Canine Kennel Cough Treatments Compared

Discover the differences between kennel cough treatments. Understanding the different treatments is key to helping your dog overcome the bacterial infection that spreads rapidly among dogs in close quarters.

What You Need to Know about Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a bacterial illness that causes inflammation of the upper respiratory system. While it is generally not life threatening, it can take dogs close to two weeks to recover. During this time, it's important to keep your dog away from other pets, including cats, and children. Most dogs remain active during kennel cough. If your dog becomes lethargic or develops a fever, seek veterinary care.

The key symptom of kennel cough is a dry, hacking cough that is often so persistent it can cause a dog's gag reflex to kick in. Because some dogs do retch in a severe coughing spasm, they might throw up their dinner. Make sure the dog drinks plenty of water to prevent dehydration and help mucus flow freely.

Antibiotics Used to Treat Kennel Cough

If you take your dog to the veterinarian's office, you'll likely walk out with prescription medications to relieve the dog's nagging cough and help fight off the bacteria. In some cases, you may also be given a nebulizer to help open the dog's airways and loosen the mucus causing the cough.

Doxycycline is an inexpensive antibiotic prescribed by many veterinarians to help kill the bacteria behind kennel cough. It also helps keep the kennel cough from leading to more serious diseases like pneumonia. Side effects include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Temeril-P is an anti-inflammatory, anti-itch medication that relieves coughing spells. The pills are commonly prescribed kennel cough treatments. Side effects include muscle weakness, increased thirst and lethargy. It's common for dogs on Temeril-P to have accidents, so make sure frequent bathroom breaks are provided.

Homeopathic Kennel Cough Treatments

Due to the side effects of some prescription medications, a growing number of pet owners are turning to homeopathic kennel cough treatments. Start with the dog's diet. Try to boost your pet's intake of antioxidants, including Vitamin C. Some dogs like fruit or fruit juice, add a squirt of lemon or some orange juice to your dog's water bowl.

  • Echinacea/Purple Coneflower: Enhances the functions of the immune system. Adding some echinacea to your dog's canned food or water helps your dog fight off the infection more quickly. It won't prevent your dog from getting kennel cough, but typically the recovery time is reduced.

  • English Plantain: Commonly called Plantago Lanceolata, slows the production of mucus helping to ease the irritation that leads to the severe cough.

Repeated Steam Kennel Cough Treatments

If your dog has kennel cough, you should keep him in a warm, draft-free room. Experts find that exposing the dog to a steam bath three times a day will help loosen mucus and relieve coughing spells.

You can do this by running your shower as hot as possible until the bathroom fills with steam and then leaving the dog in the room for 20 to 30 minutes. An alternative to the shower method is to fill a vaporizer with hot water and place that in the dog's room.