Kennel Cough Treatment: 4 Home Remedies for Kennel Cough

Ah, kennel cough. It's like the common cold for canines! So, can you treat kennel cough at home? Try these home remedies for kennel cough.

A sick pug with a mask on.
A sick pug with a mask on. Photography by WilleeCole Photography / Shutterstock.

Are there any home remedies for kennel cough? Actually, kennel cough is not that different from any cough you’d get yourself as part of the ordeal we call the common cold — and it so happens that the home remedies for kennel cough listed below work beautifully on humans, too. Of course, contact your vet before you try any of these home remedies for kennel cough and call him immediately if your dog’s kennel cough persists or worsens.

home remedies for kennel cough
Probiotics are among the home remedies for kennel cough. Photography by WebSubstance/Thinkstock.

1. Add probiotics to your dog’s diet

Besides being excellent for oral and digestive health, probiotics make this list of home remedies for kennel cough since these beneficial bacteria do wonders to support the immune system. This is critical when treating kennel cough, which could easily progress to life-threatening pneumonia if left untreated. Be sure to give your dog a probiotic supplement made for dogs, such as Pet Dophilus by Jarrow.

And if your vet has prescribed a course of antibiotics for your dog (which is a common veterinary procedure in treating kennel cough), be sure to wait at least two hours after administering the antibiotic before giving the probiotic, or the two will cancel each other out and healing won’t happen.

2. Try treating your dog’s cold with honey

The antibacterial property of this product of busy bees’ labors is truly astonishing, which is why honey lands itself on the list of home remedies for kennel cough. I give sick dogs one tablespoon twice daily until their coughs are cured; it also works to alleviate the nasal discharge that accompanies kennel cough.

For maximum benefit, be sure to select a homegrown honey that’s not produced in China, ideally a raw honey such as my favorite brand, Really Raw Honey, which comes topped with a “cap” of pollen, propolis and honeycomb. Dogs love this chewy mixture — mine go nuts for it.

There are some dos and don’ts to giving your dog honey, though. See them all here >>

3. You can treat kennel cough with coconut oil

Dogster has extolled the virtues of coconut oil for dogs before, and its amazing antiviral property is especially helpful as one of the home remedies for kennel cough, which is caused by the Bordetella virus. Give two teaspoons daily until the cough is cured.

Pour it over Spot’s food bowl or just let her lick it right off the spoon — being congested will suppress her appetite, but a whiff of this oil’s rich, fragrant aroma will get her mouth watering again.

4. Cinnamon can help treat kennel cough

Cinnamon for dogs is another great dietary supplement. This essential spice-cabinet staple is safe to sprinkle liberally over your dog’s food bowl any time of year, but it’s especially good as one of the home remedies for kennel cough. Like coconut oil, cinnamon is also antiviral, so go ahead and shake half a teaspoon of it over Spot’s food. Look for Ceylon Cinnamon, which is especially fragrant.

Tell us: Have you helped your hound through a bout of kennel cough? What home remedies for kennel cough do you suggest? Please share in the comments!

Wondering what causes kennel cough in the first place? Find out the causes of kennel cough here >>

Top photograph: WilleeCole Photography / Shutterstock.

This piece was originally published in 2012.

Read Next: Dog Coughs After Drinking — What’s Going On


48 thoughts on “Kennel Cough Treatment: 4 Home Remedies for Kennel Cough”

  1. I adopted a 5 mo old rescue. He came home with Kennel Cough. My vet prescribed a med for it, however, unbeknownst to us, it was a very advanced case and turned into pneumonia. My vet recommended buying an OTC nebulizer and nebulizing the pup at least 4 times a day. After the first nebulization, huge strings of snot emerged from his nose. I also vaporized at night and administered medication in honey. It took time and patience, but today that pup is ten years old.

  2. My dog is coughing and has infection in her eyes! I can’t give her anything as she is very old and, since being hurt by a groomer!, won’t let us do anything without threatening to bite! I am taking her to the vet in four days when I have a little money. Any tips on getting the honey and coconut oil down a picky picky doggo?

  3. I have added 93%MCT Coconut Oil to my dog’s water bowl for years and squirt it into his wet blood in the evening meals along with Turmeric, and he gets Ceylon Cinnamon in his morning cereal. He just came down with the cough and I just finished giving him 1/2 TBS of Manuka Honey in a little warm water along with Immune Booster tablets. Amazing they can still contract this stuff when high quality Coconut Oil, Turmeric and Cinnamons are already in his system. I always administer immune system booster whenever there is any sign of distress within. I will attempt to get back here and let you know how long it takes for the honey to work effectively.

  4. Joanna Marie Quintanilla

    Hi i have 2 yrs old shih tzu and she had a kennel cough we already went to the vet to ask for medicine for her but seems like its not working. She keeps on coughing and sometimes having a hard time to breath is there any advice that you guys can give for natural remedies that is safe and 100% effective than the vet medicine? Please help its already a week since she have it just too worried for my baby!!!!

  5. I just brought in two 2 year old rescues with bad coughs. After reading this I just gave them each a spoonful of coconut oil. I will add it to their food from now on. Thank you.

  6. Pingback: Kennel Cough Treatment — 4 Home Remedies for Kennel Cough – SkyLinePets

  7. My puppy is 13 weeks old and only weighs 4 pounds, he’s been on antibiotics since I got him at 10 weeks. They dont seem to be doing very much. Do doses for these home remedies change because of his age and size?

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  12. My 10 year old box, had ACL surgery May 6th 2019. She developed a cough 7 day later. I thought she was coughing up something, and noticed it was white phlegm. She is eating, and drinking and currently taking antibiotics from her surgery. I am wondering if this could be kennel cough?

    1. Same thing with my dog, she started coughing about a week after surgery, i figured could be from the tube down her throat from the anesthesia. I let her lick honey from a spoon and havent heard her cough in the last hour. I will give her more in the morning.

  13. Pingback: Kennel Cough Treatment — 4 Home Remedies for Kennel Cough – Health Guide To Everything

  14. I’m not really sure what to believe but what I do know is through growing up home remedies have worked better and more efficient than medicine we were poor growing up and I was a animal lover money didn’t stop me from trying to save the and with my mom’s knowledge she was able to help me save animals that professional vets said would never make it my cane Corso is showing every sign that you guys have mentioned and I will definitely try these remedies in response to a professional outlook means nothing other than you have school behind your knowledge and sadly not everyone has the income to pay vet prices and vets never offer any help or payment plans unless of course you have a huge chunk to pay down or good credit so of course through a professional point giving that advice is more acceptable because if more and more people prove vet care is not the only sufficient way to cure something’s well vets lose money and it doesn’t tale school to figure that out Thank you guys for your pointers I will definitely keep you posted my Shasta is my best friend and I have no doubt that this will work

  15. Pingback: Kennel Cough Treatment — 4 Home Remedies for Kennel Cough | Prophecy Update News

  16. Thanks for this great information. My dog penny had developed this strange cough a little while back. We of course visiting the vet but really didn’t get the problem solved. I will try some of these “home remedies” straight away and report back on how well they do!

  17. Honey works! Phew! I did not want to pay for a vet visit. This worked perfectly, and Ace (yellow lab) loved the honey. Very pleased with this inexpensive and effective method; it took a few days, but it soothed him and completely eliminated his kennel cough.

    1. That honey DOES work wonders! My PomChi started with this dry, hacking cough like she was trying to cough something up. It was constant for a couple of hours. I’m panicking by now, and I ran across the article and immediately tried to give it to her…she’s no fan of honey by the way! So I mixed it with plain yogurt and she LOVES it! No more coughing thank God! All in a couple of days she was fine. Her cough had subsided by the second day.

    2. Kennel cough is like a cold or flu to us. Typically dogs can recover in 7-10 days just like us. You really only need a vet if it becomes severe, coughing up phlegm, coloured mucus, not eating, lethargic or a young dog. Honey can do wonderful things it’s definitely a good tool to help avoid that vet visit. I have taken my dogs to the vet for kennel cough probably 30% of the times they have had it. But most times they recover themselves. Dog coughs sound harsh but shouldn’t cause alarm if everything else seems normal.

  18. So Claudia, are you saying that all these testimonials I’ve read are all just a temporary fix and not a cure? So in other words, using the 3 ingredients: honey, coconut oil, & cinnamon is not the way to go in curing kennel cough? No matter what we think it is we need to seek professional help?

  19. These sound like nice things for helping relieve the symptoms. But kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection. Very contagious! And it can quickly turn into pneumonia and lead to death. Please consult your vet to get proper meds.
    Not all coughs are kennel cough, but if your dog actually has kennel cough he/she will need antibiotics. This is a critical issue and shouldn’t be dealt with at home.
    I’m a veterinary professional. Please consult your vet

    1. I did consult my vet. They recommended Manuka honey. They are against the automatic prescription of antibiotics, and do not want to see my Spaniel unless her condition deteriorates.

      1. I mixed solid coconut oil with honey and cinnamon but my dog said no thanks so I spread it on bread and wrapped it up with a probiotic pearl😋
        All quiet for now
        And I had the leftovers as a sandwich and it was delicious 😋 😍
        Thanks for your help 😁

    2. Hi Claudia,

      Kennel cough is actually a collection of different ailments that get labeled as ‘kennel cough.’ Many of them are actually viral, so not a bacterial infection, therefore antibiotics do nothing other than to weaken the immune system by destroying the good bacteria, making recovery that much slower for the animal, also leaving their immune system compromised for many weeks, and sometimes even months after the taking the drugs.

      Also, there is no need for a ‘cure’ for kennel cough, as it will resolve on its own, provided that the animal is nourished properly and allowed adequate rest and fresh, clean water to drink. Herbalists and naturopaths cannot claim cure, although we do know that these natural remedies work! Besides, as the article says, kennel cough is just like a doggy cold! Not many of us die from a cold, now do we…

      I used to foster dogs for a rescue group, and nearly every dog came to me with kennel cough. I saw the dogs that were with other fosters and were given the meds prescribed by the vet, and almost all of them took 2 or 3 weeks to recover. I decided to dig into my herbal medicine kit, cross referencing for safety for dogs, and tried a mix of a couple herbs I grow, and added some goldenseal root extract making an herbal tea for the dogs. Nearly every last one of my fosters was over the awful hacking cough within about 3 to 5 days, other than one particularly tough case, as the dog was emaciated and her immune system was a disaster, not to mention she was covered with ticks, and she recovered from kennel cough with no antibiotics or pharmaceuticals at all in about a week and a half using the herbal tea.

      Honey, especially manuka, has some amazing healing properties, and it does wonders for the immune system of both dogs, and humans. Works great on cuts and wounds as well.

      Suffice it to say, don’t doubt the power of nature when it comes to healing! The herbs and plants were here long before big pharmaceuticals were, and people and animals have managed to get along all that time before they got here, right? 😉 By the way, I am an animal naturopath, and do have training in natural and herbal remedies, and can attest to the fact that they do work, and without the toxins and damage of pharmaceuticals.

    3. Claudia,
      You must not be a very informed vetrinary professional as antibiotics will do very little to nothing for kennel cough. The remedies listed in this article are about the best treatment I have been able to come across for kennel cough, and I have treated hundreds of cases. I think this is a wonderfully helpful article for people to treat their dogs who are suffering, as the cough is tough to listen to and, for me, when my pups are sick it is just like when my kids are sick, so thanks again!

    4. I am also a veterinary, for the last 20 years.
      We do not give antibiotics unless the dog is really poorly or have underlying health conditions.
      It’s like flu, their immune system will become compromised using antibiotics so we prefer to avoid prescribing it to healthy dogs.

  20. I have 6 shihtzus one developed kennel cough after a trip to to groomers. As it is highly infectious within a day or so the next dog had it but I gave them raw pineapple chunks throughout the day???? which is also what I give my children if they have a sore throat or cough as it is stronger than any antibiotic. And 2 spoons a day of organic baby honey cough medicine. Within 2 1/2 weeks my house was kennel cough free.

  21. This my 2nd time using this recipe. I use all 3 together. I also treat both pups if one shows signs. Both of my pups have had the vaccine and they both have had it. It should be called death cough,its a cough like no other. This time I’m puzzled how she got it. ABSOLUTELY no contact with any other dog for 3+ weeks. Wondering if she could have gotten it from public walking .Thank you so much. Peace & Soul,Dierdre

    1. Hi there,
      So sorry to hear your pup is feeling under the weather. We suggest working with your vet to relieve your dog’s kennel cough. This article might provide some further insight as well:

  22. Thank you for your advice. I used a mixture of 1 teaspoon of Makuna honey, 6 Blueberries and cooked broccoli spears. I gave him this 4 times a day and through the night if he was coughing. It definately worked. It calmed the cough right down and it boosted his immune system to help fight the infection.

    His nose is now wet through after being bone dry for a few days.

  23. Hi! I have a handsome puppy named Huey. He is 14 weeks old and had a dry frequent cough. The cough started about 7pm last night. I watched him for awhile hoping it would stop but he started shaking, vomiting and hacking every 2mins.

    I was worried and clueless on my next steps. I took him to a local veterinary emergency hospital, signed all the initial paperwork and learned that it would cost me 91 dollars just for walking in. If he got diagnosed it would be over 100 bucks. I quickly left.

    I gave Huey some recommend Robetussian before bed. This was a difficult task. He refused it initially when I put it in his food bowl. Then I tried soaking it in bread and finally I added some peanut butter to the bread. He ate most of it. He was hacking, dry coughing and vomiting throughout the night.

    I crate Huey during the day because I work. I was lucky to find this site early this morning. I looked in the cupboard and pulled out the Honey, Coconut Oil and Cinnamon. I went to buy some chicken breast and mix the other ingredients. He loved it! He licked his bowl after each serving.

    It’s now 4:30 and he is not hacking. His dry coughing and sneezing is hourly. Yay! I’m convinced this outcome is because of the ingredients included on this site. Huey and I thank you!

    1. Happy to help! Please keep an eye on Huey and make sure he continues to progress positively. Hope he feels better!

  24. corina colson, sault ste. marie, ontario, canada

    new – just brought home 1 week ago spayed blue heeler female dog 8 months and she had kennel cough. went on your web site and found natural remedy honey and coconut oil. we had raw honey from farm and 100% virgin coconut oil, which we used for cooking.

    we gave her 1 teaspoon mixed with both honey and coconut oil 3 to 4 x per day until it almost cleared up, meaning no cough then we gave her 1 teaspoon of honey only 3 x per day until the sneezing stopped. now she has no cough and no sneezing. this was given to her first thing in morning on empty stomach, at noon before her meal and then again before her supper/dinner and around 8 at night when she was coughing and sneezing lots. just wanted to thank you very much for your info on honey and coconut oil for kennel cough. it does work and dog Bella is feeling fine now. thanks again.

    1. I have a 7 week old blue pit and boxer mix and I think he has the kennel cough. He keeps coughing and nothing is coming up but he acts like there is something suck in his throat. What can I do plz help me I’m scared…

  25. Donna Susan Westberg

    I made mixed coconut oil, Cinnamon and honey from our apriary into a mixture to treat my dogs kennel cough. I gave them 1 tablespoon each and they are quite and sleeping like babies. Thank you for a great article to naturally healing our doggies.

  26. Pingback: Kennel Cough Treatment — 4 At-Home Remedies for Kennel Cough – Dog Couture Country

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