If you are looking for dog kennel cough home remedies, consider that dogs are very prone to kennel cough, also known as bordetella, as this condition is highly contagious. Owners of dogs with kennel cough often describe their dogs as having “something stuck in the throat” as affected dogs are often coughing and gagging as if their throat was irritated by something. However, unlike a dog choking on something kennel cough does not resolve quickly but rather lasts for several weeks. Following is some information on dog kennel cough along with dog kennel cough home remedies.
Symptoms of Dog Kennel Cough
“My dog has something stuck in his throat” is something vets hear often as a description from owners. More often than not, this typical cough is a sign of kennel cough. Medically known as Bordetella or Infectious Tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection that is common in dogs that are gathered together in kennels (hence the name kennel cough) or dog parks, dog shows, or just about anywhere where airborne viruses can spread from a dog to another.
Dogs affected by kennel cough will often develop symptoms approximately 3 to 7 days post exposure. The most common symptoms suggesting this respiratory condition are:
- Dry hacking cough
- “Something stuck in throat” appearance
- Cough following exercise or excitement
- Nasal discharge
- Lethargy (in most severe cases)
- Inappetence (in most severe cases)
- Fever (in most severe cases)
- Pneumonia (in very severe cases)
- Death (in very rare instances)
Treatment of Kennel Cough
Kennel cough often resolves itself within 2-3 weeks. However, antibiotics are often prescribed to prevent complications and speed up recovery. In some cases cough suppressants are prescribed. In Sasha’s case a 14 day course was prescribed. She recovered pretty fast and her cough gradually went away one week following treatment.
Home Remedies for Kennel Cough
Dog kennel cough home remedies are only for mild cases. Mild cases of kennel cough encompass dogs who are eating and drinking, dogs who are acting bright and alert and do not have a fever. If your dog is not eating, drinking, appears lethargic, has yellow or green discharge and is running a fever (rectal temperature over 103F), it is best to see the vet. Your dog may need cough medications, and in some more complicated cases, antibiotics.
Humidify the Air
Minor cases are often treated at home by clearing up the airway with the help of humid air. To accomplish this, you can take a hot bath or shower and then let your dog in so he can breathe all the good the steam which is soothing to his airways, ultimately making it easier to breathe. If on the other hand, you have a humidifier, it can help turning it on in the room your dog sleeps in.
Provide Warm Food
Just as you may feel relief by eating warm chicken noodle broth when you have a cold, your dog can feel relief too. You can feed your dog some warm low sodium chicken or beef broth with (no onion or garlic) so to help open up his airways and thin the secretions. On top of that, the broth will also help ensure your dog gets a good amount of fluids. Make sure the broth is not too hot by testing the temperature with a finger.
Adding some warm water to kibble is another good way to loosen secretions. The water may also help soften the kibble which is less likely to cause pain when swallowing it through the irritated throat.
OTC Cough Medicine for Dog Kennel Cough
Robitussin DM for dogs with kennel cough (make sure it is DM, as the formulations with added Tylenol, pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine can be harmful to dogs) can help for mild cases.
According to veterinarian Dr. Scott Nimmo, the dose of Robitussin DM for dog kennel cough is 0.5 ml per pound. It can be given every eight hours as needed, however, as with any medication it is highly advised to consult with a vet first and seek information about side effects, correct dosage and interactions with other medications.
The Bottom Line
Prevention is worth a pound of cure, the saying goes. Bordetella vaccines are very good in preventing this annoying respiratory infection. The vaccine may be administered intranasally or by traditional inoculation. The intranasal form appears to begin immunization more swiftly versus the traditional inoculation version.
Kennel cough is a pretty common respiratory disease, however, any case of coughing needs closely monitored and investigated as any cough can suggest other more serious problems such as potential heart conditions, valley fever or even heartworm disease, all conditions that can be life threatening.
*Disclaimer: The above article is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for veterinary advice. The above symptoms described may mimic other more serious conditions and therefore should not be used as a diagnostic tool. Please refer to your veterinarian for advice and proper treatment.