This time of year, we often begin seeing signs of Canine Cough often referred to as Kennel Cough. It can be triggered by fall allergies, as well as the canine virus. How can you protect your dog? Several ways!
Canine Cough is a general term used to describe a cough - similar to the common cold, that dogs can get. It is viral or bacterial - which inflames the windpipes and causes a cough. The severity varies and is determined by the pup’s overall immune system. Canine Cough doesn’t reside in a building, a doggie daycare or a kennel - but it can be transferred by dog/dog contact.
So just how is it spread?
Just like in human’s, the virus spreads via the air, a sneeze, a cough, etc. Even walking past a dog that coughs can spread the germs. It’s important to note that environmental irritants can also produce a cough - allergies are a big one - sometimes even dog hair can make a doggie cough. But a cough that isn't nipped in the bud can create further problems for your pup.
Can you guarantee that your pup will never get Canine Cough? No, just like you can’t guarantee that you will never catch a cold. However there are great ways to help build your pup’s immunity so that it can fight off either a virus, bacterial infection or just irritation from allergies:
Frequent daycare: Yup - your pup builds its immunity the more its exposed to other pups!
Healthy Food: Just kibble does not make for a healthy pup - we can provide suggestions for boosters to add to your pup’s food, but we believe strongly in feeding your pup food that uses human ingredients. We also strongly believe in some form of raw added to your pup's diet - freeze dried or from the freezer. If you can't switch your pup entirely to that diet - supplement as it contains veggies, good meats and bone and organ meat --- all necessary for a healthy pup.
Supplements: Immune boosting supplements are great to help them ward off canine cough, and other bugs that your pup could be exposed to.
Vaccine: All our pups are required to have the bordetella vaccine - which protects against some, but not all strains - just like the flu shot.
Does My Pup Need To See A Vet?
Just like with humans, there is an over prescribing of antibiotics for dogs. Its always best to allow your pup to heal naturally, However, if your dog is constantly hacking, has green nasal discharge, lethargic (not just tired from boarding) then its probably good to see a vet. But we would advise you not to let it get to that point. See the tips below to help boost your pup’s immunity the natural way, and soothe its throat if it does begin to cough a bit. Constant hacking will require a vet visit.
Natural ways to boost your pup's immune system and deal with seasonal nasal allergies start with medicinal mushrooms. All of my pups are on them year round - we use Immunity or Super Shrooms for organic and natural ways to boost the immune system and provide a layer of protection beyond vaccines. There are some other natural elements you can add during the spring and fall which will also help: Unpasteurized honey is a natural antibacterial. Our Colorado Hemp Honey has the added benefit of hemp and can be used by you and your pup!
Organic Bone Broth made for dogs is another natural immune booster - and its great for healthy bones and muscles as well. We have several varieties made with all organic ingredients -- essential since bone broth is made from long cooked bones of chicken or beef and the last thing you want is chemicals seeping into the brew! Bone broth is also great to add to kibble because dogs don't get enough moisture in their diets.
Organic coconut oil is also a natural antibacterial and anti viral. CoCo Therapy is the only 12 month, organic coconut allowed to ripen to build up the highest levels of lauric acid -- which is also good for killing yeast and soothing the gut.
KC and Cough, Wheeze and Sneeze. If you use these products at the FIRST sign of a cough, it will stop canine cough in most dogs. I use it with our cockapoo this time of year because fall allergies cause an almost instant cough. Constant coughing will irritate the bronchial tubes which can lead to canine cough or pneumonia - so catch a cough early. While it says you can put the products in water - I find it more effective to administer directly into the mouth.
Finally, you can also add cinnamon to your pup's food as it's a natural anti-viral.
We are not vets, but have seen many effective treatments for pups via natural products and have avoided health issues with the use of good food and good supplements. Always consult a homeopathic or regular vet if you have questions, and don't let a cough go on for more than a day. But the bottom line -- a good defense is the best offense so consider ways to protect your pup before it gets sick.