Kennel Cough Treatment In Puppies

Kennel cough is what many people call tracheobronchitis, an illness that inflames the upper respiratory system. It is quite common since it can be caused by a number of things including viral infections such as canine distemper, canine adenovirus, canine parainfluenza virus, and canine respiratory coronavirus; or bacterial infections such as Bordetella bronchiseptica. Although there are vaccinations for most of these illnesses, puppies can contract them before they are old enough to be vaccinated. It is also quite common for puppies to contract the illness during times of stress, such as when they are transitioning to a new home. Most cases of kennel cough can be easily diagnosed by pressing gently on the dog’s trachea. If the light pressure caused the dog to start coughing, he or she most likely has kennel cough. With proper care, almost all puppies will fully recover from kennel cough.

When to Call the Vet

Because you are dealing with a puppy, it is important to call your vet the minute you suspect he has kennel cough. There are actually several things that can cause kennel cough, most fairly benign but some can be quite severe. Often, the coughing is due to a bacterial infection that should be treated with antibiotics only available through your veterinarian.


If your veterinarian deems the cause of the cough as a bacterial infection, then antibiotics may be prescribed. However, some vets prefer not to prescribe antibiotics unless the cough progresses and becomes pneumonia.

Cough Suppressant

A cough suppressant will almost always either be prescribed or recommended. Amazingly, vets may recommend the owners purchase an over-the-counter cough suppressant that contains dextromethorphan such as Vicks 44D Robitussin DM from their local pharmacy. Make sure the cough suppressant does not have acetaminophen in it. Average dosage is 2 tsp. for dogs 40 pounds and up, 1 tsp. for a 20 pound dog and 1/2 tsp. or less for smaller dogs. However, you should check with your vet for the dosage right for your puppy.

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According to Dr. Deb Baker, homeopathic treatments used for kennel cough vary depending on the the cough. Drosera 9CH is good for a dry, hacking cough. If your puppy has a dry, hoarse cough (sort of like a seal) then you might try Spongia Tosta 6C. Bryonia 30C and Phosphorus 30C are good for more severe dry coughs

Home Remedies

Many things that make humans feel better when they have a cough will also help your dog. This includes vaporizers or humidifiers to increase the humidity in the air. Also, make sure collars are loose enough on your puppy that it is not uncomfortable when he coughs. You should also make sure your puppy drinks lots of water and does not over exert itself. Normal exercise is fine, but the puppy should not get overheated or pant heavily.