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How to prevent and treat Kennel Cough

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So your dog has Kennel Cough, what do you do now?

In part 2 of the Kennel Cough series we want to help you prevent and treat your dogs Kennel Cough.

If you read Part 1 of the series – Kennel Cough Explained, you’ll know that while Kennel Cough is not considered a deadly illness it is extremely contagious and uncomfortable for the dog and the owner.

Not only is it extremely contagious, it can also lead to much more severe secondary conditions if not treated properly.

If you haven’t read Kennel Cough Explained Part 1 yet, click HERE to read it before you read on. It will let you know everything you need to know so that you can recognise if your dog has Kennel Cough. It’s all about making you, as a dog mum or dad, extremely aware of one of the worlds most widespread canine illnesses.

If you have read Part 1 of the Kennel Cough Series, then you’re probably wanting to know how you can prevent and treat your fur baby to minimise the effect and length of the undesirable illness.

Prevention above all else

In most cases, whether you’re human or dog, the best way to avoid a severe case of anything is to take precautionary measures to prevent it.

The best treatment for Kennel Cough is to do what you can to build your dog’s immune system and have them the healthiest they can be.

So before it even becomes an issue, set up their defences.

What does this mean?

Look at the food you are feeding your dog.

Is it the best food for them and is it of the highest quality it can be? This doesn’t mean you are forced to feed your dog a particular diet, it just means that it is best to work out what each dog responds better to with their foods.

Do they have more energy on raw feed? Or are they more regular on kibble? Find out what food allows your dog to live their best life and then feed them more of it.

If the food you’re feeding your dog gives them upset tummies, or makes them lethargic or causes them to have an allergic reaction – then they are not going to be in any condition to fight off Kennel Cough.

And you want their immune system to kick in strong. Remember, Kennel Cough is a symptom of both a virus and bacteria – so when it hits your dog, it hits them hard.

The other thing you want to consider is additional dietary supplements that are going to support your dog’s internal health. And by internal we are referring to your dogs gut health, their immune system and anything that is going to address inflammation.

There are amazing products such as Immuboost and Garlic & Fenugreek Powder that really help to create a strong defence against illnesses like Kennel Cough. Then there are also foods, oils and spices that give the immune system and internal health a real boost!

Here are some of the more common ones:

  • Coconut
  • Turmeric
  • Pumpkin
  • Omega 3’s and 6’s

Separation is key

If you know that Kennel Cough is making the rounds or you’re aware that another dog has contracted Kennel Cough, then you need to keep your dog separated.

And the same rule applies if you have 2 dogs living in the same house and one dog has kennel cough and the other doesn’t. Keep them separated and keep the air and house disinfected and clean so that germs don’t cross pollinate and spread.

Kennel Cough as you know is highly contagious – so when in doubt keep your dog away.

Should I vaccinate against Kennel Cough?

Now this one is up to you. I will give you the facts though. While there is a vaccination available, it is proven only to ‘mostly’ be effective and it’s only for a single strain of Kennel Cough. If you haven’t read Part 1 of the series, have a quick read now and you’ll see that Kennel Cough is caused by a combination of a virus and different types of bacteria.

The list of bacteria and viruses, not to mention the endless number of combinations, makes it difficult to have your dog vaccinated against all the different strains of Kennel Cough.

Dr Karen Becker actually advises against it and will only ever administer the vaccine if it is required by a boarding kennel of sorts.

Is the vaccine a guaranteed defence against Kennel Cough – no. Can it help in some circumstances – yes.

When it comes to prevention, food and natural supplements are your strongest defence.

Treatments for Kennel Cough

There are a few types of treatments that can help your dog if they have come down with Kennel Cough.

One, you can take them to the vet and have the illness treated with a course of antibiotics and other medications.

Two, you can make your dog as comfortable as possible at home and allow the illness to run its course on its own.

Some dog owners like to introduce nebulizers and vaporizers with different types of essential oils to help sooth the symptoms of Kennel Cough and speed up the recovery.

Others like to use a humidifier or steam from the shower to help make it easier for your dog to breath. The less your dog coughs the better.

It’s also beneficial to clean and purify the air in the home as well as the furniture and floors your dog is spending time around – this helps speed up the healing process because the germs causing the illness are constantly being eliminated, allowing your dog’s immune system to focus on what it needs to do.

Some wonderful natural products include Odor-Kill and Pet Disinfectant by Neutra Haze both of which are perfect for cleaning surfaces and turning into a spray.

And if your dog is at home recovering from Kennel Cough, be sure to keep them calm and keep them away from any smoke – both of which can aggravate them and cause them to cough more.

And lastly, here is a list of Nine Safe Remedies for Kennel Cough put together by our much loved Dr Karen Becker (for the full article, click HERE):

  1. Nosodes — A nosode is a homeopathic remedy derived from a pathological specimen. Nosodes stimulate the natural immune system to react against specific diseases. Kennel cough nosodes are particularly effective.

    2. Esberitox — This is a fast-acting Echinacea that I have found very effective in reducing the virulence of bordetella infections.

    3. Vitamins C and E — Vitamin C is an antiviral and E provides immune system support.

    4. Oregano oil has antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties.

    5. Astragalus is an herb used in Chinese medicine to enhance the immune system, support lung function and stimulate the regeneration of bronchial cells.

    6. Raw garlic and olive leaf are natural antibacterial and antiviral agents.

    7. Raw honey will ease the discomfort of coughing, and certain herbs will soothe and naturally suppress a cough, among them licorice root and marshmallow.

    8. Essential oils can be used to help a pup with kennel cough breathe easier. Oils of eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Chamomile has a calming effect.

    9. Slippery Elm can help soothe sore and irritated throats.

Has your dog ever experienced Kennel Cough? What remedy or treatment worked best for your dog? We’d love to hear from you! Information shared is a potential life spared. Leave a comment or email us at [email protected].

One of our readers and fellow doggy lovers shared some very important information around specific breeds and Kennel Cough so we are directly quoting her here! If you have something important that you believe needs to be added, please let us know xo.

Helen Ciar Kerr ~ “As a caveat it might be worth mentioning such breeds as the King Charles Spaniel, Dobermann & Great Dane that are predisposed to heart conditions that can cause them to cough which can sound similar to kennel cough. These breeds should always be checked over by a vet preferably those knowledgeable in heart disease for these breeds to check for any fluid in lungs etc.

I tried to advise a friend with a KCS to take to vet but she just thought it was kennel cough – Dog had a heart attack & died shortly after her attempts at putting the dog in bathroom to have it breath in steam for the cough 😯”

Paws of Love,

Sarah (fur mum to Frank) xo

P.S. Are you in the Frank and Jellys ‘Doggy Detectives’ Facebook group? It’s a place where fur mums and dads go to make friends, test doggy products and share stories on best products. PLUS we always share tips and tricks as well as offering advice and sharing experiences when one of our furry friends is not well or not behaving! It’s great fun and it’s absolutely FREE to join! Come join the fun HERE xo.

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