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Signs, Symptoms, and Naturally Remedies for Treating Kennel Cough for Dogs

Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory condition affecting dogs. It is akin to the common cold in humans and can be caused by various viruses and bacteria, with Bordetella bronchiseptica being one of the most common culprits. While kennel cough often resolves on its own, natural remedies can help alleviate symptoms and speed up recovery. This article explores the signs and symptoms of kennel cough, natural treatment options, and answers frequently asked questions about managing this condition naturally.

Signs and Symptoms of Kennel Cough

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of kennel cough is crucial for timely and effective treatment. Here are the primary indicators:

  1. Persistent, Harsh Cough:  The most distinctive symptom of kennel cough is a persistent, forceful cough that often sounds like a honking goose. This cough can be dry or produce some phlegm.
  2. Coughing Fits:  Dogs with kennel cough may experience frequent coughing fits, especially after excitement, physical activity, or pressure on their trachea (such as from a collar).
  3. Sneezing and Nasal Discharge:  Some dogs may sneeze frequently or have a runny nose with clear to yellow nasal discharge.
  4. Lethargy:  Affected dogs might appear more tired than usual, showing reduced energy and enthusiasm for activities they normally enjoy.
  5. Loss of Appetite:  A decrease in appetite or refusal to eat can occur, although this symptom is less common.
  6. Low-Grade Fever:  Some dogs may develop a mild fever, although this is not always present.
  7. Gagging or Retching:  Dogs may gag or retch, especially after coughing spells, which can sometimes be mistaken for vomiting.
  8. Watery Eyes:  In some cases, dogs may have watery eyes along with other respiratory symptoms.

Natural Remedies for Kennel Cough

While veterinary care is crucial for severe cases, many mild to moderate instances of kennel cough can be managed with natural remedies. Here are some effective options:

  1. Honey:
    • Administration: Mix one tablespoon of honey with a small amount of warm water and give it to your dog up to three times a day.
    • Benefits: Honey has natural antibacterial properties and can soothe a sore throat, reducing the intensity of the cough.
  2. Coconut Oil:
    • Administration: Add a teaspoon of coconut oil to your dog’s food once or twice a day.
    • Benefits: Coconut oil has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties that can help boost the immune system.
  3. Cinnamon:
    • Administration: Sprinkle a small amount (1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon, depending on your dog’s size) on your dog’s food.
    • Benefits: Cinnamon helps reduce inflammation and has antimicrobial properties.
  4. Steam Therapy:
    • Method: Run a hot shower to create steam in the bathroom. Let your dog sit in the steamy bathroom (not in the water) for 10-15 minutes.
    • Benefits: Steam can help soothe irritated airways and ease coughing.
  5. Echinacea:
    • Administration: Consult with your veterinarian for the appropriate dosage.
    • Benefits: Echinacea is an herbal supplement that can boost the immune system.
  6. Slippery Elm:
    • Administration: Mix 1/4 teaspoon of slippery elm powder with water and give it to your dog up to twice a day.
    • Benefits: Slippery elm soothes the throat and reduces coughing.
  7. Probiotics:
    • Administration: Use a high-quality dog-specific probiotic supplement.
    • Benefits: Probiotics help maintain healthy gut flora and support the immune system.
  8. Vitamin C:
    • Administration: Consult with your veterinarian for the appropriate dosage for your dog’s size.
    • Benefits: Vitamin C supports the immune system.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Treating Kennel Cough Naturally

Is kennel cough dangerous for dogs?

Kennel cough is typically not life-threatening and often resolves on its own. However, it can lead to complications like pneumonia in puppies, older dogs, or dogs with compromised immune systems.

How long does kennel cough last?

Kennel cough usually lasts between one and three weeks. If symptoms persist beyond this period, consult your veterinarian.

Can I use human cough medicine for my dog?

It’s best to avoid using human medications for dogs unless specifically directed by a veterinarian. Some ingredients can be harmful to dogs.

Can kennel cough be prevented?

Yes, kennel cough can be prevented with vaccinations, although they are not 100% effective. Reducing exposure to infected dogs and maintaining good hygiene can also help.

When should I see a veterinarian?

If your dog shows signs of severe distress, has difficulty breathing, is not eating or drinking, or if the cough persists for more than three weeks, seek veterinary care.

Can I still walk my dog if they have kennel cough?

It’s best to avoid public places and contact with other dogs to prevent the spread of kennel cough. Short, gentle walks in low-traffic areas are usually fine.


Kennel cough can be a worrisome condition for dog owners, but with the right natural remedies and supportive care, most dogs recover quickly. Always consult with your veterinarian before starting any new treatment regimen to ensure it’s safe for your specific dog. By understanding the signs and symptoms and knowing how to treat kennel cough naturally, you can help your furry friend feel better faster.

Always prioritize your pet’s health and well-being by seeking professional veterinary advice.  This article is not intended as Medical Advise.

Always Consult Your Vet

Before introducing any new food, plant, remedy, or supplement to your dog, always consult with your veterinarian to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your pet’s specific health needs. This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice.


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