Home Remedies for Dog Kennel Cough

Dog kennel cough is uncomfortable for your dog and can lead to pneumonia if not treated properly. While there is much you can do at home, visit your veterinarian if the cough persists.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is the most common upper respiratory infection affecting dogs, usually contracted from a kennel or another environment where lots of dogs are kept together. It can spread rapidly and last for a couple of weeks.

The most common symptom is a dry, hacking cough, which sometimes occurs in conjunction with gagging or dry heaving. In mild cases, a watery nasal discharge may be the only other symptom, and dogs will continue to eat, play and engage in daily activities. In severe cases, the cough may be accompanied by lethargy, loss of appetite, fever and pneumonia.

Veterinary Treatment of Kennel Cough

The best treatment of kennel cough is prevention. A simple bordetella vaccination is available as often as every six months if your dog spends a lot of time in boarding facilities or dog daycares. Young puppies are especially vulnerable, so avoid exposure to unknown dogs until your puppy is properly vaccinated.

Once diagnosed with kennel cough, your veterinarian may recommend antibiotics to reduce the length of the illness. In mild cases, your veterinarian may not recommend medication.

Home Care of Kennel Cough

Even if your dog is active and eating well, try to reduce his activity. It's best to keep your infected dog indoors, isolated from other pets that he may infect. Provide your dog with fresh water so that he has plenty to drink to flush out the disease.

A humid environment can reduce the discomfort associated with kennel cough, so using a humidifier or vaporizer near your dog's kennel or resting area can ease symptoms.

Natural Remedies for Kennel Cough

Raw honey can be soothing for your dog's throat when licked off a spoon or added to a cup of warm water for your dog to drink. You can also use an eye dropper to administer if your dog doesn't like the taste. Give to him every hour or as necessary to relieve scratchy throat. A strong peppermint tea can also soothe a sore throat, so honey can be added to the tea and given either in a dish or eye dropper.

Wild cherry bark cools your dog's throat as well, but it's a bitter herb, so your dog may be hesitant to drink it. Teas, syrups and tinctures are all available and can be administered to your dog at the children's recommended dosage. You can also add 30 drops to an ounce of distilled water.

If your dog has phlegm, make Yerba Santa herb tea in place of peppermint tea. If you prefer to use the tincture, add a few drops to your dog's water every hour.

Homeopathic remedies made of ribwort plaintain, bryonia and magnesium phosphate, all of which are soothing to the throat, are also available. Additional ingredients may be added to promote a healthy immune system.

Kennel cough is a difficult illness to treat because it usually must run its course, so home remedies to reduce your dog's symptoms can be very helpful. However, if the cough persists, consult a veterinarian for additional treatment.