Manuka Honey and Coconut oil (Ginger and garlic can be added) for treating Kennel Cough
The single treatment for tracheobronchitis that conventional veterinarians, holistic vets, and caregivers of every description agree on is honey. Honey soothes the throat, but it does far more than that.
Honey and coconut oil are powerful health-boosters for you and your dog.
They are also inexpensive and easy to find in your local health food store.
As noted in “A Honey of a Cure” (September 2007), all honey has disinfecting properties. One of the most expensive honeys sold in the United States and around the world is manuka honey from New Zealand, where bees harvest nectar from the manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium). Twenty years of research at the University of Waikato show that manuka honey has impressive antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties. While all honeys share these properties, they are especially pronounced in manuka honey.
Most dogs enjoy honey’s sweet taste, so it’s easy to feed from a spoon or, if the honey is thick, you can roll it into a treat-sized ball. Honey can be fed by itself, mixed with powdered herbs for additional benefit, or added to herbal teas that double as cough syrups.
There is no specific recommended dose, as both larger and smaller doses are safe and effective, but for most dogs ½ to 1 teaspoon of honey three or four times per day works well.
In recent years, coconut oil has become a popular supplement for people and pets (see “Crazy about Coconut Oil,” October 2005). Because its medium-chain fatty acids kill harmful bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi, and parasites, its advocates call it an all-purpose infection fighter. As coconut oil expert and book author Bruce Fife, ND, explains, “Taking coconut oil daily is like a daily inoculation. It will help prevent your dog from becoming infected.”
The recommended maintenance dose is 1 teaspoon coconut oil per 10 pounds of body weight per day in divided doses, always starting with smaller amounts and increasing gradually. When your dog has been exposed to tracheobronchitis or any other infection, the dose can be doubled. The only adverse effects of a too-high dose of coconut oil are loose, greasy stools and a temporary feeling of fatigue (thought to result from detoxification). Most dogs adjust easily to a coconut oil regimen, and because they’re usually fond of the taste, coconut oil can be fed from a spoon or added to your dog’s food.
Honey and coconut oil work well together. Combine these two infection fighters for both the treatment and prevention of tracheobronchitis and other contagious diseases.
Herbs for tracheobronchitis
Most natural foods markets and pet supply stores sell herbal products that help coughing dogs.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra or G. uralensis) is a favorite of herbalist Juliette de Bairacli Levy. In her book, The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat, which describes her “Natural Rearing” approach to pet care, Levy recommends making a strong infusion (steeped tea) by combining 1 tablespoon dried licorice root with 2 cups cold water, bringing it to a boil, removing it from heat, and letting it stand until room temperature. Add 1 teaspoon honey to each tablespoon of licorice tea and give 2 tablespoons to the dog before meals. Small dogs and puppies can take less and large dogs more, but precise measurements aren’t necessary. Refrigerate leftover tea for up to five days.
Levy also recommends as cough remedies teas made of sage leaves (Salvia officinalis), blackberry leaves (Rubus spp.), elder blossom (Sambucus nigra), and thyme (Thymus vulgaris). “Sage is the best,” she writes.
Apitherapy Honey Wild Cherry Bark Syrup from Honey Gardens in Vermont, sold in natural foods markets, contains raw honey, apple cider vinegar, wild cherry bark (Prunus virginiana or P. serotina), elecampane root (Inula helenium), propolis (a bee product), rosehips (Rosa spp.), ginger root (Zingiber officinale), licorice root, slippery elm bark (Ulmus fulva), and the essential oils of lemon, peppermint, and eucalyptus.
All of these ingredients are traditionally used to support upper respiratory health and soothe sore throats. The human adult dose is 1 teaspoon every other hour while symptoms persist. Adjust the dose for your dog’s weight, and to make the product more palatable, try mixing it with honey and/or coconut oil or add it to a small amount of interesting food.
Kennel-Koff, an herbal product from Amber Technology, contains infection-fighting olive leaf (Olea Europaea), mustard seed (Brassica spp.), black seed (Nigella sativa), and pau d’arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa).
Described as an antimicrobial that aids upper respiratory infections, Kennel-Koff is given orally four times per day for up to 10 days. The recommended dose for most dogs, based on weight, is 15 drops at a time. According to the manufacturer, this product is designed to stimulate immunity, rid the lungs of congestion, kill viruses and bacteria, soothe digestion, rid the body of free radicals, and protect pets who are exposed to illness.Australian herbalist Robert McDowell’s
favorite treatment for tracheobronchitis is a blend of rosehips, garlic (Allium sativum), fenugreek (Trigonella fornum), marshmallow, elecampane, coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), kelp (Laminaria digitata), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and mullein (Verbascum thapsus), which he makes in a base of apple cider vinegar.“All this sounds like a lot,” he says, “but the old-fashioned way of treating chest and respiratory infections works well. These herbs provide important minerals and vitamin C, and they act as healing tonics, expectorants, and lymphatic supplements. The result is an herbal mix that gets rid of the cough, and by continuing for several weeks after the cough has gone, it builds up the immunity. I recommend that it be kept on hand and given to the whole kennel at any signs of cough showing up, at which time all dogs should be given a short course. One dog recovered quickly when given this blend after six prescriptions for antibiotics failed.”Juliette de Baircli Levy’s
famous Natural Rearing (NR) Herbal Compounds tablets contain garlic, rue (Ruta graveolens), sage, thyme, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), and vegetable charcoal.
Levy recommends giving dogs 3 to 6 tablets daily to help fight and prevent disease. “These tablets maintain health and promote a cure in the sick,” she explains. “Use them daily for prevention, especially before and after your animal is exposed to any public place where other animals have been.”
Holistic health consultant Marina Zacharias recommends Bioprin, a Chinese blend of 21 herbs.“This formula is the best for any type of viral infection,” she says, “as well as helping the overall immune system, and it acts like a natural anti-inflammatory. Combined with the kennel cough nosode (a homeopathic remedy designed to help increase the body’s defense against the infection), Bioprin usually brings quick relief, often within one to three days.
“Most of the people I work with have multiple-dog households, so we give the remedies to everyone preventatively whenever we know there has been exposure or when one of the household members has contracted the infection. The results are great as no one else in the house gets sick.”
Homeopathy can be very effective for treating kennel cough.
Here are some common remedies you might want to consider.
Drosera: This is the primary remedy for kennel cough and should be considered for a dry, hacking cough which may be worse when the dog is laying down.
Bryonia: If the dog’s breathing appears abdominal and the cough is deeper, Bryonia may fit the bill. The dog will appear to be in pain when he coughs and if you hold his rib cage when he is coughing, it may relieve his symptoms and pain. The dog may prefer rest over exercise and motion will aggravate his cough.
Phosphorus: Another remedy for a dry, hacking cough that is worse in cold air. Phosphorus may be indicated if there are small flecks of blood or blood-tinged mucous. These dogs will appear chilly, thirsty and unusually hungry.
Spongia Tosta: This remedy is good for a very dry, barking cough. It may be accompanied by a weak heart. Warm water will generally improve the cough whereas cold water will aggravate it.
Aconite: The key to this remedy is a sudden onset and this remedy is most effective if given when symptoms first appear. If given early, Aconite can prevent the kennel cough entirely. These dogs may appear nervous and fearful and Aconite will help to calm them, especially in the evening hours.
Rumex crispus: This remedy is associated with an abundance of mucous accompanied by a persistent cough that frequently changes characteristics. The symptoms will generally be better in the evening and night and worse in cold air.
Ipecacuanha: Coughing may produce reflexive vomiting. The cough is worse at night and worse with cold air. The vomit or mucous may be blood tinged. Breathing will be laboured and the dog may seem to be wheezing.
Coccus cacti: The cough will be worse at night and breathing is difficult. Coughing fits can last for several minutes, but there may be long periods of relief.
Bromium: Drawing in a breath will be difficult due to an abundance of mucous. There will be a rattling in the chest and the cough will be wheezing and rough.
Carbo vegetabilis: This remedy is very good for dogs who have acute difficulty breathing at night – it will usually give immediate relief. This dog will seek cool, open air. Although the cough is normally worse in the evening, the cough in the morning produces a greenish-yellow mucous. Carbo veg is a valuable remedy for dogs who are weak and cold and often in the later stages of illness.