Kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection in dogs caused by a number of viruses. Although this condition is rarely fatal, it can cause your dog significant discomfort for a few weeks. It’s also highly contagious and easily transmitted to other animals, which is why it is so-named. Fortunately, you can turn to a homeopathic preventative for kennel cough to reduce the risk to your pooch—before and after a kennel stay.
Homeopathic medicines contain highly diluted forms of botanical-based ingredients. An “X” or “C” or “M” indicates the potency, or strength, of the formula, which are the Roman numerals that stand for 10, 100 and 1000, respectively. These designations also represent the dilution factor and the numeral preceding it the number of times the process was repeated. For example, a potency of 3X would translate to a dilution of 1:1000, while 3C indicates 1:1,000,000. Note that single homeopathic remedies available for purchase will contain either “X” or “C,” and both are effective. However, single remedies containing “M” are only available from a certified homeopathic practitioner and not over the counter. Also, some remedies contain a combination of homeopathic dilutions and won’t be labeled with any letter or numeral at all. An example of this kind of formula is KC-Defense.
The goal of using a homeopathic preventative for kennel cough is to enhance immune function so your dog can successfully resist infection if he or she is exposed to the disease. Also, some combination formulas designed for this purpose may contain herbs and tissue salts in addition to homeopathic dilutions. Common examples include echinacea, magnesium phosphate, ferrum phosphate and kalium sulfate. In terms of single homeopathic medicines used to deter kennel cough from taking hold, aconite (6C) and bryonia (6C) head the list. Some formulations may also contain several more ingredients reputed to prevent your dog from getting worse after the on-set of kennel cough infection, if it should occur. These typically include Rumex crispus (30C), Spongia tosta (6C), drosera (30C) and the herb ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolate).
Unlike many types of medications you may have given your dog previously, a homeopathic preventative for kennel cough is best given without food. Instead, place the solution directly into the dog’s mouth. While this may sound intimidating, take comfort in the fact that these medicines are prepared as small granules that instantly dissolve upon contact with saliva. The dosage depends on your dog’s weight but is generally no more than a pinch or two at one time. The frequency of administration is typically about once an hour up to 10 doses on the first day as a preventative measure, then up to three times per day for the next two to three weeks. Ideally, homeopathic remedies for kennel cough work best as a preventative when started one week in advance of a visit to a kennel.
There are no known contraindications associated with homeopathic medicines for kennel cough. In fact, they appear to be safe for young animals and for those that are pregnant or nursing.