Kennel cough, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis or Bordetella cough, is a prevalent respiratory condition that commonly affects puppies.
However, it can also impact adult dogs due to its highly contagious nature.
If your beloved canine is experiencing a persistent cough, it is possible that he has contracted this infection.
In this blog post, we will explore the symptoms of kennel cough and provide natural treatment options to effectively manage this disease and restore your dog’s vitality and good health in no time.
Discover the symptoms, treatment, and natural remedies for kennel cough in dogs. Learn how to effectively manage this common respiratory condition and restore your furry friend’s health.
Understanding kennel cough in dogs
Kennel cough is an infection of the upper respiratory tract in dogs, caused by either bacteria or a virus.
The most common cause is a combination of the Parainfluenza virus (CPIV) and Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria.
This condition is highly contagious and can be transmitted within 6 to 14 days after the onset of symptoms.
Viruses and bacteria spread through the air via sneezing and coughing, making it easy for a healthy dog to contract the disease by inhaling the aerosol of these respiratory secretions or coming into contact with an infected surface.
Kennel cough can often become a complex infection when both bacteria and viruses are involved, leading to potentially complicated cases.
Signs and symptoms of kennel cough
If your otherwise healthy dog suddenly starts coughing, it is likely due to a viral or bacterial infection associated with kennel cough.
The cough is usually dry and may lead to vomiting due to pressure on the trachea.
Dogs may also exhibit a spasmodic cough when excited or after exercise.
Other symptoms include a runny nose and, in some cases, a fever.
These signs typically manifest within 2-14 days after the dog contracts the disease.
Despite the cough, the dog usually remains alert and maintains a normal appetite and drinking habits.
However, severe cases can cause a loss of appetite and lethargy, and may even progress to pneumonia, especially in immunocompromised dogs or young puppies with weaker immune systems.
Diagnosing kennel cough
Veterinarians can diagnose kennel cough by observing the symptoms presented by the dog.
Bacterial and viral cultures may be conducted, and blood tests may be considered to identify the specific pathogens involved.
Sometimes, X-rays are necessary to assess the condition of the lungs.
Treatment options for kennel cough
In many cases, dogs with tracheobronchitis can recover without any specific treatment.
It is not recommended to administer antibiotics routinely, as they do not guarantee a cure for the illness.
Nowadays, many veterinarians prefer to let dogs recover naturally.
However, if your dog does not show signs of improvement within a week or if the cough and overall condition worsen, it is essential to revisit your veterinarian.
The same applies if your puppy experiences a persistent cough, accompanied by a lack of appetite, breathing difficulties, or noticeable lack of energy.
Kennel cough vaccination
While many kennels, grooming salons, pet sitters, shelters, and even some veterinarians advocate for the kennel cough vaccine, most experts no longer recommend it.
It’s important to understand that these entities typically promote vaccination to protect themselves from liability, rather than for the preventive benefits it offers.
Kennel cough is a complex infection involving various bacteria and viruses, making it challenging for a single vaccine to provide effective protection.
Additionally, the immunity provided by the vaccine diminishes within a year, necessitating annual vaccinations.
If vaccination is required for access to certain places, you can ask your veterinarian about the intranasal vaccine (kennel cough bordetella vaccine), which is less toxic than the traditional injectable vaccine.
However, it is crucial to remember that this vaccine does not guarantee prevention, and strengthening your dog’s immune system naturally remains the best approach.
Managing kennel cough at home
Take off his collar
A dog with kennel cough often has a very sensitive trachea.
A simple collar can trigger a coughing fit.
For this reason, it is not recommended to leave it on during an episode of this disease.
Prefer the harness to avoid pressure on the throat.
Moisten the air
To ease him, you can use an air humidifier (#ad).
Moisture helps soothe a cough and may even make it go away.
If you don’t have a humidifier, you can also take your dog to the bathroom and let the hot water run.
This breathed moisture will relieve the respiratory tract quickly.
Do this two to three times a day.
Natural remedies kennel cough
If your dog has kennel cough but remains alert, maintains normal behavior, and continues to eat and drink, you can consider using natural remedies to provide relief.
Colloidal silver is a little-known natural antibiotic that is nevertheless extremely effective.
Just give a tablespoon of 10ppm colloidal silver (#ad) two to three times a day to offer real protection against viruses and bacteria.
I invite you to read our post dedicated to colloidal silver which is as effective on humans as on animals.
Honey for kennel cough
A simple teaspoon of honey per 22 pounds of weight two to three times a day is a real benefit.
Honey will work by coating the throat to protect it and its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties will really relieve cough and irritation.
Choose instead dark honey that contains its best virtues, the thyme honey (#ad) is best for upper respiratory tract infections.
Dandelion leaves or more conveniently the dandelion tincture (#ad) has very interesting diuretic properties to treat kennel cough.
It will therefore help to eliminate toxins and at the same time, it excels in treating laryngitis, bronchitis, or all kinds of coughs.
The recommended dosage is one milliliter per 22 pounds body weight twice a day.
An Oregano solution (#ad) is highly recommended if you notice your dog’s kennel cough signs starting to get worse or going on a bit too long.
Oregano has antitussive and expectorant properties that will relieve throat irritation while combining antibacterial properties that will help your dog to overcome the infection.
The recommended dosage is a half milliliter per 22 pounds of body weight, taken twice a day.
Managing kennel cough effectively
Although kennel cough is generally not a severe condition, it can be challenging to treat due to its viral and bacterial nature.
However, with time, it typically resolves positively and rapidly.
If the symptoms worsen or persist, natural remedies can be introduced to alleviate the condition.
By implementing these strategies, you can expect your dog to recover within a few weeks and regain full health.
Frequently Asked Questions
How did my dog get kennel cough?
Most cases of kennel cough are found in dogs that live in crowded, poorly ventilated places where unrenewed air is too hot.
The most suitable places are those of close proximity such as kennels, grooming salons, pet stores, breeding, daycare centers, training courses, agility, exhibitions, etc.
How long does kennel cough last?
The cough lasts on average between 10 to 20 days and can reappear in times of stress.
Full recovery usually occurs within three weeks, but illness may last much longer in an older or immunocompromised dog.
Similarly, a puppy recovers more slowly.
Can humans catch kennel cough?
This respiratory disease is not transmitted to humans.
The involved bacteria (Bordetella bronchiseptica or Pseudonomas aeruginosa) and viruses (Parainfluenza virus and Adenovirus) are specific to certain animal species including dogs, cats, and rabbits.
Although the bacteria are closely related to the Bordetella pertussis family that causes whooping cough in humans, it nevertheless remains non-transferable.