The last thing any dog owner wants is to have to nurse their beloved pet through an illness. This is why most of us are more than happy to get all the necessary vaccines administered as and when required.

However, if you would like to put your dog into boarding kennels while you are away, you should seriously consider getting an extra vaccine against kennel cough. Many kennels will not accept your pooch without it, and often vets will include this as part of your vaccination plan.

The main symptom of kennel cough is a persistent, hacking cough, which generally lasts for about three weeks (six weeks for older dogs), along with retching, choking noises and other distressing ailments. The condition is highly infectious, which means it is easily spread in crowded canine environments such as boarding kennels.

Some varieties of kennel cough can be treated with antibiotics, however most strains are not bacterial but are viral instead. Although rare, it can also be contracted by humans, mostly those who suffer from immunosuppressive disorders such as HIV, or very young children whose immune systems are not fully developed - meaning kennel cough in your dog could affect your family.

While the canine symptoms are generally mild, there is a risk of serious complications, including pneumonia. Sadly, this can be fatal, so it is definitely worth getting the kennel cough vaccine before placing your pet in a relatively risky environment.

The vaccine needs to be administered ideally at least 3 weeks before your dog goes to kennels, usually as an an intranasal injection (a squirt of liquid into you dogs nostril, no needles required). Unfortunately, the vaccine is not 100 per cent effective, on account of the numerous bacteria and viruses that can cause the illness. It is still beneficial, as it significantly cut the risk of contracting the illness.

Written by: Hannah