Kennel cough, or Infectious Tracheobronchitis, is a contagious upper respiratory infection that could be compared to a cold with a scratchy throat in people. The most common symptom of canine kennel cough is a harsh, hacking cough that sounds as if something is stuck in your dog's throat. Some mild cases may resolve on their own over a perod of a few weeks. Severe cases develop when secondary bacterial infections occur- these pets are often lethargic, inappetant, feverish, and may have yellow/green nasal discharge. Some pets develop difficulty breathing- especially dog breeds with short, pushed in noses such as boxers, pugs, and boston terriers.
Bordetella or "Kennel Cough" vaccination is safe and effective. You should strongly consider vaccinating your dog for Bordetella, especially if he/she visits any of the high risk environments mentioned above.
While Bordetella is a major cause of kennel cough, there are many other disorders that can cause similar symptoms: mycoplasma infection, canine influenza virus, bronchitis, pneumonia, heart disease, aspiration, tracheal disease, etc. Talk to your veterinarian about ruling out these more serious diseases.