Today we will be talking about kennel cough remedies – ones that actually work!

We know remedies can be different for everyone. Some things work better for one than they do for another.

Many kennel cough remedies can be useful. From using a humidifier to aid in breathing and congestion, to a dollop of coconut oil to offer relief to a sore throat – that hacking kennel cough can get very painful!

The following kennel cough remedies are the ones we have found to be the most important and most helpful of the bunch. 

For more kennel cough remedies, check out our other blogs on various kennel cough remedies like these.

What Are Kennel Cough Remedies?

When we think of kennel cough remedies that actually work they don’t just come from the veterinarian, though we always recommend a consultation.

There are many forms in which beneficial kennel cough remedies may come. We often refer to them within one of these categories.

  • Natural kennel cough remedies 
  • Prescription kennel cough remedies
  • At-home kennel cough remedies

Natural Kennel Cough Remedies

Natural kennel cough remedies are unprocessed, earthy, and usually have only a few ingredients.

These types of remedies for dogs with kennel cough can be very beneficial in soothing sore throat, quieting cough, and aiding in your pet’s restful night sleep.

Prescription Kennel Cough Remedies

Veterinarian-prescribed kennel cough remedies are sometimes necessary for treating kennel cough.

Because the Bordetella bacteria is the culprit responsible for many kennel cough cases, it is essential to enlist a vet-recommended antibiotic to kill the bacteria and keep them from reproducing further.

Home Remedies For Kennel Cough

At-home kennel cough remedies may not always be enough to cure your dog of kennel cough completely, but they are crucial. The care a sick dog receives at home can make a world of difference both negatively and positively.

A veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, but it is up to the caretaker to administer them promptly every day around the same time. When it comes down to it, it’s almost all about at-home care.

We have compiled a list of our top kennel cough remedies for dogs based on mounds of research, veterinarian expertise, and dog lovers recommendations.

Vaccination

Vaccination kennel cough
Okay, so vaccination isn’t actually a remedy for kennel cough, in fact, it would be ill-advised to administer the vaccine during a case of kennel cough. However, we would be remiss to leave this off of the list.

Prevention is the name of the game, and vaccination is the best way to prevent the infection from happening in the first place. 

While some of the viral vaccines are part of the core vaccines administered every year, some of the vaccines to aid in fighting against kennel cough are not.

Kennel cough is often caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria or a virus-like canine influenza or adenovirus-2, or both! Optional vaccines are available for the kennel cough bacteria as well as canine influenza and adenovirus-2.

There are bivalent and trivalent vaccines becoming more readily available, which offer a combination injectable vaccine with all three kennel cough culprits.

Because there are so many possible kennel cough offenders, it is tough to make a vaccine that covers every angle. Veterinarians tend to agree that dogs who have the kennel cough vaccine prior to infection had a faster recovery rate on average than dogs who were not vaccinated.

If your dog is at high risk for kennel cough because they frequent places like shelters, dog parks, or boarding facilities, it will be worth your extra time and money spent at the annual office visit.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics
Antibiotics are the most prescribed remedy to combat kennel cough in dogs and puppies. There are a few antibiotics to choose from depending on your dog’s needs, prior health history, age and current allergies.

Most kennel cough antibiotics come in tablet form and are often available in liquid form as well. It may not be the easiest kennel cough remedy to administer, but it’s the most effective in curing a true kennel cough.

The most commonly prescribed antibiotics these days are:

  1. Doxycycline
  2. Baytril or Enrofloxacin
  3. Clavamox (amoxicillin & clavulanic acid)

Doxycycline

Doxycycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is a commonly used kennel cough remedy for both dogs and cats. Doxycycline is available in tablet, capsule and liquid form.

If you are giving your pup or cat a tablet, provide them with food and water with or after administering. Never give a pet a dry tablet!

Side effects of doxycycline:

  • Sensitivity to sun
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lack of appetite

Enrofloxacin or Baytril

Enrofloxacin or Baytril (the brand name) is an antibiotic frequently used as a kennel cough remedy for dogs. Baytril is available in tablet form and works best on an empty stomach; however, if your dog experiences nausea or vomiting, go ahead and try giving it with food.

Side effects of enrofloxacin

  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea

Baytril isnot a kennel cough remedy for puppies for it can cause abnormalities in the cartilage of the joints in growing dogs.

Clavamox (Amoxicillin & Clavulanic Acid)

Clavamox is another popular antibiotic for treating kennel cough in dogs and cats. Clavamox is a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, hence the name, Clavamox. 

Clavamox comes in tablet form but may be available in liquid form in some instances. Clavamox tablets should be taken with food to avoid nausea.

Side effects of Clavamox

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Things to remember when administering antibiotics

  • Never give a dry tablet! Allow the dog water and food, with or following a dose of antibiotic in tablet form.
  • Most antibiotics are deemed ineffective if they are paired with iron-rich foods or dairy. Be aware of what you are feeding your pup. I know they may want to share all the delicious foods while they are feeling under the weather, but dairy and iron will keep their recovery at a standstill.
  • Don’t ever give your dog two doses of antibiotics at one time. If you missed a dose, don’t stress too much. Give your dog the next dose as soon as you’re able. If you have missed two doses in a row, call your vet. They may have you pick up a new prescription and start over.
  • Don’t crush tablets. This can lessen the effectiveness.
  • There are several possible interactions that an antibiotic can have with various drugs and vitamins. Be aware of any other medication (prescription or otherwise) that your dog is on and discuss with your vet. You can also check out our blog on antibiotics here.
  • If it is a virus that is causing your dog’s kennel cough, the antibiotics will not be effective in treating the symptoms.

Kennel Cough Symptoms and Remedies Guide

Desired resultNatural Home Remedies
Kills bacteria and halts reproduction
  • Antibiotics
To relieve sore throat and swelling
  • Honey/lemon hot water
  • Coconut oil
  • Steam therapy
  • Cough medicine
Clear congestion & break up phlegm
  • Steam therapy
  • Humidifier
  • Antibiotics
  • Honey/lemon hot water
Suppress cough
  • Honey/lemon/hot water
  • Cough medicine
  • Coconut oil
To speed up recovery and support immune system
  • Honey/lemon/hot water
  • Isolation
  • Rest
  • Hydration

Cough Medicine

Dog cough remedy
Cough medicine may seem like a very obvious kennel cough remedy, and it is! We’re not talking about the most unique kennel cough remedies for your dog; we’re talking about things that actually work!

There are many kennel cough remedies and dog cough medicines available, on the internet, as well as at your local pet store. Beware of processed ingredients and excess sugars. We know you’re a smart cookie so read that label like you would for yourself. If there are things like dextrose or corn syrup, think twice.

Dextromethorphan

One of the most trusted and purchased ingredients in a successful cough suppressant is dextromethorphan. It is found in familiar products like Robitussin DM cough syrup.

Believe it or not, Robitussin DM is commonly used and recommended by veterinarians but requires close attention to dosing requirements and at least a phone consult with your trusted family vet.

Just because the product is available without a prescription, doesn’t allow for carelessness when it comes to dosage instructions or frequency of doses.

Possible side effects of dextromethorphan include:

  • Mild sedation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

It would be best if you did not administer dextromethorphan to dogs who are:

  • Pregnant or nursing
  • Suffering from heart disease

Honey, Lemon & Hot Water

Honey remedy for kennel cough
It may sound too simple to be effective, but the honey, lemon and hot water mix is one of our favourite kennel cough remedies for dogs. Honey has a ton of wonderful benefits available to humans, dogs and our environment in general.

High-quality honey, from sustainable honey farms, is full of antioxidants and has incredible antibacterial properties. Studies have even attested to medical-grade honey fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Now that’s a powerful natural remedy!

Honey, lemon and hot water is not only yummy, but it soothes the throat and helps to kill bacteria. In this video, a loving puppy parent talks through the steps to make this healing doggy tea. Here’s the recipe for this potent natural remedy for kennel cough in dogs and puppies.

Ingredients for kennel cough tea:

  • One cup of hot water
  • One tablespoon of high quality, sustainable honey
  • One teaspoon of lemon juice

Mix the ingredients together, wait for the water to come to a warm but not hot temperature. You don’t want to burn the pup’s mouth. Since these are all human-grade ingredients, you can always test it first. This kennel cough remedy for puppies is similar to making a chamomile tea with honey for your human cold.

Steam Therapy

Steam Therapy
Again, this may seem too simple to remedy kennel cough in dogs, but it is at the top of many lists for just that!

As a sinus infection or a winter cold can cause congestion in humans, kennel cough can do the same for dogs. Along with the most common kennel cough symptom, the persistent, hacking, cough, infectious tracheobronchitis brings:

  • Nasal secretions
  • Runny eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue

Four of five of those symptoms may benefit from steam therapy.

As you may take a hot shower or use a vaporizer to relieve congestion, the same can be done for your dog. Well, they don’t want to take a shower, but you can make your very own sauna in your bathroom, here’s how.
  1. Set the shower on hot.
  2. Allow the bathroom to steam up so that the air is thick with warm water vapour.
  3. Set up a blanket or towel for your canine BFF to use as a bed and a bowl of drinking water.
  4. Hang out in the bathroom with your dog for a while. About 30 minutes should suffice.

Please pay attention to your dog’s breathing and of course, alter the time in the steamy bathroom according to their reaction.

Isolation

Dog Isolating
While isolation may not be a blatant remedy for kennel cough, it is necessary and crucial for the health of your dog and every other animal within spitting distance. Remember, cats can get kennel cough too, as well as many other mammals.

It’s true, your cat is much less likely to acquire kennel cough than your dog, but the stakes are much higher with an infected dog in the same house as your cat.

We understand, there is no fun part about kennel cough and isolation is no exception. Still, if you have other animals or severely immunocompromised humans in the household, please know that isolation is a pressing matter that should not be taken lightly.

How To Make An Isolation Room For Kennel Cough

None of us wants to lock our pup in a room and watch those big sad eyes as we close the door. So make their healing haven as comfortable and sanitary as possible.

Here are a few ideas to make your doggy’s “feel better fort”:

  • Pick a room in the house that will not be used for the next couple of weeks. If you live in a one-bedroom apartment, you may need to use your room and make your dog a cosy corner.
  • Fill the space with freshly cleaned, warm blankets, and their favourite bed if possible.
  • Please give them the choice of nutritious foods and endless amounts of water in freshly cleaned bowls.
  • Sanitize their favourite toys before allowing them to have them to chew on and play with freely. Rubber and silicone toys can be cleaned with diluted 5% vinegar and warm water solution and rinsed thoroughly.
  • Visit your pup often. As long as you’re not severely immunoci=ompromised, hanging with kennel coughing dog is okay. The other animals are more at risk than you are.

Kennel cough lasts for about two weeks. You may notice that their voice is still a little raspy or a cough here and there even after the infection has cleared.

Typically, if symptoms are alleviated and 10-14 days have passed, the dog may intermingle with the family freely again. 

Do:Don’t:
Keep food & water bowls cleanWalk your dog with a collar – use a harness
Allow your dog to drink as much as they want. Staying hydrated is very important.Smoke around your dog, this will irritate their already raspy throat.
Isolate your dog from other animals and severely immunocompromised humans.Give a dry tablet. Offer plenty of water wrap in something yummy if necessary or helpful
Serve a healthy and nutrient-rich dietAllow overexertion or over-exercising

Conclusion

As we spoke of earlier, the best way to keep kennel cough at bay is to be proactive and vaccinate. Yes, your dog can still catch kennel cough from a boarding buddy, but in most cases, the symptoms will be much less severe.

Though the Bordetella vaccine is optional, it may be necessary for your dog depending on your dog’s social life and circumstances.

Kennel cough is relatively common in dogs, particularly those that consistently socialize with other dogs often. If your dog happens to have an encounter with the bordetella bacteria, don’t beat yourself up, it could happen to anyone.

It’s what happens next that matters. Take the measures necessary to aid in your fur child’s recovery from kennel cough by using helpful advice like this blog, and of course, your family veterinarian.