Skip to content
Previous article
Now Reading:
Kennel cough in dogs - 10 steps for natural treatment and prevention

Kennel cough in dogs - 10 steps for natural treatment and prevention

A complete guide

Especially now, in the COVID era, dog lovers seem to be more concerned about kennel cough, also known as canine tracheobronchitis. The main cause of this disease is the bacteria Bordetella Bronchiseptica that has been found in most dogs with the disease symptoms, however, the canine parainfluenza virus and a few other viruses may also be involved.

Dogs infected with kennel cough usually present with a dry hacking cough and spitting up foamy, frothy saliva like liquid, the result of upper airway inflammation. Dog lovers often come forward with the concern that their dog is choking and clearing their throat.

The disease is usually mild and self-limiting, and rarely leads to complications, which makes it very similar to a common cold in humans.

IS THE KENNEL COUGH VACCINE NECESSARY?

Despite the fact that kennel cough is nothing more than the dog version of a cold, most boarding facilities, daycares, groomers and training centres, request the kennel cough vaccine as one of the conditions of admittance. 

During the early years of my veterinary career, I also used to use the kennel cough vaccine, until I noticed that dogs who were absolutely healthy before receiving the vaccination would come back with full-on kennel cough symptoms after getting the vaccine.

I remember calling the vaccination manufacturer representative to ask if the vaccine was a possible reason for the illness, and was told that this was unlikely, and that these dogs were likely exposed to kennel cough prior to receiving the vaccination.

This was definitely possible, however I didn’t see the same rise in kennel cough numbers in dogs that were not vaccinated. I also knew that most kennel cough vaccines are made from a live modified organism that can, under some conditions, cause tracheobronchitis symptoms.

During my additional research on the topic, I stumbled upon the British Medical Safety Data sheet for the Nobivac KC kennel cough vaccine, that stated clearly that the vaccine can cause eye and nose discharge,  accompanied by sneezing and coughing - the symptoms of kennel cough. It also said that these symptoms may persist for up to four weeks post vaccination, and dogs with more severe signs should be treated with appropriate antibiotic treatment.

In summary, the safety data sheet confirmed what I have clearly seen in practice. The kennel cough vaccine is capable of causing the disease that it should prevent. As a result, I decided to stop giving the kennel cough vaccination in my practice, and created a simple kennel cough checklist for dog lovers and dog-centric businesses that I am sharing below:

PART 1 - WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE A DOG GUARDIAN
  1. Remember that kennel cough is a mild self-limiting disease, therefore it is safe not to vaccinate for it, and avoid potential kennel cough symptoms.
  2. If you use a service that requests a kennel cough vaccine, share this article link with them, and suggest that you are willing to sign a waiver of liability.
  3. Make sure that your dog’s immune system is in top-notch condition, feed a high-quality all-natural raw or cooked diet, and eliminate kibble. Click here for the Healthy Dog Food Recipe Maker.
  4. Prevent dietary deficiencies, and boost the immune system, by giving the Fab4 essential supplements. I give them to my dog Pax to keep him healthy. 
  5. Avoid kibble and processed food, as well as dairy and wheat based products, which compromise the immune system and increase mucus and congestion of the airways.
  6. Choose well-ventilated, clean, and stress free facilities that are not overcrowded and your dog is happy to return to.
  7. If your dog gets kennel cough, rest your dog, but take them out for low-key gentle walks to keep them happy and calm.
  8. To reduce cough symptoms, you can administer homeopathic remedy Spongia 30C or 200C (can also be listed as 30CH and 200CH) 2-3 times daily, until symptoms subside. This is the treatment of choice.
  9. Increase the dose of FeelGood Omega to 3x the recommended daily dose. This will help reduce inflammation and support healing of the upper airways.
  10. If symptoms worsen, or your dog is lethargic, see your veterinarian for further assistance.

Here is a link to an article about a safer approach to your dog’s immunity and vaccination.

PART 2 - WHAT TO DO IF YOU OWN A DOG-CENTRIC BUSINESS
  1. If you are an owner of a boarding, grooming, or daycare facility, I suggest you create a simple waiver of liability for any incidents of infectious disease.
  2. Explain in the waiver that you don’t require the kennel cough vaccination for dogs in your facility, as it may cause the disease symptoms.
  3. If a dog shows symptoms of kennel cough which may happen in a facility that requests the vaccine or in one that doesn’t, practice the same form of disinfection, hygiene, and sick dog isolation as you would with COVID-19. We are all now well versed in this type of hygiene.
  4. Ask every incoming guardian if their dog is experiencing any signs of cough or spitting up clear foamy phlegm.
  5. Ensure your facility is well ventilated, and the air quality is good.
  6. Prevent overcrowding, and strive to create a happy and stress free atmosphere within your facility.

Download and print a copy of this article for your clients to read here.

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

PS:  If you are looking for my general recommendations about vaccinations, click here.

 

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

Most Popular

  • Flying with dogs
    In my article, I share the personal story of how I'm able to fly with my dog, Pax, thanks to overcoming challenges with sleepwalking and night terrors. This unique experience not only allowed me to travel with my service dog but also serves as a reminder that even difficult situations can have positive outcomes.
  • dog and pony
    Successful communication is essential for building healthier and more fulfilling relationships and happier lives. In this article, I'll share with you 8 communication hacks to help you avoid unnecessary drama, prioritize active listening and address conflicts effectively.
  • Dalmatian eating fruit
    Can dogs eat bananas, apples, strawberries and other fruit? What about grapes? Find out what fruits are safe, toxic, and healthy for dogs. Learn about the potential health benefits and risks of feeding fruit to your canine companion, and get tips on the ideal time to feed it.
  • Illustration of the anatomy of a heart
    As dog lovers, we all want our beloved pups to live long and healthy lives. Protecting your dog's heart from potential health issues is important, and in this blog Dr. Dobias shares some key points that you might not yet be aware of, read on to find out what you can do to keep your dog's heart safe. 

Dog Health

  • Husky lying on blanket with heart toy
    Dogs have our hearts and that is why we need to protect their heart. Dog’s as they age often face muscle problems and spinal misalignment and you might be surprised to know how that can hurt their heart. Learn how to protect your dog’s spine and by extension their heart.
  • The secret ingredient for a perfect No. 2
    Dogs and humans have evolved side-by-side but they are still quite different when it comes to their digestive tracts and dietary habits. We have studied their original environments such as the soils of the African savanna and consulted with top experts in the field of probiotics and microbiology to come up with a combination that reflects healthy bacterial flora of canines.
  • Man being pointed at
    Criticism can hurt a brand, but constructive feedback can help it grow. In this blog Dr. Dobias talks about the differences between these approaches, and how to handle the power of influence and opinion with care. 
  • Broccoli with vitamins and minerals
    Are you worried that your and your dog's diet is missing something? Maybe you're worried about toxin levels in food, the environment, or flea and tick products. Let's face it; we can't remove ourselves entirely from our toxin-filled world, but we can do things to reduce our exposure to harmful substances. 

Human health

  • Dr. Dobias with Pax
    How do you navigate the seas of life? How do you deal with disappointment? Whatever life throws at us, we can always rely on our dogs to bring joy into our days. In this blog I share my thoughts on the support our dogs provide during the difficult moments in life. 
  • Why 1 in 4 Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    Learn more about the alarming prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affecting 1 in 4 Americans. Discover its main risk factors, diagnosis methods, and treatment options to better manage or prevent this silent yet severe condition. 
  • A new perspective on brain health, memory loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia in people and dogs
    The Science of DHA and the Brain: Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily DHA, are the unsung heroes of brain health. They play crucial roles in brain physiology and biological activities, with exciting links between Omega-3 levels and cognitive function. Higher DHA levels have been shown to preserve the integrity of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), your brain's security system
  • Dr. Dobias and Pax
    It appears that most of the world is ready for change, but whenever I think about the solutions to any of the problems that plague our world, I can’t prevent myself from thinking that we humans are acting like little toddlers who have broken a toy and do not know how to fix it. Despite my generally optimistic attitude, I have had a hard time staying positive at times because I know how complex this all is. Read here for some tools that make me feel good about the world, which I would like to share with you.

News, stories and good life

  • Dr. Peter Dobias with his dog Pax on his lap
    Do you have trouble staying positive during difficult times? These days we are surrounded by a lot of negative messaging, and it's easy to let that get you down. Here are some of my tips for remaining positive, and don't forget to share your tips with me!
  • Man raising fist on a mountain
    Most of us have been exposed to panic-inducing information about the virus spread, however, I have noticed the general absence of one piece of information, how to make your immune system stronger and body more resilient. (It will definitely not happen by stockpiling toilet paper!) I have always loved immunology and the current situation has prompted me to put together two simple lists on how to increase your dog’s and your own immunity.
  • Man with dog wearing a collar
    Does your dog have ear problems, nasal or oral tumors, reverse sneezing or an  itchy head or hair loss on their head? Learn how you can address some of these problems and save thousands in vet care costs.
  • Terrier eating raw food
    Now there is no need to guess if there is something missing in your dogs diet.  The HairQ Test is a highly accurate test for mineral deficiencies, toxins and heavy metals in dogs to finely tune your dog’s diet and supplement schedule.

Cart

Close

Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping
Close