Natural Relief for Canine Cough

Canine cough (also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis) is a highly contagious respiratory disease. While it is often called “kennel cough,” we don’t use that phrase because dogs can catch it anywhere. There is a wide variety of viruses and bacteria which can cause respiratory diseases in dogs. The most common organisms associated with canine cough are the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica, and two viruses called Parainfluenza virus and Adenovirus. Therefore the Bordetella vaccine only protects against one bacterial component of this multi-factorial disease.

How canine cough manifests: The disease is airborne and may be transmitted through direct contact or being in environments with infected dogs that cough or sneeze. The canine cough has cold-like symptoms and has no cure, but the cough typically goes away even without any  treatment in 10 to 21 days. The disease may manifest through sneezing and frequent dry coughing. It may be more severe in puppies, while some dogs may not show any symptoms. Puppies and immunocompromised dogs may have a more difficult time fighting the infection.

Dogs with canine cough should rest.

What to do about canine cough

  1. Recognize the symptoms. 2. Consult your vet. 3. Isolate your dog from other pets.

Remedying the Cough Naturally

  1. Use a humidifier. Canine cough is a very dry cough. Therefore, keep the air in the room, or the area your dog is staying in, moist. Use a humidifier or a vaporizer to keep the air moist. [3]Make sure to keep your dog away from smoke, and other irritating and noxious fumes.[4]
  2. Have your dog breathe in steam. Steam is also an effective way to remedy your dog’s cough. Steam will open up your dog’s bronchial tubes and break up phlegm.[5]With the door closed, turn on your shower as hot as it can go, and let the room steam up for 15 to 20 minutes. Bring your dog into the bathroom, and sit with it for 15 to 25 minutes to let your dog breathe in the steam.
  3. Give your dog honey. Honey will help soothe your dog’s dry throat. It also has anti-bacterial properties. Give your dog a teaspoon or two of honey per day until its symptoms improve.[6]
  4. Offer your dog coconut oil. Coconut oil is thought to have beneficial properties that may help combat your dog’s kennel cough. Pour two teaspoons of coconut oil over your dog’s food daily, or let your dog lick it from a spoon. Remember, coconut oil is high in calories, so feeding too much is not recommended. Likewise, dogs who need a low fat diet for weight loss or other health-related reasons should not be given coconut oil.
  5. Feed your dog chicken stock. Chicken stock is great way to soothe your dog’s throat while ensuring it gets important vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Before feeding your dog, mix your dog’s kibble or drinking water with the chicken stock. This is a particularly helpful method if your dog’s appetite decreases because of the cough.

Boosting Your Dog’s Immune System

  1. Make sure your dog rests. While your dog is recovering, make sure it gets adequate rest. Try not to exercise or play with your dog too much. Also, try to provide a stress-free environment. Too much activity and stress can weaken your dog’s immune system and prevent it from recovering.[8] Keep your dog calm and relaxed by being calm and relaxed yourself. Limit activity and loud noises in the house. Also, limit other activities that can cause stress, like trimming your dog’s nails or giving it a bath. Because a leash can irritate your dog’s throat and make a cough worse, use a leash attached to a harness if you must walk your dog.[9]This cough is usually better with a week or two of rest.[10]
  2. Buy probiotics. Probiotics are a great way to boost your dog’s immune system. Keeping your dog’s immune system up is critical when treating canine cough. You can buy probiotics specifically made for your dog from your local pet supply store. Probiotics come in several different forms, such as powders, capsules, chews, and dog food. Sprinkle a recommended dosage of probiotics on your dog’s food before they eat. If your dog is on an antibiotic prescribed by the vet, make sure to wait at least two hours before administering the probiotic. If not, the two will cancel each other out.[12]
  3. Supplement your dog’s diet with vitamins. Another great way to boost your dog’s immune system is to supplement its diet with vitamins. Particularly, vitamin C is a great immune booster. Make sure to buy vitamins that are made specifically for dogs. You can buy them from your local pet supply store. Dog vitamins usually come in the form of soft, chewable tablets. You can either place a tablet in your dog’s food bowl with its meal, or give your dog a tablet after it is finished eating. The recommended dosage depends on your dog’s weight. Check the back of the bottle to see how much your dog needs.