home remedies for kennel cough

Home Remedies for Kennel Cough

If your dog begins to cough forcefully, like something is stuck in his throat, he may have the kennel cough. These dry, hacking coughs can last all day long, which is often the case with active kennels. It is an uncomfortable situation for your dog, but luckily it’s not a life-threatening condition. You can help your dog with quick home remedies before his condition gets more serious.

home remedies for kennel's cough

You can use herbs and foods you can find easily at home or the nearest market. Also, you don’t have to be a trained vet, as these methods are pretty easy to administer. Therefore, you can try these home remedies before heavier medication or benefit from them to relieve your dog until you take him to the vet. We put together a list of home remedies and other things you can do to help your dog when he has kennel cough.

How Do Dogs Get Kennel Cough?

how do dogs get kennel cough

Viral pathogens, including canine herpes virus, distemper virus, etc., cause the kennel cough, a contagious disease among animals. Your dogs can acquire it directly or indirectly if they interact with infected animals. Dogs sneeze and cough pretty often when they have a respiratory infection. Thus, they can quickly infect their playmates. Pets can also acquire the disease when they contact contaminated objects. For example, they can get kennel cough when playing with the same toy with an infected animal.

Events that gather dogs together increase the chances of contracting such infectious diseases. The infection spreads quickly among dogs at shelters, kennels, dog parks, and other public amenities where animals gather. The virus may even spread faster if a playful puppy also becomes infected. Therefore, if your dog begins to show symptoms of kennel cough, you should isolate them from other dogs.

Your dog may contract the virus even during your visit to the dog training class or doggie daycare. Some dogs are carriers of the virus and may spread the disease without showing symptoms. In such a situation, it’s almost impossible to notice the case or track the sick puppy. Housing your dogs within kennels may be helpful to control the spread or isolate the infected dog if you have more than one furry friend at your house.

Home Remedies for Kennel Cough

home remedies for kennel cough
Photo by deanna alys on Unsplash

We’ve compiled the most effective natural substances you readily have at home to use to treat kennel cough and how to use them:

1. Steam

The best method that helps loosen gunk in your dog’s throat is exposing him to steam. It helps loosen the stuffing in his airways and eases breathing. It is ok to let your dog stay in the bathroom while you take a hot shower and leave him in the bathroom with a bowl of cold water lest the steam temperature rises. You can do this three times a day. Also, you can add a little bit of eucalyptus oil or oregano to the water to increase its effects. 

2. Honey

Honey contains many valuable antioxidants, flavonoids, and enzymes. Manuka honey, especially, can help him feel better fast, thanks to its antiviral properties. However, honey contains a high amount of sugar. Hence, you should carefully set the amounts according to your dog’s size. 

Large and medium dogs require two and one teaspoonfuls of honey per day. On the other hand, puppies only need one teaspoonful daily. If you find the dog dislikes honey, try blending it with his favorite treats.

3. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has antiviral ingredients that are essential for healing kennel cough. Give your dog two teaspoonfuls of coconut oil every day till the cough subsides. You can let him lick it off the spoon, spread it over treats or mix it with his food.

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is yet another antiviral dietary supplement effective in treating kennel cough. You may sprinkle spiced quantities over the dog’s food plate, and the stuff works pretty much like coconut oil. Plus, it adds a nice flavor your dog will like.

5. Yogurt

Like for humans, yogurt is an organic probiotic for animals, and it is effective in killing bacteria. Considering the size and age of the dog, you can give him a tablespoonful or teaspoonful of yogurt. Try this cure consistently for a week to kick out kennel cough from your dog’s body.

However, unlike humans, dogs produce less lactase, and their digestive system doesn’t digest dairy efficiently. Therefore, he may experience stomach upsets and undesirable rumbling inside his bowels after having yogurt. We recommend starting with a small amount and slowly increasing to see how your dog reacts. Feel free to seek advice from a vet whenever you have concerns.

6. Licorice Root 

Licorice contains Glycyrrhizin, which gives it super-sweet flavors in addition to working as an antiulcer and anti-inflammatory substance. People have used it for many years to treat stomach upsets, including peptic ulcers. Thanks to its antiviral capabilities, licorice can also help treat kennel cough.

You can mix a couple of tablespoonfuls of licorice root with fresh drinking water and boil it for five minutes. Afterward,  mix it with a tiny amount of honey. Let it cool for a while, but give it when it’s still warm. You can give licorice tea once daily until the cough fades off.

Tips to Relieve Your Dog With Kennel Cough

tips to relieve your dog with kennel cough

Other than the home remedies that can help you treat the disease, you can do other things to relieve your dog’s distress and speed up the healing process. 

Let Your Dog Rest

One of the best-known but simple remedies for infected dogs is having them sleep. Prepare a separate room where the dog can stay undisturbed and let your dog enjoy plenty of sleep. Resting gives your dog’s body an opportunity and energy to fight the infection. Therefore, it speeds up the recovery.

Use a Humidifier 

Humidifiers increase the moisture in the air. Thereby, providing a humidifier next to your dog’s bed can help reduce the dog’s dry cough and make it easier and more comfortable to breathe for your dog.

Keep Him Hydrated

Like in many other diseases, you should ensure your dog drinks substantial amounts of water when he has kennel cough. Fresh water assists in flushing out toxins, thus getting rid of the virus quickly. Your dog might resist taking water, so try having him lick ice cubes instead. Also, you can add chicken broth as a flavor to his water.

Isolate Him From Irritants

While your dog is recovering, try keeping him far from stuffy surroundings. Smoke is an unpleasant irritant to your ailing canine and can intensify the cough. If you like to smoke, you should do it far from your dog.

Additionally, it’s beneficial to keep your dog in an isolated room during general cleaning or dusting. Standard household detergents are laden with chemicals, and the presence of these substances may worsen the dog’s cough. 

Disinfect the Environment 

You should clean and disinfect the surroundings, beds, toys, and utensils that the infected dog used. This step is crucial if you have other dogs living in your home. Besides protecting other dogs from the infection, it keeps the infected dog from being repeatedly exposed to the virus.

How Much You Should Use Home Remedies

how much you should use home remedies

Even though most of these remedies involve natural substances, food, and herbs that are not harmful, you should always be careful not to overuse them. Dogs have different digestive systems; lactose and sugar may be harmful if used too much. The amount you should use mainly depends on the size and age of your dog. However, here’s a general idea. 

You can use one teaspoon of honey twice a day and one teaspoon of coconut oil twice daily (per every 10lp). You can go up to three tablespoons of yogurt and similar amounts of licorice root tea mixed with water. It’s a good idea to consult with your vet to set the right amounts and the period. The remedy you can use the most is the steam treatment. You can expose your dog to steam three times a day and use a humidifier for half of the day. If none of these remedies seem to work, we recommend taking your dog to the vet for further examination. He may need stronger medication or another disease accompanying kennel cough.


You can do many things to help alleviate kennel cough if your pet is infected. Like many other respiratory ailments, kennel cough can be pretty irritating, but generally, it’s not a dangerous or fatal disease. Hence, it’s possible to treat it with home remedies that involve using common sense, like the one discussed above. 

Typically, a dog’s immune system can resist infections without medication- the same way the human body does to cold flu. Therefore, the home remedies for kennel cough discussed above mainly aim to support and boost your dog’s immune system and require a “wait and see” attitude. Also, these methods require natural substances like honey, yogurt, licorice root, and coconut oil that are harmless for your dog to consume any day.

On the other hand, if these methods don’t work, you should take your dog to see the vet. The vet may choose to treat your dog symptomatically at first. However, if symptoms persist, they may opt to use aggressive treatment, including antibiotics. Although kennel cough doesn’t commonly require aggressive treatments, you may still consult your veterinarian.

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