What are Natural Cough Remedies?

Occasional coughing is normal in a dog. But if your dog coughs a lot or seems unable to stop coughing, it may be something more serious.

Infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as a kennel cough, is a bacterial and viral condition that can affect dogs. It is a dry, almost hacking, cough that can affect your dog for approximately a week.

Natural cough remedies are known to be effective, and you can administer these in the comfort of your home.

A case of kennel cough is not considered life-threatening, but if the symptoms persist or worsen, it's best to see a veterinarian for advice.

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Natural Cough Remedies Procedure in Dogs

Honey and Coconut Oil

The most common natural remedy for dogs with a kennel cough, or canine tracheobronchitis, is honey.

Manuka honey, which is usually imported from New Zealand, is the most preferred type of honey. And in recent years, it has become popular to supplement the honey with coconut oil since it contains fatty acids that can help your dog recover faster.

Honey and coconut oil are naturally tasty supplements, so it's not difficult to get your dog to eat the remedy. Most dogs love the sweet taste, so just put honey on a spoon, and your pet should happily lick it up.

If your dog is small or medium, you should give half a teaspoon of honey and if your dog is large, one full teaspoon. Repeat the dose four times a day.

When using coconut oil, the recommended dose is one teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight, and you should divide this up during the day. For instance, if your dog is 30 pounds, you can administer one teaspoon in the morning, one at lunchtime and one at night. Your dog's stool may become loose or greasy.

Wild Cherry Bark Syrup

Found in many natural food markets, wild cherry bark syrup contains raw honey, apple cider vinegar, wild cherry bark, propolis, elecampane root, rose hips, licorice root, slippery elm bark, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, lemon oil and ginger root.

You can mix this syrup with honey. For a small dog, give half a teaspoon three times a day and for a large dog, one full teaspoon three times a day.

Tossa K

Targeted towards fighting infection, Tossa K contains mustard seed, black seed, olive leaf and pau d'arco. It can relieve upper respiratory infections when given four times per day in doses of half a teaspoon each. It is known to be excellent for immune systems as well as for killing viruses and bacteria.

Efficacy of Natural Cough Remedies in Dogs

Because of its antibacterial properties, honey is extremely effective at soothing the uncomfortable symptoms of a kennel cough. However, one must consider that a kennel cough has to run its course, so natural treatments  are focused on managing symptoms and improving immune response, rather than removing the problem. Honey and other remedies can make the coughing less hoarse and provide a coating for the dog's throat which makes coughing a little less uncomfortable.

Natural Cough Remedies Recovery in Dogs

The recovery time from a kennel cough can vary, depending on the severity. A dog can start showing initial symptoms within five to ten days after contact with other affected dogs. From the day of the first symptoms, the dog can be healed completely within one week to one month.

If symptoms do persist longer than ten days or you don't see any improvement, it is recommended you visit a vet. And of course, if constant coughing turns into something more, like breathing difficulties or wheezing, you should also visit a vet clinic.

A kennel cough can be managed with natural remedies, but your dog's veterinarian may be able to provide more insight and assist your pet in their recovery.

Cost of Natural Cough Remedies in Dogs

Depending on how many natural remedies you try at the same time, the cost of treatment can vary from as little as $1.99 to as much as $100.

There is an extensive range of available honey on the market, which can cost anywhere from $1.99 to $20. For the more effective manuka honey option, it can be purchased for $25, or it can go as high as $80, especially if you need to pay shipping and handling.

If you decide to supplement the honey treatment with wild cherry bark syrup, expect to pay an extra $20. For Tossa K, around $25.

Dog Natural Cough Remedies Considerations

A kennel cough is not a condition which can be cured, but its symptoms can be alleviated. One of the best ways to do so is to allow the dog to rest, and continue the use of honey and coconut oil for at least ten days.

There are no harmful risks associated with these natural methods. And just like a human common cold, a kennel cough can worsen, or it can get better. If it worsens, it could potentially lead to pneumonia or trachea problems, which is why you should visit a vet if the coughing doesn't get better or if you notice symptoms other than just the cough. These can include:

  • Green nasal discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Severe coughing
  • Breathing trouble

You should also consider that once the worst part of a kennel cough is over, your pet may still experience occasional coughing over the next four to six weeks while the trachea recovers.

Natural Cough Remedies Prevention in Dogs

Dog owners can help prevent their dog from contracting a kennel cough by applying the available vaccine for the Bordetella bacterium, which is one of the most common agents to cause a kennel cough. This vaccine is available in injectable, oral, or intranasal forms, and it is usually given in two doses that are two to four weeks apart, followed by a booster shot every six months to a year.

However, owners should note that it's not 100 percent effective and dogs can still suffer from a kennel cough even after being vaccinated. Because, although the Bordetella vaccine can stop most cases of a kennel cough, there are other cases that are caused by other agents, including the canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza virus, canine respiratory coronavirus, and mycoplasmas.

Dogs who are exposed to groups of other dogs, such as when boarding, competing, or being walked, may benefit from the Bordetella vaccine. In fact, proof of vaccination is commonly required by grooming, boarding, daycare, and training facilities.

If you notice your dog is coughing or if you plan to introduce your pet to large groups of animals, it's recommended to speak with your veterinarian first.

Also, feeding your dog a healthy diet can enhance the immune system.