Natural Remedies to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs

| Modified on Apr 17, 2021
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Any dog owner whose pet has become infected with kennel cough (or Bordetella bronchiseptica) knows what a struggle it can be to treat the problem once the virus has set in.' It is likely that your pet has contracted kennel cough if he or she was recently boarded in a kennel or has been in contact with another dog harboring the virus.'

Kennel cough is an air-borne virus, which can be carried in aerosol droplets from the discharge of an infected animal's sneeze or cough or via direct contact with another animal.

Natural remedies like hydrogen peroxide can often work quickly to alleviate symptoms of kennel cough.

Kennel Cough Symptoms

Kennel cough can produce a number of symptoms including a dry, hacking cough, gagging responses, sneezing, and when the virus progresses can result in fever, nasal discharge and the coughing up of mucus.

Without treatment, kennel cough can escalate into a very serious infection or even pneumonia. If your dog does not improve in a day or two, you should bring him/her to the vet for a proper diagnosis and care.

Natural Remedies for Kennel Cough

Effectively handling kennel cough is much easier when treatment is administered soon after the initial development of symptoms.  There are several well-known and very efficient homeopathic treatments for the problem.

Homeopathy

In the beginning stages, if your dog is suffering from a dry and retching cough use a treatment of Drosera.

If the cough has progressed into a more rattling or phlegmy-sounding cough, try using Dulcamara.

For a serious cough, which is producing mucus, use Coccus.  All three remedies are great for battling cough symptoms.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the fastest-acting natural remedies to alleviate kennel cough, according to Earth Clinic readers.

The most popular recipe is to put 3 drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide on a piece of bread and feed to your dog once or twice a day until symptoms are fully gone.

Another treatment is to put drops of 3% peroxide in your dog's water dish. Peroxide and water must be replaced every 6 hours because H202 loses its effectiveness after a few hours.

Continue reading for tips from Earth Clinic readers and let us know what worked for your dog!


Bee Propolis

1 User Review
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Posted by Maggie (Idaho) on 12/03/2019 34 posts
5 out of 5 stars

Bee propolis extract / honey paste cured my little dog of what seemed to be a terrible cold with hacking cough, blocked up nose and gagging. She didn't want to eat and kept getting worse and worse. I tried a lot of home remedies but nothing seemed to work. I finally tried the bee propolis / honey paste and within 2 hours she was a lot better. Gave her another dose and after another couple of hours she was running and wanting to eat and had stopped coughing and could breathe easily. I couldn't believe it worked so fast. Every now and then she'd cough so I continued to give her the mixture a few more times and she's well now. What I gave her was between 1/8 -1/4 teaspoon of the bee propolis / honey paste mixed with some water that had been mixed with some canned food that I knew she liked. I strained the water / dog food mixture so I could mix it with the propolis paste and use a syringe without the needle to give it to her. The water with the canned dog food has to be strained or else the syringe will clog up. She was so sick and not wanting to eat that I had to use the syringe to get it in her because I knew she wouldn't take it on her own. After she started feeling better, I just put the propolis in her food and she ate it, didn't have to use the syringe. I was so surprised to see her feel better after only 2 hours after taking the propolis. Now I keep a jar on hand at all times.


Colloidal Silver

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
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Posted by Suseeq (Sydney) on 08/21/2016
5 out of 5 stars

For a kennel cough, dosage is 10 mls 3x a day for 3 days then 2 xd ay until cough is gone.


Colloidal Silver and Hydrogen Peroxide

1 User Review
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Posted by Ria (Washington, Dc) on 06/19/2016
5 out of 5 stars

I have male rescue pit bull (about 5 years old) about 60 pounds, that came to me from a shelter. At the time I was fostering another pit bull.

The rescue had a terrible cough when he came to me and promptly spread it to the other dog. I used colloidal silver ( a couple of capfuls) in each of their full water bowls along with about a teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide. It cleared up within a month as I recall. I've had him a couple of years now and no recurrence. The foster has been returned to his owner and she has not had any further problems either.


Diagnosing Kennel Cough

1 User Review
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Posted by Theresa (Mpls., Mn) on 02/01/2014
5 out of 5 stars

There are myriad reasons for a dog to have a cough; older dogs can cough from tracheal collapse; dogs infected with heart worm will cough; puppies seem to pick up 'kennel cough' just by visiting the dog park. A sure fire way for a vet to test for KC is to press on the throat in a certain area - the dog will cough it if has KC [sorry I can't explain in fuller detail]. I did have one of mine catch KC and it sounded as if she had a bone stuck in her throat and was trying a deep cough to bring it up.

Kennel cough is a virus with a billion gazillion strains: like the human flu, you can give your pet the KC vaccine but if the strain of virus your dog is exposed to is not covered in the vaccine, then your dog is at risk of catching that strain of KC.

Vet's often prescribe antibiotics for KC *just in case* your dog develops bacterial complications. I try to avoid unnecessary antibiotics but would consider dosing 3-5-7 days if it did appear that my dog developed a secondary bacterial infection due to the stress of fighting off the virus.

If you are certain you are dealing with KC, I have used homeopathic children's cough remedy available from the natural health store do the trick. That and nutritional support with vitamin C or Echinacea boosted with vitamin C was all that was needed.


Drossera 30C

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
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Posted by Om (Hope Bc Canada) on 12/26/2013
5 out of 5 stars

The remedy for kennel cough is DROSSERA 30C. Research online. Om

Replied by Vee B.
(Az)
08/16/2017

Can you give me recommended dosage of Drosera for an 8lb dog? I have 30c pellets. I've looked online and can't seem to find a dosage guide for a small dog.

Thanks!

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)
08/17/2017

Hey Vee,

You tip 4-6 of the white pills into an envelope, and then crush the pills into a powder and then tip the powder into your dog's mouth and hold shut for a few moments to allow the powder to dissolve. Do not touch with your fingers.


Garlic

4 User Reviews
5 star (4) 
  100%


Posted by Dana (Spartanburg, Sc) on 09/25/2010
5 out of 5 stars

I took my St Bernard to the Humane Society to be fixed, when she came, she brought Kennel Cough home with her. Knowing that the rest of my dogs could catch it, I immediately started them all on garlic. I used fresh garlic (about 4 big cloves), some broth, bolied carrot and put it all in a blender. Poured it over their food and they ate it right up. After 2 days of doing this my St's cough was pretty much completly gone. I did this for a week and by the end of the week, she was as good as new. I also put a capful of hydrogen peroxide in their water bowl each time I had to fill it. Hope this helps someone.


Garlic
Posted by Tucson_arizona (Tucson, Arizona, U.s.a.) on 05/16/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Kennal Cough & Garlic Yay

We have a 3 month old mixed breed puppy. I noticed about a week ago he started having a kind of hacking cough.
So that first day I hear it, I gave him a garlic pill. I am giving him 1 500 mg orderless tablet a day. I have used garlic pills in the past, and recommend getting only odorless, other wise the non-oderless have a nasty way of "coming back at ya" if you know what I mean lol.

I also started putting a chewable vitamin C pill on top of his dog food, and he is eating that!

Ever since I start giving him(Magnum) the Garlic,he stopped hacking almost immediately!

Replied by Joanne
(Las Vegas, Nv)
08/31/2011

I cannot believe how many people are suggesting to feed and feeding their pets garlic! Garlic is considered to be toxic to dogs in anything more than trace amounts (such as the little bit added into dog food) anything more, such as whole garlic cloves as some people on here are suggesting can cause red blood cell damage in dogs just like onions. PLEASE do not feed your dogs whole cloves of garlic. If your dog is sick, take them to the vet! Alternative remedies can be great, but dogs are not people, their systems are different and they cannot handle all of the foods that we can.

Replied by Stellasmommy
(Seattle, Pnw)
09/04/2011

Garlic, just like many other foods said to be toxic to dogs is really only toxic if your dog has an actual allergy to it. I have had dogs eat chocolate and not even so much as fart afterwards let alone die from it. I've had a dog eat onion and survive with nothing more then me calling her vet to ask what I should do. I think it's more risky if for example you have a smaller dog who's body can't process things like a larger dog can. The dogs that I'm speaking of all weighed over 65lbs. I'm not saying go ahead and give huge doses of whatever you want to your animal, but if you're going to try a natural remedy be prepared for what COULD happen and let your vet know what you are going to be trying.

Replied by Debbie
(Dallas, Tx)
07/04/2012

A 2003 study on Grape and Raisin Toxicity in Dogs, published in the Australian Veterinary Journal clearly states that certain grapes, onions, garlic, cloves and other derivatives can be harmful for pets. Most people do not understand the difference between human food and dog food.

Garlic can have severe long term effects such as hormonal changes, diarrhea, anemia, tachycardia [irregular heart beat], liver damage and allergic reactions. Would you risk that ?????

I have tried using this medicine on my dogs ( a lab and a pug ) both of them recovered well without any problems.

Replied by Jay
(Ohio)
02/04/2017

This has been found to be untrue. This statement came from a single study done in japan on four dogs. Think again.

Replied by Eve
(Ny)
10/16/2017
5 out of 5 stars

My dad gave our dogs a garlic pill per day to keep fleas and mosquitos away. He did this for 13 and 16 yrs...that's how long our dogs lived.

Never had any illnesses.

Replied by Gemma
(Pacnw)
12/26/2017
5 out of 5 stars

Our VET suggested garlic in low doses, as other vets we have seen through the years. High doses are toxic, just like high doses of other meds. But our vet suggested garlic for the dogs and he is not a holistic vet.


Garlic, Echinacea

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
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Posted by Ellen (Fort Bragg, Ca) on 09/05/2009
5 out of 5 stars

All 6 dogs on the 2 properties got kennel cough (dog colds) at the same time. The 3 next door got "a deal" from the vet because of 3 at once and were only charged $65.00. The 2 on my side I treated with a clove of garlice (put down their throat with a finger) and a 1/2 dropperful of Echinacea for 3 days and then just the garlic for another 7 days. All doctors have you take your meds for 10 days so as not to grow a superbug. Use garlic as an antibiotic/antiviral and treat it as such. It works. And tea tree oil is the best infection fighter for anyone, anything I've put it on. Real easy to apply in an open animal would with a dropper. Ellen A.

Replied by Ninemmruger
(Thorn Hill, Tn)
01/08/2011

I have garlic in cloves and minced (I think) and in powder. The Echinacea I have in cap form how would u give this to a 10-15 pd dog 4 kennel cough?


Herbal Tea for Calves

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Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 02/24/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Hello!

We had two calves that came to the farm rather sickly. They developed a cough and runny nose. They sounded awful! I made them a bucket of herbal tea each day.

Here is the recipe:

Bring 5 quarts of water to boil. Remove from heat.

Add 1/4 cup each of dried leaves of the following:

  • hyssop
  • comfrey
  • mullein

Cover. Let steep (with no extra heat) for 2 hours. Strain out the leaves. Stir in 1/2-3/4 cups of blackstrap molasses. When the tea is warm (a comfortable drinking temperature) but not hot, feed to calves. My calves loved it, in fact, they fought over it.

Here is a video of it:

Calves Fighting over Herbal Tea

The calves "shared" one bucket of tea each day. I did this for about 2 weeks. The best part is that the cough and runny nose did clear up! And the calves and I became friends. :)

~Mama to Many~

EC:  

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)
02/25/2015

Hey MTM!

The remedy makes so much sense, and the video is AWESOME!

Thanks for sharing!!!

Replied by Mama To Many
(Tennessee)
02/25/2015

Dear Theresa,

Thank you for being so encouraging!

It is always a pleasure to see your positive, caring, and helpful posts for people needing help with their animals. I know that so many have been blessed in many ways by your posts! Thanks for all you do!

~Mama to Many~


Homeopathic Remedies

Posted by Bill Munro (Michigan) on 11/20/2008

What potency of drosera or dulcamera is recommended for dog with kennel cough?

Replied by Evonne
(Goshen, Ohio)
04/10/2017

I'd use a 6x or 6c for pets or children. Don't be afraid of using the 12x or 12c if that's all you can find. Be sure to read up on how to use the remedies. You don't dose if they are responding. Seems counterintuitive compared to modern medicine.

Replied by Monica
(Anmore, Bc)
10/23/2018

My Drocera label says Boiron Drocera 30ch on the dispenser & 4 g so how much would I give for a 10 lb dog please anyone? I also believe her cough is a result of the meds (Florinef) she must take for her Addison's disease, which I believe is a result of the rabies shot. No more vaccines for me, a very hard lesson learned. :(

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)
10/23/2018

Hey Monica!

You can follow the directions on the Boiron bottle for dosage.

I do have a concern when I read your post: dogs can cough for many reasons and coughing is not a reported side effect for Flourinef. Coughing is a sign of a collapsed trachea, common for some breeds of small dogs, and it is also a sign of congestive heart failure. You might consider taking your dog to the vet for further diagnosis if the homeopathic remedy provides no relief.


Honey

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
  100%


Posted by Rhinebeckdude (Rhinebeck, Ny) on 02/24/2013
5 out of 5 stars

My new adopted German Shorthair came down with what looked like kennel cough a day after coming with me. It went from initial sneezing to cough, to coughing up flem every 15 mins... He never threw up his food, just the junk sitting in his throat.

I started treating him with 1 teaspoon of honey and when he coughed I gently patted his chest to try and loosen some of the junk... It also gave the young dog some comfort to be held while coughing. Results were seen in 4-8 hrs. Now, he just has sniffles and occasional dry cough, which I will retreat with honey/lemon mix. Seems like it works.


Honey and Lemon

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 
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Posted by Carole H. (Surrey, UK) on 04/22/2015
5 out of 5 stars

My dog who is 14 years old started to cough and sneeze and had a runny nose. It started after I had taken him to the local park. I looked on an internet site and the symptoms he had sounded like hayfever. He did have the same problem the same time last year. I have been giving him some honey and lemon cough mixture without any additives and this week he is much improved glad to say the cough has gotten less and the other symptoms have nearly gone. I never knew dogs could get hayfever but it seems they can.


Honey and Lemon
Posted by Faething (Appleton, Wi) on 12/26/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Honey & Lemon for Kennel Cough

My poor dog was miserable with a hacking dry cough that made him gag! I called my local pharmacist about the remedies that I found on this site, and she said that I could safely treat my 80 lbs golden retriever with a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of lemon juice with LOTS of water. I heated up some water, added the honey and lemon juice (a crushed up dog treat too because he wouldn't drink it at first), and within 30 seconds, no more cough! The pharm says to repeat every 4 hours. This will get us through the holiday weekend, and if he's still got the cough on Monday, we can take him to the vet then. The pharm also added that if the cough persists at night, we can get Robitussin DM, but that I'd need to get exact dosage online. Thanks to everyone that commented on this page!!

Reading everyone else's input first helped a lot.

Replied by Sheana
(Ewa Beach, Hawaii, Usa)
06/22/2010

How do you get the right dosage for the use of Robitusson DM? Please get back to me at your earliest convenience....thank you :)

Replied by Annette 805
(Lompoc, Ca)
05/29/2011
5 out of 5 stars

I adopted a 9 mo. old pug/beagle mix from the Animal Shelter and he had Kennel Cough, $200 in vet bills later and 2 different types of antibiotics the cough was still there (gagging and hacking). I then did further research and found this site and I want to THANK YOU for the Honey and Lemon suggestion.

Shortly after I gave him the water/honey/lemon/hydrogen peroxide mixture the cough was gone and he was able to be the playful puppy that he always wanted to be since we brought him home :-) I also have a 3 year old pug/chihuhua and she is drinking the water too, I am thankful that since the week has passed when we brought him home she never showed signs of being sick or catching Kennel Cough but the water is preventing her from getting sick. I am going to continue this treatment for a few days to be sure it is gone. Please note that I am still giving him the remainder of the antibiotics too. Again from my family to yours THANK YOU!

Replied by Bruce Lee
(Houston, Texas, United States)
10/03/2011

Hi, I have 3 yorkie puppies that are 10 wks old that have kennel cough. They show symptoms just like what is being described on here. Last week I googled and found this site as I have given up on the vet's antibiotic which do nothing for them. After browsing through this site, I found this forum and started to do the water/ honey/ hydrogen peroxide/ lemon thing..... End result, it didn't work... :(:( my pups are still hacking away. Maybe I'm doing something wrong or wrong mixture? I put 1 teaspoon of honey, 3 drops of hydrogen peroxide 3%, 1 cup of water/ lemon. I just leave it for them to drink. OR should I have force feed it to them?? Need help really bad... Thank you

Replied by Lcmrockets
(Austin, Tx)
10/10/2011
5 out of 5 stars

2 of my dogs had kennel cough. I went to my health store and got vitamin c made from rose hips, it's more bioavailable that way and gave like half the therapeutic human dose. I think it was 600 mg for a 50lb dog. Anyways, it worked very quickly in a couple of days he was much better try it, I hope it helps!!

Replied by Cindy
(Lewiston, Maine)
10/20/2011

To Bruce Lee-

The 3% Hydrogen Peroxide in the brown bottles cannot be consumed. The brown bottle peroxides contain a stabilizer, you have to use a food grade hydrogen peroxide. These can be found at whole food markets or natural food stores and they have to be diluted with purified water based on certain calculations. Read the bottle directions carefully, this is very strong and can cause severe harm if not used properly.

Replied by Daniela
(West Chester, Pa)
01/04/2012

I am fostering a 4 weeks old puppy. She started coughing. Cam I give her lemon juice and honey ? How much?

Replied by Dropsofpluto
(Lachute, Quebec)
07/26/2014

My dog has what seems to be a kennel cough. I am making him some fruit snacks and juices high in vitamin c. I decided to try the lemon and honey mixture but he won't drink it when I tell him. Am I supposed to just leave it in his bowl for him to drink?

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)
07/29/2014

Hey Dropsofpluto!

Ideally you would dose your pet via a syringe or dropper by tipping his head back and inserting the syringe in the pocket of his cheek at the back of his mouth and then depressing the plunger slowly to allow him to swallow.


Honey, Hydrogen Peroxide, Lemon Juice

6 User Reviews
5 star (5) 
  83%
4 star (1) 
  17%


Posted by Aims (Kelowna, British Columbia) on 11/07/2014
5 out of 5 stars

I have used honey lemon and Peroxide mixture and it worked so good for my 13 1/2 year old Retriever. I was just wondering how long I can continue using Peroxide on her for since I have seen a huge improvement since using it.


Honey, Hydrogen Peroxide, Lemon Juice
Posted by Dogwood (Thousand Oaks, Ca) on 05/13/2014
5 out of 5 stars

Recently rescued a mastiff mix from a shelter - a week later she started a bad cough with discharge from her eyes and nose. Used this HP/honey/lemon recipe (3 drops Food Grade 3% HP, tsp organic honey, small squeeze fresh lemon) administered every 4 hours - she stopped coughing within 20 min, discharge cleared up in a day. However, the rest of the dogs started coughing - administered it to them with a turkey baster two times and they stopped coughing within minutes - all but one stopped coughing/sneezing entirely after the 2nd dose. (I'll post separately my continued problems with remaining dog.) The properties of this particular recipe appears to be quite effective.



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