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What are the Different Types of Kennel Cough Remedies?

Kennel cough remedies range from antibiotics for bacterial infections to cough suppressants and anti-inflammatories. Natural options include honey, probiotics, and herbal treatments that bolster the immune system. Each remedy targets symptoms and speeds recovery differently. Curious about which treatment might be best for your furry friend? Discover the pros and cons of each approach in our comprehensive guide. What will you choose?
Ron Marr
Ron Marr

If your beloved dog is experiencing a hacking cough, a runny nose, and weeping eyes, there is a very good chance he has contracted kennel cough. There is no reason to be unduly worried, because kennel cough is the canine equivalent of the common cold. It is an upper respiratory infection caused by a virus and certain bacteria, and most dogs will come down with kennel cough at one time or another. Luckily, this malady is easily cured with either antibiotics or homeopathic kennel cough remedies.

As is true with people, a virus of this sort will usually run its course in one to three weeks. Most people, however, prefer to alleviate their pet’s suffering as quickly as possible. Also, it is a good idea to check with a veterinarian, as kennel cough has the potential to progress into pneumonia. The best kennel cough remedies center around prevention, and a vaccine is available and recommended. This vaccine combats the bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria – most vets refer to it as a bordetella shot – and very few kennels will board a dog unless proof of vaccination is provided.

Vaccination can help prevent kennel cough.
Vaccination can help prevent kennel cough.

Should a pet owner prefer to avoid the antibiotic route, traditional kennel cough remedies are very similar to those suggested for children with a cold. Keep the pet warm, quiet, and away from drafty doors or windows. It is also a good idea to remove the collars, as they can further irritate the throat. Another of the many remedies for kennel cough is to encourage the animal to drink lots of water. Running a vaporizer, or turning on a hot shower and allowing the animal to breathe the steam, can also provide relief.

A cough, runny nose, and weeping eyes are symptoms of kennel cough.
A cough, runny nose, and weeping eyes are symptoms of kennel cough.

Most commercial kennel cough remedies are geared toward improving a dog’s immune system. Echinacea, of the same sort taken by humans, is also supposed to boost the immune system. It should be noted that, despite conventional wisdom, clinical, blind-trials involving echinacea have shown that it has little to no effect in reducing the effects of either colds or kennel cough.

Kennel cough is highly contagious, and receives its name since most pets do tend to pick it up while boarding in a kennel. One reason that a trip to the vet is suggested is because, while most kennel cough is brought on by the bordetlla bacteria, it can also be caused by canine parainfluenza or canine adenovirus. The former of these is the same virus that causes distemper in dogs. The last reason for aggressive treatment is because kennel cough is easily transmitted to humans.

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Discussion Comments


@burcinc-- That's interesting. Is honey safe for dogs? I always thought it's bad since it contains sugar and sugar is bad for dogs.

My dog picked up kennel cough from the playground. She loves playing with other dogs. I didn't take her to the vet, but I did ask my homeopathic doctor for help. He prescribed very small doses of homeopathic medicine for her. I don't remember all of them but it was phosphorus, bromium and a few others. It definitely worked.

Aside from the cough, my dog was also vomited a lot and couldn't keep food down. So I gave her warm milk everyday. It seemed to settle her stomach and helped prevent dehydration.


@ysmina-- I'm not sure about the cough syrup, you should ask your vet. But to reduce the cough and soothe his throat, you can give him some raw honey. But not the kind that's been pasteurized. You need real honey that's found in natural foods stores.

There are also some stores which sell aromatherapy products for pets. They offer various essential oils that have been proven to work for kennel cough.

When my dog had kennel cough, the cough treatments I used were honey and colloidal silver. Colloidal silver is water with silver particles in them. It's especially formulated and often used to treat pets when they get infections. It's not something that I give my pets constantly, only when they're sick. But it helped a lot with my dog's kennel cough. He was all better in about three days.


I had my dog neutered recently and since he came back from the vet's office, he's had a horrible cough! My vet told me to let it run its course but every time I hear him cough, it makes me so sad. And he's also dealing with surgery pain at the same time.

What can I do to make him feel better? I've wrapped him in a blanket and let him sleep on the couch. He also has little appetite and he won't drink much water.

I'm curious, is it safe to give dogs a small dose of children's cough syrup? I do find that risky but I have no idea how to reduce my dog's cough.

If anyone knows of any good home remedies for kennel cough, I'm all ears.

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    • Vaccination can help prevent kennel cough.
      By: Jonathan Vasata
      Vaccination can help prevent kennel cough.
    • A cough, runny nose, and weeping eyes are symptoms of kennel cough.
      By: pixphoto
      A cough, runny nose, and weeping eyes are symptoms of kennel cough.