Dog owners in London are being warned of an increase in kennel cough cases.
The increase in cases was reported by the Blue Cross and was reported by leading veterinarian Dr. David Pogmore described as an “epidemic”.
Kennel cough, also known as infectious respiratory disease (CIRD), is an infectious disease in dogs that can be transmitted through sneezing, coughing, and contaminated toys.
It can lead to life-threatening complications like pneumonia. Most dogs will only experience it mildly, however, and should recover in about three to four weeks.
TeamDogs spoke to pet experts to provide you with a list of the most common symptoms – and answers on how to get your dog back to health.
Contact your veterinarian
If you think your dog may have kennel cough – or any other illness – the first thing to do is contact your veterinarian.
Dr. Pogmore has urged owners to contact their veterinarians as soon as they become aware of a problem with their pet. This can prevent the animal from suffering unnecessarily.
Veterinarians may offer treatment to relieve symptoms, including pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, or, in severe cases, antibiotics.
Dogs at the highest risk for complications – like pneumonia – include puppies, pregnant dogs, older dogs, short-nosed breeds, and those with underlying conditions like diabetes or cancer.
Rest, fluids and nutrition
(Image: Getty Images)
While the constant coughing may sound scary, the good news is that thanks to their own antibodies, dogs will in most cases recover without special treatment like antibiotics.
Mild cases of kennel cough are likely to need only supportive care.
Much like when people get sick, paying special attention to basic needs will help your dog recover in no time.
Making sure he is getting enough rest, eating well, and staying hydrated will keep your dog’s immune system up to fight off the infection.
Bone broth and “soupy” foods that are “easy to swallow” are good choices, according to VetChef nutritionist Holly Barker.
You can also reduce the amount of exercise your puppy will have until he is healed.
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Keep the air clean and well ventilated
According to the Blue Cross, ventilating your home is a must when grooming a dog with kennel cough.
Limiting irritants in the air is also important.
Household cleaners, cigarette smoke, and even dust can irritate your dog’s lungs, so keep these away from your pup!
Use a humidifier – or try steam therapy at home
Humidifiers are ideal for relieving blocked noses and itchy eyes – in humans and dogs.
Place a small humidifier near your fur baby while it is resting so it can breathe more easily.
Because the device adds moisture to the air, it should reduce irritation to the airways from dry air.
It’s important to remember, however, that humidifiers don’t purify the air, so you’ll need to limit the irritants in the air anyway.
If you don’t have a humidifier, you can try doggy steam therapy in your bathroom instead.
As Zoe Costigan, in-house vet at Itch explained, you can give your dog some steam by letting him sit in the bathroom while the shower is on.
She continued, “The steam can help loosen phlegm and reduce irritation.
“However, don’t leave your dog unattended.”
Also, remember to close the door so the room actually becomes steamy.
Read more: Expert Provides Advice on Protecting Dogs from Sunburn and Other Skin Problems
Try a home remedy
Another home remedy is honey. It has antibacterial ingredients that have long been believed to work as cough suppressants.
VetChef nutritionist Holly Barker specifically recommended the use of manuka honey.
She said, “There are a number of natural remedies that can help improve symptoms of kennel cough – one of them is manuka honey. The one I am using is medical grade and you can buy it on Amazon.
“The rule of thumb is to get the highest percentage of manuka you can afford, the better it gets. You can give one teaspoon per 5 kg of body weight two to three times a day. “
Holly recommends mixing the honey in a homemade tea made from herbs like thyme, marshmallow root, chamomile, ginger, and nettle – all valued as natural cures for coughs and colds.
You can use half a teaspoon per 5 kg of body weight two to three times a day. Simply put in a cup with the honey and boiling water, allow to cool, strain and mix with the food.
Dog owner Georgie Smith also suggested mixing honey with mashed banana, which you can spoon-feed.
(Image: Georgie Smith (Twitter / georgiesmithpr))
Swap the leash and collar for a harness
Animal behaviorist and dog writer at Improve Dogs Harsh Goyal said, “Just like people with chest infections, our beloved dogs suffer from an infectious cough, which makes them uncomfortable.
“A good tip is to use a harness instead of the leash to reduce coughing and neck strain.
“Leashes and collars all work to make the condition worse – they are better avoided if your dog is suffering.”
Keep your dog away from other dogs
If you have other puppies we keep in mind that they can get infected through contaminated water bowls or toys, and be in close proximity to an infected puppy’s sneeze or cough.
Dogs with kennel cough should be isolated from other puppies for at least two weeks after symptoms have subsided to prevent spread.
Vaccinations are a hot topic among people right now and could also be the key to kennel cough prevention.
A spokesman for fresh food maker Butternut Box said, “The best way to prevent your dog from developing kennel cough is to make sure he receives routine vaccinations that will protect him from a variety of diseases.
“Puppies should get their first Bordetella vaccines at six to eight weeks of age and a booster shot at ten to twelve weeks of age. Adult dogs should receive a routine booster dose every six to twelve months, depending on their risk of kennel cough. “
Immunity is believed to last for about a year, although dog owners should be warned that dogs can re-infect within this period as kennel cough can result from multiple bacteria and viruses.