The Doggy Flu

Kennel Cough

Like the colds and flu which afflict us humans on a regular basis, every so often an outbreak of kennel cough occurs and it is very common amongst dogs which have been in kennels or otherwise in close contact such as at dog shows. Its Latin names include canine infectious tracheobronchitis or Bordatella. Dogs of any age can contract it but it is most common in puppies or in dogs with a weakened immune system. It is a very infectious virus and spreads via direct contact or through inhaling air-borne droplets and can be contagious up to ten weeks after the cessation of coughing. Symptoms include sneezing and nasal discharge, coughing and occasionally diminished appetite along with lethargy and reluctance to go on walks. It generally clears up in about three weeks but if it persists then it may require veterinary treatment in order to avoid further complications to the dog’s health and the possibility of your dog infecting other dogs. It is not transmittable to humans but it is sensible to take precautions like keeping the dogs living area well ventilated and making sure that you thoroughly wash his bedding, feed bowls and toys.

Vaccination and remedies available

Luckily there are nowadays fewer instances of kennel cough as there is now a vaccine available. This is usually a nasal spray which is designed to prevent the virus from getting into the dogs respiratory system. Your vet will be able to provide you with this should you need it and it is usually a requirement when you put your dog into boarding kennels.

There are various homeopathic remedies available to treat the symptoms of kennel cough the most popular of which is honey, specifically Manuka honey, which is known for its soothing and antibacterial properties. Most dogs will find the taste of honey palatable and will probably take it directly from a spoon or from the feed bowl. However, because this is a sugar beware of giving more than around ½ to one teaspoon four times a day. If for some reason he won’t take it directly you could mix it in with whatever you know he likes.

Another thing which is increasingly popular for people and pets is coconut oil, which is also believed to have infection-fighting properties. A recommended dose is one teaspoon per 10 pounds in body weight but remember a downside to this may be looser stools!

If you’re in any doubt concerning giving alternative remedies to your dog then it’s always a good idea to get advice from your vet. And remember the one thing always guaranteed to work is TLC.