It's pre-holiday season which, in the dog world, means it's KENNEL COUGH SEASON! I can't tell you how many clients and followers I have that have asked about kennel cough, in the last two weeks, or are currently freaking out because their dog sounds like a 75 year old smoker from Detroit (I don't know why Detroit, it just seemed fitting for the visual).
And I get it- it's unnerving but, trust me when I tell you, 9 times out of 10, it's something we can deal with quickly and painlessly at home. And not, as many would have you believe, with vaccines or anti-biotics that are costly towards your dog's health long term and your personal finances.
Alright, so, lemme break it down for you. Kennel cough is basically *drum roll please* A COLD- it's annoying and doesn't feel great but it's not dangerous or cause for any kind of immediate concern. In order for it to get better, though, we just need to make some slight lifestyle changes, but we definitely don't need to rush to the vet. This is one of those situations where we can take a week or so to implement a healing protocol and if that doesn't work, or symptoms get worse, then you can reevaluate and make an appointment to check if there's anything more sinister going on.
But for the most part, these easy changes can heal your pup right up without having to introduce expensive chemicals that harm your dog's good gut bacteria, microbiome and overall immunity (which seems counter intuitive if we're trying to HEAL our dogs). So, here's how we kick kennel cough to the curb without any long-term repercussions.
Let's start with environment:
- Turn a humidifier on in the room where your dog sleeps
- Prioritize rest (forgo dog parks for gentle strolls, dry your dog off well if the weather is cold and damp, be mindful of loud phone calls/tv shows/music)
- Tone it down on the fragrances (air fresheners, candles/incense, personal perfume, detergent etc)
- Avoid using prong collars and be mindful of yanking around the neck
- Partake in gentle massage in the evenings
Food + supplements:
- Feed quality bone broth in lieu of a meal here and there in order to help your dog's system rest while giving them something warm, nourishing and soothing on their throat **bonus if you include fresh ginger
- Ensure your pup is getting a good probiotic to keep their gut healthy and immune system strong
- Include cordyceps to help support immunity and the respiratory system
Special sauce recipe:
- 1 tsp unrefined coconut oil
- 1-2 drops of pure oil of oregano
- 1 tsp raw or manuka honey
*feed this twice a day for one week
Implement as many of these things as possible (the special sauce being one of the most important) and you will see your dog begin to heal. If, again, for some reason their symptoms persist and/or worsen, give your vet a call.
Also, understand that healing is not a one size fits all approach and every dog is different. For example, if your dog is diabetic or on keto, you may not be able to feed the sauce with honey, or if your pup is already energetically hot avoid adding the ginger (a warming root) to the broth etc. You know your dog best so make choices accordingly and good luck! You got this.