Does Lysol Kill Kennel Cough? (Explained)

Dr Daisy May, MRCVS BVSc, Vet Surgeon
Does Lysol Kill Kennel Cough

When your adorable furry companion is down with a kennel cough, you don’t only feel worried for him but also sorry for your pet. This will cause you to wonder what are the possible solutions for your doggie.

No doubt, your dog will be going through a lot of discomforts and might not seem to be interested in food due to the cough. However, you might have heard so much about Lysol killing kennel cough, and you wonder if it is true.

In this article, you will find everything you need to know about Lysol and kennel coughs.

What Is Kennel Cough?

“Kennel cough” in dogs is an umbrella term that we use to refer to an acute, upper respiratory tract infection, caused by one or more common canine pathogens. The correct scientific name for kennel cough is actually canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC)…no wonder we’ve shortened it to kennel cough! 

A dog with kennel cough may be infected with just one causative pathogen, or – perhaps more commonly – a combination of several different microbes invading your dog’s upper airways are to blame.

The exact make-up of an individual dog’s kennel cough syndrome will vary from pet to pet, but the most common “bugs” which like to get involved are Bordetella bronchiseptica (a bacterium); canine influenza virus (CIV) and canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV).

Other invaders – mycoplasmas, streptococci, and adenoviruses – can also be involved in the kennel cough syndrome.

So, kennel cough can be bacterial, viral, or both.

Interestingly, the relative likelihood of your dog coming into contact with CIV versus CPIV depends in part on where you live, as well as whether your dog has recently stayed at a kennel facility or not; CIV most commonly affects dogs in shelters and boarding facilities.

Whether your dog is experiencing bacterial, viral, or combined kennel cough, their symptoms will likely be very similar, a dry or moist cough; lethargy; a mild loss of appetite; sore, sensitive throat; nasal discharge; a fever, and maybe some sneezing.

Happily, the vast majority of cases of kennel cough resolve on their own with time, rest, and ideally (for your dog’s comfort) some anti-inflammatories and cough medication from your vet. In a few instances, antibiotics will be needed, but these are often not required.

In rare cases, kennel cough infection may lead to a more serious medical condition, such as pneumonia. In these cases, hospitalization will likely be required for treatment. Very young, very old, and immunocompromised pets (such as those on chemotherapy or steroid treatment) are most at risk of developing serious, complicated kennel cough.

Dog Closes Eyes When Petted

Lysol Explained

Disinfectant products have the potential to harm children and pets, especially if used inappropriately. Always carefully read and closely follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and safety instructions, and never allow children or pets to consume disinfectant products.

Lysol is a widely-available and popular disinfectant brand. Many Lysol products are marketed as ‘killing 99.9% of viruses and bacteria with correct use.

Lysol’s classic disinfectant spray contains the active ingredients ethanol and dimethyl benzyl ammonium saccharinate. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend using this product in a household with pets, simply because safer options exist.

Lysol also produces a more pet-safe product called Lysol Pet Solutions Disinfecting Cleaner, which contains the active ingredient hydrogen peroxide (basically, this is a weak-ish bleach solution).

Let’s look at each of these in turn, with regard to kennel cough.

Does Lysol Kill Kennel Cough?

As we discussed at the start of the article, kennel cough is not caused by a single bacterium or virus, but rather by any number of different respiratory pathogens. So the true answer to this question is a little bit complicated!

When used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, Lysol’s classic disinfectant spray has been shown to kill many of the contributors to the kennel cough syndrome on hard surfaces (including a number of human and animal influenza and parainfluenza viruses; at least one strain of Bordetella, and a variety of strains of streptococci).

Sounds pretty good. However, as already mentioned, there are much safer choices for selecting a disinfectant spray to use around pets.

Lysol Pet Solutions Disinfecting Cleaner, on the other hand, is perfectly safe for regular use around pets so long as the manufacturer guidelines are followed.

And what’s more, its active ingredient (dilute hydrogen peroxide) is very effective at killing Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine influenza and parainfluenza viruses.

So, overall, I would deem Lysol Pet Solutions Disinfecting Cleaner a good choice to routinely clean the surfaces in your home to help prevent the introduction and spread of kennel cough.

How Can I Use Lysol To Kill Kennel Cough?

Lysol can be used to kill kennel cough bacteria and viruses on hard surfaces, including tiles; hardwood and laminate flooring; washable walls; countertops; the walls of your dog’s crate; sinks, bathtubs, and other ceramics; and fiberglass surfaces.

Note: Before applying a cleaning product to any surface, it is sensible to test the product on a small surface area to check that it will not stain or cause discoloration.

  • Step 1: Remove your pet from the room which you are cleaning. This is to avoid them breathing in any of the products as you are spraying them.
  • Step 2: Remove any visible dirt or debris from the surface; use a standard absorbed cloth or wipe.
  • Step 3: Liberally spray the surface with Lysol Pet Solutions Disinfecting Cleaner, from a distance of around 6 inches.
  • Step 4: Leave the product in contact with the now-wet surface for 10-12 minutes. This waiting time is necessary to allow the disinfection process to occur and kill kennel cough-causing pathogens. Ensure children and pets are kept away from the surfaces while this process is carried out.
  • Step 5: Wipe the surface(s) dry.
  • Step 6: If you have applied the product to any food preparation surfaces, such as kitchen countertops, ensure that these are rinsed well with clean, potable water and then wiped dry again prior to use.
sad dog

What Are The Alternatives To Lysol For Killing Kennel Cough?

The best way to prevent your dog from suffering negative effects from kennel cough infection is to ensure that your dog is vaccinated annually against kennel cough, especially if your dog enjoys spending time in high-risk locations such as dog daycare centers, boarding kennels or dog parks.

“But wait”, you might be thinking; “didn’t she say earlier that kennel cough isn’t caused by just one virus or bacteria? So how can we vaccinate against it?!” Excellent question, and well remembered!

Generally speaking, dogs only really need to be vaccinated against Bordetella or the viral causes of kennel cough to decrease the likelihood of getting this disease and reduce the severity of symptoms if they are unlucky enough to catch it still.

The easiest way to understand this rather complicated concept is to simplify it a little:

Vaccinating your dog against one of the causes of kennel cough (for example, with a Bordetella vaccine) is like cutting in half the number of would-be invaders of an enemy army trying to get past the defenses of a castle. In this analogy, the castle is your dog’s immune system!

Fewer enemy forces mean they are far less likely to break into the castle and wreak havoc. The castle’s defenses will likely be effective in keeping them out, whereas a larger number of invaders (respiratory pathogens) might have been able to break through.

Final Words

Makes more sense now. So, as well as regularly disinfecting the surfaces in your home against kennel cough, don’t forget those annual vaccines. They do make a difference. 

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