabetes).

Pugs may be more susceptible to developing this disease than other breeds because they have small tracheas (windpipes) and large heads. These anatomical factors make it more difficult for infected air to escape from their lungs. Consequently, the symptoms can be life-threatening and include pneumonia or asphyxiation.

pug kennel cough

Signs of Pug Kennel Cough

The first symptoms of kennel cough in your pug will usually appear within two weeks after exposure. Dogs with kennel cough may sneeze frequently and have watery eyes and a runny nose. They may also cough or gag when they breathe in cold air or eat or drink something cold or spicy. Some dogs will have no symptoms at all and can be carriers of the disease without showing any outward signs.

Some other symptoms to check for include:

  • Runny nose (clear mucus)
  • Discharge from eyes or nose (mucus)

How Can I Tell if My Pug Has Kennel Cough That’s Worsening?

If your dog’s condition worsens, he may develop pneumonia (infection in one or both lungs). This condition can be life-threatening if not treated immediately by a veterinarian.

What Does a Pug With Kennel Cough Sound Like

As well as pneumonia, your pug may also develop fever and experience difficulty breathing. At the extreme stage, the sneezing lasts longer than usual (more than 10 seconds), and the discharge from the eyes, nose, or mouth becomes more yellowish or greenish. 

Contact the vet immediately if you see any of these symptoms in your pug.

Here’s what your pug might sound like with kennel cough:

Pug Kennel Cough Treatment

Luckily, there are several treatment options to help your dog get better.


Antibiotics are the first-line treatment for kennel cough. Commonly used antibiotics include doxycycline, azithromycin, or ciprofloxacin.

These drugs help prevent secondary infections like fever or abscesses (pus-filled pockets) in the lungs or airways.

Antibiotics are given for about five days and are most effective if started as soon as symptoms appear. If you wait until your pug has a fever or is too sick to eat, it may be too late.

Antibiotics are ineffective against viral infections, so if your dog has a kennel cough and is not responding to antibiotics, he likely has a virus instead of bacteria in his lungs. Kennel cough can also be complicated by secondary bacterial infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

A veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic based on what type of bacteria are present in your pet’s lungs during x-rays or other tests. If your pug has been around other dogs with kennel cough, it’s best to take him to the vet right away so he can start antibiotics immediately when symptoms appear.


When your dog has a cold, his mucous membranes become irritated and produce excess mucus. A humidifier will help loosen up mucus in your pet’s throat so he can breathe better while fighting off this illness. Put the humidifier near your pug’s crate or bed so he can benefit from it while sleeping or resting during the day.

A humidifier also helps remove allergens from the air, which can benefit dogs sensitive to pollen or dust mites. If your pug suffers from allergies, consider using a humidifier year-round to help keep their airways clear and make them more comfortable.

pug kennel cough

Dietary supplements

Pet dietary supplements are a great way to boost the immune system of your pug if they have kennel cough. They’re specifically formulated to contain herbs, vitamins, and minerals that help keep your pet healthy.

Viral infections like kennel cough commonly occur among dogs with low immunity. Dietary supplements are an excellent cough remedy that effectively boosts a dog’s immune system to fight any incoming viral particles.

Using Cough Suppressants

You can use dog-friendly cough suppressants in pugs to help ease a mild case of kennel cough. However, it is better to consult your vet as soon as possible to help you decide if the dog needs antibiotics and any other treatment for severe cough.

Cough suppressants are drugs that help relieve coughing in dogs. They do this by suppressing the reflex to cough and thus reducing the amount of air the pug takes in when they breathe out. This condition makes it easier for them to breathe and reduces their discomfort.

Note that cough suppressants don’t treat any underlying causes of a dog’s cough. So they should only be used alongside any pug cough remedy (e.g., antibiotics) or if your vet has prescribed them (e.g., codeine).

Care for Pugs Suffering From Kennel Cough

As your pug recuperates, below are a few things you can do to speed up their recovery: 

Give Your Pug Enough Water

The noblest thing to do for a pug with kennel cough is to keep its body dehydrated. Pugs that have kennel cough will often suffer from dehydration, which can be dangerous.

Your dog should take freshwater daily to avoid contamination. If your dog is not drinking enough water, opt for a dog-friendly electrolyte solution or a special canine hydration supplement that you can add to their water bowl.

pug kennel cough

Keep Your Pug Away From Other Irritants

The best way to keep your dog from coughing is to keep him away from the irritants. The most common dog irritants include pollen, smoke, dust, and mold. If your pug suffers from kennel cough, irritants can worsen the condition. So ensure you keep the dog safe as it undergoes other treatment options.

Keep Your Pug Away From Other Dogs

Your pug intermingling with other pups can enhance the risk of viral spread. Kennel cough spread easily, so if you have more than one pet, keep them separated until all symptoms are gone. The same goes for children and adults who come in contact with your pet.

Also, ensure you clean your hands every time you’re done handling it. Most important, ensure your pet gets enough rest to avoid becoming dehydrated or developing other complications.

Conclusion: How To Treat Pug Kennel Cough

If you are concerned about your pet’s health and want to know more about how to treat your pug with kennel cough, call your vet.

The best course of action is to visit the vet’s office, where they can examine your pet and run tests if needed. Your vet will also be able to prescribe antibiotics or other medications that can help speed up the recovery process.

Leave a Reply

About PugFacts

PugFacts is a small team of devoted PUG owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.

Recent Posts

Sign up for our Newsletter
Pug Facts Guide

Expert tips, advice, and inspiration to keep your PUG healthy and happy

PugFactsGuide is a small team of devoted Pug owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your Pug! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.