Kennel cough is no fun for dogs of any age, and as the owner you are probably desperate to find a way to help your pet feel better. When I adopted my first dog, I didn’t even think about his small cough until I took him for his vet check up. I was told he had a pretty bad case of kennel cough and would need to be kept away from other dogs for a couple of weeks. That's when I started looking for remedies for dog's kennel cough.
Known as Infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is a canine respiratory infection caused by a virus. The pathogens attack the cilia protecting your dog's respiratory tract and cause his upper airway to become inflamed. Obviously, this is going to cause irritation, which results in a dry cough.
After doing some research, I found a few remedies that really helped alleviate my dog's symptoms, and made me feel a little less like the worst dog mom ever. Here are the remedies for dog's kennel cough that I learned about. Hopefully you can help your pooch start feeling better too!
8 Remedies for Dog's Kennel Cough
Only use honey if your dog is over the age of 2. Puppies don’t handle the sugars well, and it can affect their tummies and their teeth. If your dog is an adult and has kennel cough, try a teaspoon of raw honey to alleviate the cough, runny eyes, and goobery nose.
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Honey is a natural anti-inflammatory, and helps fight viruses and bacteria in the body. Therefore, it's one of the best and most effective remedies for dog's kennel cough. My dog (who was 3) responded to the honey within just a couple of days, and within a week, almost all of his symptoms were gone. It’s important to use raw honey so all of its goodness hasn’t been cooked out by the pasteurizing process.
Don’t give more than a teaspoon a day until you see how your dog reacts, and discontinue if you notice weight gain or stomach problems.
This is one of the remedies for dog's kennel cough that shocked me, probably because I think of how much cinnamon makes me sneeze. But cinnamon is an antiviral and is so good for kennel cough.
Just sprinkle about a half-teaspoon on your dog’s food, and let him go to town. Many owners have said that once mixed with food their dog ate the cinnamon without hesitation.
If your dog isn’t interested in the smell of cinnamon, I found that getting the food a little wet, mixing in the cinnamon, and letting the food get soft helped my dog eat it easier. Sometimes, the cough agitates their throats, so I think the wet food went down easier.
Discontinue the cinnamon once your dog’s symptoms are relieved, but keep it in your spice cabinet for when you get your next cold.
Coconut oil is all the rage lately, and for good reason. Dogs with kennel cough (and healthy dogs) can actually eat about a tablespoon of coconut oil a day mixed with food, or just plain – if your dog is into that sort of thing.
Coconut oil kills bacteria, viruses, fungi – it’s a miracle drug. You can even continue using it in your dog’s food after he recovers from kennel cough to help ward off other health problems in the future.
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The only side effect you need to worry about with coconut oil is a little extra, loose poop. The oil makes your dog go more, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
Essential oils are everywhere lately – just like coconut oil. But the fact is they work! When my dog came home from the shelter with kennel cough, I sprayed his kennel with a little blend of eucalyptus, oregano, and lavender, and it helped to reduce the coughing and disinfected the air.
There are tons of essential oil blends and remedies out there, so if you’re interested, do your research. You can spray it around wherever your dog is lying, and the oils can also be used topically when appropriate.
You may want to consult a holistic veterinarian or canine health specialist to assist you with these remedies for dog's kennel cough, as there are hundreds of oils and blends to choose from.
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You can also add the oils to a diffuser, which is the next major tool in your kennel cough arsenal. It's like a mini humidifier that mixes the oils with water vapor and disperses them through the air. It's much easier to get your pet to breath in the oils than to ingest them.
Putting a humidifier near your dog’s kennel or bed will help moisturize the air, which means that your dog’s cough will be a little less dry and painful. It also helps prevent their nose and eyes from getting dried out from all that running.
If you live in an especially dry area (like I do), the humidifier can make a world of difference. Adding essential oils and keeping the humidifier running whenever possible made a world of difference for my fur kid.
Just like when a kid has crud stuck in their lungs, having your dog sit in the steamy bathroom while you shower can help loosen up gunk and get his coughs to be a little more productive. It's kind of like sitting in a room with a giant humidifier.
I also put my dog’s bedding in the bathroom and sat on the floor with him while the hot water ran for about 30 minutes (until all the hot water was gone). This did wonders for his cough, even if it is a little wasteful.
Steam also helps expand the lungs, which gets more oxygen and nutrients flowing through the body. Your dog might get a little hot, so make sure you leave lots of water in the bathroom.
Just like when you have a cold or flu, you have to stay hydrated. Make sure your dog, no matter how miserable he feels, is still drinking. Water is so important in flushing out the toxins. If he doesn’t want to drink water, try giving him a few ice cubes to chew on. Especially if he is a puppy, the chewing will feel great on his teeth.
You can also add a bit of broth to the water to make it more appetizing. One great trick is to make ice cubes out of diluted beef or chicken broth. Your dog will think it's a treat, but he's also getting hydrated at the same time.
Remedies and Rest
One of the most important things you can do is encourage your pooch to rest. When we get sick, sleep and quiet are the two things that help the most, and the same goes for our furry friends.
Keep your dog in a quiet area of the house, away from kids and other pets (especially since your dog is contagious to other animals right now). Give him all the remedies for dog's kennel cough you want, but make sure he stays calm for as long as the symptoms last.
This is the hardest part because you want to see your dog happy and playful, but without rest all the other remedies are useless. Your dog will be back to himself in no time if you let him rest! The remedies listed above should help speed up the process, as well.