Antibiotics for Canine Kennel Cough Treatment

Kennel cough treatment can usually be achieved with a strict regimen of antibiotics. Kennel cough, also recognized as tracheobronchitis, is an infection that situates itself within the bronchial tubes of the upper respiratory system. Most commonly, this illness is identified by the unrelenting sound of a hacking cough. When a dog is infected with kennel cough, the germs from the infection are released into the air each time he coughs, and this effectively allows all nearby animals to become infected with the same. 

Because of how highly contagious this particular condition is, it is always best to seek immediate treatment when kennel cough is suspected. Here is a look at some of the more common antibiotics used to in kennel cough treatment.


Azithromycin is a generic brand of Zithromax and is used for the successful treatment of kennel cough. It is highly successful in cases of kennel cough because the bacterium that causes kennel cough is highly susceptible to it. Azithromycin works to interrupt the replication of the bacteria cells, which essentially kills them off and ends the infection. Upon entrance into a dog's body, azithromycin metabolizes rather quickly and begins working on the tracheobronchitic infection. This medication may only be prescribed by a veterinarian.


Doxycycline is the generic brand of Vibramycin, and it is probably one of the more commonly used antibiotics against kennel cough. It works in the same manner that azithromycin does by prohibiting the ability of the bacteria to reproduce. Doxycycline is also a prescription medication, although it should be used with a little bit of caution.

One of the main side effects associated with doxycycline is the onset of an allergic reaction. The chances of allergic reaction with doxycycline are higher than that of azithromycin. One of the other recommendations with this medicine is that it should not be given along side calcium supplements. Calcium can cause the function of the doxycycline to be altered.


This is a generic medication for Tribrissen. It is not used as commonly as doxycycline is for kennel cough treatment, but it has been proven to be very effective at eliminating the condition. The sulfonamide contained in this medication works to make the trimethoprim that much more effect, which is why they are combined for treating cases of kennel cough.

This medication is given by prescription only and will usually be given in doses of 30 mg, 120 mg or 480 mg depending on how severe the infection is. Most dogs taking Trimethoprim/Sulfadiazine do not encounter any side effects. However, this medication is not approved for use in pregnant or breastfeeding animals.

In addition, because of the potential effects that it can have on thyroid function, it is not a medication that should be used for any indefinite period of time. If Trimethoprim/Sulfadiazine is not found to be helpful to a dog with kennel cough, the course of treatment should be reevaluated.