The tell-tale signs of the dreaded Bordetella bacteria and para-influenza virus in your pooch are that nagging, hacking dry cough that seem to intensify as the illness runs its course. Your dog may still eat, drink, and attempt to be active and alert, but in reality he is feeling miserable with a sore throat, dry heaving and lung irritation. While there is no cure for this highly communicable illness, there are natural, safe treatments you can give your pup at home to help ease the discomfort he is going through.
Grocery Store Treatments
One of the most popular treatments for that horrible, something-is-caught-in-my-throat cough that comes along with kennel cough is a honey mixture. You can find raw honey at almost any grocery store or health food store, and you can combine the raw honey with different ingredients to help soothe your dog’s throat and help ease his irritating cough.
Honey is a natural anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial substance that is also high in vitamins and natural sugars to keep your dog’s energy up and able to fight the infections. The honey also coats the irritated throat and helps to soothe the soreness and itchiness that comes with Bordetella. If the cough never produces phlegm, which is how your dog sheds the illness from his body, a mixture of honey with other all natural and easily purchased items can be a healthy cough suppressant that can give his body a rest for the consistent hacking and heaving.
- Honey and Coconut Oil Mixture
- Honey and Lemon Juice Mixture
Honey mixed with coconut oil provides his body with some extra nutrition along with lubrication for his throat. Coconut oil, as described coconut oil expert Bruce Fife of Coconut Research Center, is also a powerful substance that fights against bacteria, yeast, fungi and even parasites. It can be considered a daily preventative for your pooch even on his healthiest of days, and a valuable treatment option when fighting kennel cough. Dogs absolutely love the flavor of both coconut oil and honey, so they usually lap this up happily!
A honey and lemon juice mixture has been used for humans as a natural cough suppressant and sore throat soother for hundreds of years! Best of all, it is completely safe and effective for your canine companion during a bout of kennel cough. You can make this mixture starting with hot water, mix in the raw honey and squeeze fresh juice from a lemon into the mixture. This mix should be diluted with the hot water first, as it allows the honey and lemon to mix properly. You can also add chicken broth, beef bouillon or a crushed up treat to add some yummy flavor to entice your dog to drink this mixture happily, as lemon is not always very tasty for them!
Any honey mixture can be given about every 3 to 4 hours. While you cannot over dose a dog on honey, lemon or coconut oil, you should only give about one tablespoon per 10 pounds of body weight. Too much sugar from the honey may lead to diarrhea that can cause dehydration, so don’t overdo it! Furthermore, you should always leave a clean dish of fresh, cool water available so your dog can put some cold liquid on his throat when he needs it as well as stay hydrated.
Fight it with Nutrition!
There are food options that you dog can safely eat and digest that will also battle the kennel cough virus and bacterial combination. Between different recommended vitamins and naturally occurring antibacterial properties in fresh foods you can pick up at any grocery store, you may not need any prescription from your vet at all!
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Provide a supplement of vitamins C. Vitamin C is always recommended for virtually any illness, and can make a world of difference with how you dog feels while his body fights off the illness. Aside from providing some energy, vitamin C is a natural anti-viral and can be given at 500mg for a medium sized pet.
Vitamin E helps your dog’s immune system to battle the virus and bacteria naturally. It supports white blood cells in their fight against illness and leads to a quicker recovery. When vitamin E is combined with Echinecea the combination greatly boosts the immune system together.
Fresh chopped garlic is a powerful tool in fighting any bacterial infection in dogs. While there is much controversy about this plant, it is safe when used medicinally for short periods of time or in small amounts over long periods of time for supplementation and prevention. Per 10 pounds of body weight, 1 half of a clove of fresh, non-refrigerated or canned garlic is an extremely powerful antibiotic. It has been compared to the power of penicillin by professionals. To use garlic, finely chop one half clove and let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to activate the antibacterial properties and then feed to your dog either in his food or hidden in a treat.
There is an incredibly large variety of different herbs, teas, and other mixtures that can be created to soothe your dog’s throat, and any of the teas can be mixed with raw honey for both flavor and the added benefit of its antibacterial and throat soothing properties.
- Licorices Root
- Red Clover Leaves
- Rose Hips
- Wild Cherry Bark
Licorices root tea is highly recommended for dogs battling kennel cough, as well as red clover leaves, rose hips, and wild cherry bark. These teas should be steeped and left to sit until room temperature and given to your dog just before or with their meal times up to 4 times a day. Echinacea is a wonderful herb that can be given either through tea or a tincture mixed in water that can help rid any leftover bacteria near the end of the kennel cough cycle. While most herbal teas are not the most flavorful, they can be mixed with food, meat broths and treats to entice your pooch to ingest them.
Other tinctures that include eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint and tea tree with a humidifier or mister in the room your dog spends the most time in can bring some relief to his wind pipe and lungs as he inhales the vapors. This is very similar to vapor treatments for humans with a cold, flu, or other respiratory infections and illnesses. If you have ever used a vapor rub during a sinus infection, you know how good it can feel when you take a deep breath of eucalyptus vapors!
Outside of items you can purchase at your grocery store or health food store, there are items on the pet market today meant specifically for homeopathic treatments and remedies for kennel cough in our pets. These are also nearly all herbal, and are all natural, safe alternatives to the usual antibiotics and cough suppressants prescribed by a conventional veterinarian.
One such well known product is called Kennel-Koff and is a non-prescription herbal, organic product you can easily purchase online or through some catalogs. Many holistic and homeopathic veterinarians will also use this for their patients that come in with kennel cough. While this is probably the most well known holistic treatment you can purchase made just for dogs with kennel cough, others exist and a quick Internet search can lead you on the path of natural treatments.
If your dog becomes lethargic, not willing to eat or drink, or his condition worsens quickly do not hesitate to seek veterinary help for him. Young puppies, senior dogs or those with weakened immune systems such as dogs with terminal illnesses should be seen by a professional when any illness makes itself known. These dogs may not be able to fight off the illness as easily as a healthy dog and may need the assistance of prescription antibiotics and other medical treatment that only a vet can give.
For those healthy dogs, though, that simply need an extra boost to help them through the course of kennel cough natural and home remedies are easily and readily available. Most medications a vet will give are simply to make the dog feel better until the virus and bacteria run their course naturally. You can do this on your own for your healthy pet with a variety of food, herbal, or honey mixtures, tincture, aromatherapy and lots of love!