honey for kennel cough

Honey for Kennel Cough A Natural Remedy for Your Dog’s Respiratory Illness

If you’ve ever planned for your dog to stay at a boarding facility, you may have been asked for proof of kennel cough vaccination. This requirement can make you concerned about the health of your furry friend. Before making any decisions, it’s essential to understand what kennel cough is and whether vaccinating your dog is necessary. Let’s explore the facts about kennel cough to help you make an informed choice for your beloved pet.

What is Kennel Cough in Dogs?

Kennel cough, scientifically known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly transmissible respiratory illness in dogs. It is characterized by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi, the air passages in the respiratory system. Kennel cough is commonly seen in dogs that come into close contact with other dogs, such as in boarding facilities, dog parks, and training centers.

The condition gets its name because it often spreads in environments where dogs are housed together, like kennels. However, dogs can contract kennel cough outside of kennels as well.

How Do Dogs Get Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough in dogs is caused by the canine parainfluenza virus and Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. These pathogens are transmitted through airborne droplets when infected dogs cough or sneeze near other dogs. The germs enter a dog’s respiratory system, causing inflammation and coughing. The infection spreads rapidly through direct contact or proximity to infected dogs, emphasizing the importance of preventive measures in dog-congested environments.

It’s important to note that while these two pathogens are the primary causes of kennel cough, other viruses and bacteria can also contribute to the development of the illness. A dog’s overall health, stress levels, and immune system strength can influence their susceptibility to kennel cough.

Kennel Cough Symptoms in Dogs

Kennel cough in dogs can cause a variety of symptoms. Here are some common signs to watch out for:

  1. Persistent cough: A forceful, dry cough is a hallmark symptom of kennel cough. It may sound like your dog is trying to clear their throat or hack something up.

  2. Retching or gagging: Along with the cough, dogs with kennel cough may exhibit retching or gagging motions as if they are trying to bring something up.

  3. Eye discharge: Some dogs with kennel cough may have watery or mucus-like discharge from their eyes.

  4. Runny nose: A clear or slightly cloudy nasal discharge can occur with kennel cough.

  5. Low fever: Dogs may develop a mild fever, although it is usually not very high.

  6. Loss of appetite: Kennel cough can cause a decreased appetite in dogs. They may show less interest in their food.

  7. Lethargy: Dogs with kennel cough may appear tired, lacking energy, and less active than usual.

It’s important to note that these symptoms can vary in severity, and some dogs may only exhibit a few.

Should My Pet Be Seen by a Veterinarian? Let’s Start!

  1. Have you noticed changes in your pet’s appetite? Yes No
  2. Does your pet have diarrhea or loose stools? Yes No
  3. Have you noticed changes in your pet’s thirst/water consumption? Yes No
  4. Is your pet having accidents in the house? Yes No
  5. Is your pet pacing and unable to settle? Yes No
  6. Is your pet panting more than usual? Yes No
  7. Is your pet whining or vocalizing more than usual? Yes No
  8. Is your pet shaking more than usual? Yes No
  9. Is your pet hiding or avoiding physical contact more than usual? Yes No
  10. Is your pet more lethargic and sleeping more than usual? Yes No
  11. Are you concerned about changes in your pet’s behavior? Yes No
  12. Is your pet scratching their ears? Yes No
  13. Is your pet licking their paws more than usual? Yes No
  14. Does your pet have a rash? Yes No
  15. Is your pet moving more slowly than usual or having a harder time getting up or down? Yes No

How is Kennel Cough Diagnosed?

Kennel cough is diagnosed based on your dog’s symptoms and exposure to other dogs. There isn’t a single test, but if your dog has symptoms and has been around other dogs, it’s likely kennel cough. Swabs may be taken to identify the specific bacteria and viruses. The vet may use radiographs if there are concerns about other conditions. It’s essential to differentiate kennel cough from more severe diseases like canine distemper, which is caused by a different virus and can be very dangerous and contagious.

Kennel Cough Treatment for Dogs

The primary treatment for kennel cough is antibiotics. The veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics based on the specific virus causing the illness. Additionally, anti-inflammatories and cough suppressants may be given to help alleviate your dog’s discomfort during recovery.

Home Remedies for Kennel Cough in Dogs

Apart from medication, some home remedies may help in treating kennel cough. However, it’s essential to consult a vet before trying home remedies. Here are a few remedies you can consider:

  1. Probiotics: Adding probiotics to your dog’s diet can support their immune system during kennel cough recovery and promote overall digestive and oral health.

  2. Honey for kennel cough: Giving your dog a tablespoon of honey twice daily can help ease the nasal discharge associated with kennel cough. Honey has natural antibacterial and soothing properties that can provide relief to your dog’s irritated respiratory tract.

  3. Cinnamon: Cinnamon has antiviral properties that may aid in treating kennel cough. You can sprinkle a small amount of cinnamon on your dog’s food or mix it with honey for added benefits.

It’s important to remember that these home remedies should not replace veterinary care. If your dog’s symptoms worsen or persist, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.


In conclusion, kennel cough is a contagious respiratory illness in dogs caused by viruses and bacteria. While antibiotics are the primary treatment, home remedies like honey for kennel cough can provide relief to your dog’s symptoms. However, it’s important to consult a veterinarian before trying any home remedies to ensure the best care for your furry friend. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for kennel cough, you can make informed decisions to keep your beloved pet healthy and happy.

Note: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as veterinary advice. Always consult with a qualified veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment options for your pet’s specific condition.

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