Remedies for Kennel Cough

What is kennel cough, you ask?

If your dog seems to be coughing a lot or making choking sounds, he may have a case of canine infectioustracheobronchitis, more commonly known as kennel cough. Believe it or not, as awful as the choking, hacking noises sound, most episodes of kennel cough are not serious and resolve without treatment.

Dr. Becker from Mercola states that, “Kennel cough has a number of different causes, only one of which — the most common cause — is the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. Many people think bordetella is kennel cough, but that is technically inaccurate. In fact, dogs that acquire the bordetella bacteria usually have a virus that makes them more vulnerable to infection. Some of these viruses are the canine adenovirus, distemper, canine herpes, and the parainfluenza virus. Kennel cough is a form of bronchitis and is similar to a chest cold in humans.”

Kennel cough is contagious, so whether your dog has the illness or you know of dogs that do, make sure to keep them apart until they are well.

How does a dog get kennel cough?

Your dog comes down with kennel cough when she inhales bacteria or virus particles. The lining of the respiratory tract can be debilitated through exposure to cold temperatures; dust, cigarette smoke or other particles in the air; stressful situations like travel; and time spent in crowded conditions like those found in many animal shelters and boarding kennels.

What are the symptoms?

The universal symptom of a bordetella infection is a persistent, hard, “honking” cough. Your pup may gag or cough up foamy looking white phlegm. Occasionally a dog will have other signs of illness like a running nose, sneezing or a discharge from his eyes.

Kennel cough rarely results in appetite loss or lethargy, so if your pup is showing those symptoms as well, there could be something else going on.

Six natural remedies

Often kennel cough resolves on its own, much like the human cold. Here are some other remedies you can try for relief:

  1. Esberitox. This is a fast-acting Echinacea that I have found very effective in reducing the virulence of bordetella infections.
  2. Vitamins C and E. Vitamin C is an antiviral and E provides immune system support.
  3. Oregano oil has antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
  4. Astragalus is an herb used in Chinese medicine to enhance the immune system, support lung function and stimulate the regeneration of bronchial cells.
  5. Raw garlic and olive leaf are natural antibacterial and antiviral agents.
  6. Raw honey will ease the discomfort of coughing, and certain herbs will soothe and naturally suppress a cough, among them licorice root and marshmallow.

As always, you should talk with your holistic veterinarian about natural remedies and the doses or applications most appropriate for your pet.