Monthly Archives: June 2015

What is Kennel Cough and Why Should I Be Concerned?

Canine Kennel cough (aka tracheobronchitis) is akin to a cold in a human.  While no one wants to see any pup ill, it is quite common; and unfortunately, also quite contagious.  How can you avoid it?  Vaccination and being selective about the environments in which you pup is exposed to other dogs.  Most kennels will require proof of vaccination; but given that the current vaccine only covers less than half of the known stains of the virus, it is quite possible for your pup to still contract the disease.

One of the most common causes is the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. Unfortunately, dogs infected with Bordetella will have at least a temporarily compromised immune system so they can also be infected with something else they may or may not have been vaccinated for, which can include canine distemper, canine herpes virus or parainfluenza.  Your best defense is to prevent kennel cough by keeping all vaccines up to date (or perform a titer where possible).  Keeping pups away from environments where there is less than fresh air and large groups of dogs is also important.  This means indoor kennel runs and shelters can be a hotbed or transmission.  But it is best to remember that just like the flu shot for humans cannot protect anyone from mutated strains of a virus, neither can the bordatella drops or vaccine.  The good news is that even if your vaccinated pup does come down with kennel cough, it means that he/she should have a less severe version of the disease.  If your furbaby does display a persistent cough after being around any other dog, it is important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out both kennel cough and the less prevalent canine influenza strains.

The sound is usual quite obvious in that it is more like a hacking cough and can often mimic a choking sound and typically arises after a 3-4 day incubation period.  It is most likely that kennel cough will not be an occasional but a persistent, dry (not wet) sounding and can be quite forceful.  It is often accompanied by sneezing, a runny nose or eye discharge.  Changes in appetite or energy level are rare; but dogs who are excited or undergoing significant exercise can cough up a white, frothy phlegm.  Only your veterinarian can diagnose kennel cough and treatment options vary from cough suppressants to antibiotics.  While many dogs recover without treatment, it is important to follow through for treatment not only to speed your furbaby’s recovery and minimize discomfort but also because he/she will be highly contagious to other dogs.  And remember if your pup has not recovered within the expected time frame, schedule a follow-up appointment with your veterinarian.  This is the best way to ensure that the case of kennel cough did not progress to something more serious like pneumonia.  For most, all symptoms will disappear slowly over the course of three weeks but geriatrics, puppies and furbabies with other illnesses can take up to six weeks to fully recover.

As with most infections, prevention is key.  Choose facilities that have plenty of open air along with maintaining a sanitary environment and take a long sniff when you walk in.  Something that smells clean, generally is; and there is no excuse for a dirty or smelly environment.  Keep your furbaby vaccinated appropriately and/or titered.  Keep your dog away from environments where you cannot guarantee a dog’s vaccination status who is coming in direct contact with your dog (a dog park is a perfect example).  And of course, see your veterinarian immediately if something seems wrong with your pup.




Of course, I always want to support business and organizations that help animals both through my business and personally. But this is especially so when there is a business started by bright, motivated and compassionate people that are JUST 14 YEARS OLD!

LAB Soaps is a new Natural Soap Company, started by a group of 14 year old Chappaqua girls who simply love animals and want to help those in need. 100% of their profits go to the SPCA of Westchester in Briarcliff Manor, NY.

Their soaps and scrubs are a great and meaningful gift (in addition to being YUMMY) and a reminder that we can all do our part to help our furry friends in need! Check out their website:




Barbecues.  Swimming. Fireworks…all summer staples for us humans…but can be hazardous for your furbaby.  Here are some tips to have a great summer for everyone in the family.


On steamy summer days, the lure of cooling off in the pool can be fun for you and your pets. But it is important to note that pool safety issues for pets are almost synonymous with those for children. It only takes a few minutes of distraction for either one to fly out the door and into the pool.

Here are just a few of the issues to keep in mind:

  • DON’T assume your dog can swim naturally.
  • Make sure your dog knows a safe way to exit the pool (stairs)
  • Swimming is strenuous exercise- proceed with caution as senior dogs could slip and fall into a pool or may not have the stamina to make it back to safety
  • Heat and sunlight are more intense around a pool, so watch for signs of overheating.
  • Don’t let your dog drink from the pool; the chlorine will make him sick.


The excitement of a fireworks show in the summer night sky is a delight for the whole family. But the noise and energy may be too much for your dog to handle. Before taking Fido to see the fireworks, please consider:

  • loud noises and bright lights can easily frighten your pet, which can cause him to run away. If you must bring your dog along, make sure they are securely on a leash before the fireworks start
  • If the fireworks are set off near your pet, beware of impact injury or burns from setting off the fireworks as well as the ashes afterwards


As pet owners fire up the grill for a fun-filled  barbeque, there are many seemingly harmless dangers to their pets.

  • Traditional BBQ foods such as corn on the cob and bones from meat can be deadly or cause serious gastrointestinal problems in pets
  • Discarded objects attached to flavorful foods (skewers, string, foil, etc.) can also be tempting (and dangerous)
  • If you are hosting a party at your home, be aware that a dog may feel territorial; don’t assume a normally friendly dog will not be overwhelmed by having strangers in their space


Wishing you a happy, fun, and SAFE summer!



Join Pets a Go Go this Saturday (or Sunday if it rains) at the annual Ossining Village Fair!  We’ll be located by the Village Square and we will have loads of great doggie treats for you to sample including our Doggie Frozen Yogurt, treats and some USA made and sourced treats and toys for sale.