You’ve heard of bronchitis in humans, but did you know that dogs can also get this condition? The symptoms are quite similar, too. Luckily, many home remedies can help your dog deal with bronchitis.
You can try giving your dog steam therapy or aromatherapy with various essential oils. You can also give your dog some honey and beneficial herbs known to alleviate the symptoms of bronchitis. Lastly, it’s important to make sure your dog gets plenty of rest as he recovers from this condition.
Lastly, it’s important to make sure your dog gets plenty of rest as he recovers from this condition.
Keep reading to learn about the various bronchitis home remedies you can use for your dog.
What Is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is a condition marked by inflammation in the bronchi and bronchioles, which are sections of the lungs through which oxygen-rich air moves.
When this area becomes inflamed, it causes the production of mucus, which in turn causes coughing and irritation. This triggers the development of even more mucus, which perpetuates the inflammatory cycle.
Infectious tracheobronchitis is a condition related to bronchitis that affects the trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles as well. It’s usually linked to acute illnesses like kennel cough. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, rarely affects the trachea.
The illnesses may share symptoms, but their underlying causes and treatments are very different. The best person to help you tell the difference and make a diagnosis is your veterinarian.
Symptoms of bronchitis in dogs include wet, dry, or honking coughs.
It’s okay if you can’t tell them apart. Take a short video of the behavior to help your veterinarian determine what’s causing the cough. Many pet owners initially mistake it for gagging or vomiting.
A coughing dog may not seem like a big deal, but it could be a sign of something serious. If your dog develops a cough, don’t wait to take him to the vet. This is especially true if there has been a change in the cough’s intensity, frequency, softness, or dryness.
There are two types of bronchitis, both of which have different causes.
Acute bronchitis is typically caused by viruses, which can spread through contact with an infected animal. Kennel cough, parainfluenza, and distemper are three viral diseases responsible for the majority of cases.
Stress, extreme temperatures, and ventilation all raise the likelihood of catching these viruses. In contrast to chronic bronchitis, it does not appear that there is an association with age; however, young and elderly dogs frequently experience more severe symptoms.
Here are some of the known causes of acute bronchitis in dogs:
- Canine adenovirus
- Canine distemper virus
- Canine herpes virus
- Parainfluenza virus
- Bordetella bronchiseptica
- Streptococcus zooepidemicus
When a pet has been coughing for more than two months straight, the condition is deemed chronic.
Most of the time, chronic bronchitis has an unknown origin, but here are some risk factors:
- Prior respiratory system damage, infection, or trauma
- Inhaling irritants, like cigarette smoke, for an extended period
- Cardiovascular disease
Diagnosis of Chronic Bronchitis in Dogs
A thorough physical examination and the dog’s medical history can help diagnose chronic bronchitis in dogs. Coughing is often difficult to diagnose, but the following tools are used to narrow down the causes:
When viewed under a small lens, bronchitis takes on a distinct appearance. A bronchoscope provides direct visualization of the airways.
Many patients, especially small dogs, might find this surgery difficult. Putting your dog under general anesthesia may be necessary. This is a procedure that is often only done at specialized hospitals.
This process, also known as a bronchial wash, entails taking samples of mucus and cells and analyzing them using microscopy, culture, and sensitivity testing. This helps make a correct diagnosis.
Your dog will be sedated and put under general anesthesia for this surgery.
Although bloodwork cannot provide a conclusive diagnosis, it can help rule out other causes.
Dog Bronchitis Home Remedies
Next, we’ll discuss the various home remedies you can use to help a dog with bronchitis.
Have you ever used a humidifier to alleviate the symptoms of a winter cold? Dogs, like humans, can benefit from steam therapy because it helps expand airways and maintain moisture levels.
Run a hot shower with the door closed for a few minutes to create some steam in the bathroom. This can be done for all breeds other than brachycephalic dogs.
Then, take a steam break with your dog for 10 to 15 minutes. Alternatively, you could simply bring them with you into the shower (they’re probably already behind you!)
Some essential oils have calming effects and could help alleviate your dog’s cold symptoms if administered correctly. However, essential oils at full dosage may be too strong for pets to handle.
Essential oils can be beneficial, but you should always dilute them and get your vet’s approval before adding them to your dog’s regular care routine.
These are the most commonly recommended essential oils for canine bronchitis:
- Peppermint oil is energizing and helps relieve congestion.
- Lavender oil has a calming effect.
Just a pinch of essential oils can do wonders, so don’t overdo it. Your dog’s nose is so sharp that it can smell through a stuffy nose.
3. Herbs & Honey
In small amounts, honey is safe for dogs to consume.
Many people believe honey can help dogs suffering from colds or coughs. However, honey’s high sugar content makes it inappropriate for dogs with high blood sugar or excessive body fat. You might try giving your adult dog a spoonful of honey in their food to see if it helps their congested nose and cough.
One type of honey in particular, called Manuka honey, has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It has a calming effect on the throat as well. As a result, Manuka honey is an excellent natural cure for reducing the pain of coughing and warding off the infection that comes with bronchitis.
Mix five to 10 drops of licorice root tincture with the Manuka honey, based on the size of the dog. Traditional remedies for coughs have included licorice for their relaxing effect on the mucous membranes. This coughing remedy, when used with Manuka honey, can quickly alleviate coughing.
Dogs may also benefit from the anti-cold properties of certain plants. Here are some of the most common:
High levels of mucilage in marshmallow roots make them useful for coating and calming mucous membranes like the lining of the respiratory tract. It is often used to treat both dry and productive coughs. Slippery elm is a different kind of herb that works similarly and can also be utilized.
Osha root (Ligusticum porteri)
Native Americans traditionally utilized osha root to treat viral, bacterial, and fungal respiratory diseases in addition to the common cold and flu.
The antibacterial and antispasmodic properties of thyme make it an effective treatment for chronic coughing. However, before giving your dog any new supplement or herbal treatment, you should always consult with your veterinarian.
4. Chicken Soup
The benefits of grandma’s miracle treatment extend to pets as well. Human soup is unhealthy for dogs because of the high salt content and potentially toxic components like onions. However, store-bought or homemade low-sodium broth is fine for dogs.
To top it all off, broth improves the flavor and aroma of the food you feed your dog. If your dog has a stuffy nose, he or she won’t be able to smell her food and will not eat as much as usual. Add some broth to your dog’s food to make it more enticing and to provide them with more fluids.
You should also give your sick dog plenty of water to drink. Dogs need to drink a lot of water to recover from a condition like bronchitis.
5. Rest and Sleep
Keeping your dog relaxed is essential, since his cough may become more severe if he is overstimulated or excited. Make sure your dog has a peaceful place to retreat to when he needs some downtime. Provide a comfy blanket, a relaxing bed, and lots of hugs and cuddles.
Heated beds and cushions designed for pets provide a soothing area to sleep while also breaking up congestion. Put a fluffy blanket or towel in the dryer to use as a warm wrap, or just get under a blanket with your furry friend.
Changing your dog from a collar to a harness is not a “treatment,” but it can do wonders for his throat. Switching your dog from a collar to a high-quality harness will help reduce the strain on his windpipe.
If your dog is prone to unexpected outbursts of excitement, you can keep him under control by keeping him under close watch.
7. Immune System Boosters
Herbs that strengthen the immune system can help restore canine health and prevent illness.
Astragalus: This plant strengthens the lungs and immune system. Astragalus has also been shown to promote the growth of new bronchial cells.
Echinacea: This is another herb that helps strengthen the immune system. For persistent coughs, try a tincture for three weeks straight, then take a week off.
Olive leaf (Olea europaea): This herb has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral effects. Olive leaf’s antimicrobial properties make it a popular choice for treating human and animal respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, influenza, and bronchitis.
8. Natural Supplements
Bronchitis in dogs can also be treated with natural vitamins that are good for the lungs. For example:
N-Acetylcysteine (NAC): This is an artificial version of the amino acid cysteine found in food. Asthma and bronchitis are just two of the many acute and chronic lung disorders that benefit from its long history of use in mucus clearance.
Vitamin C: The antiviral properties of vitamin C can help canine respiratory health. The dosage should be anywhere from 125 to 1000 milligrams twice daily, depending on the size of the dog.
Vitamin E: As an immune system booster, vitamin E is also recommended for dogs that have bronchitis. The recommended dosage is 50 IU for small dogs, 200 to 400 IU for medium dogs, and 800 IU for large dogs, once daily.
Essential Fatty Acids: EFAs have anti-inflammatory properties, and it is important to add an EFA-rich oil (such as cod liver oil or salmon oil) to your dog’s food. The dosage should be one-half teaspoon for small dogs, one teaspoon for medium dogs, and up to two teaspoons for large dogs, once daily.
Veterinarian Treatment for Dogs with Bronchitis
Here are some common veterinarian treatments for dogs with bronchitis:
Handling a Respiratory Emergency
If you think your dog is struggling to breathe, you should go to the emergency clinic or your normal veterinarian as soon as possible. Acute respiratory distress is a common medical emergency that necessitates oxygen therapy. Without it, further diagnostic testing on your dog can potentially be risky.
Some dogs with respiratory distress need to be sedated mildly to help them relax. This allows them to breathe easier. If the veterinarian thinks an infection is to blame for the wheezing, they may administer antibiotics through injection.
The veterinarian may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines like prednisone for dogs or bronchodilators like theophylline to help them breathe easier.
Long-term bronchitis management for your dog may require treatment with more than one class of medication.
Chronic Bronchitis: Long-Term Treatment Options
As your dog progresses past the initial, more immediate stages of treatment, their care will shift to things that benefit them in the long run. Your veterinarian may recommend supplements, diet changes, and even surgery to treat the underlying condition. Here are some examples:
Hydrocodone and butorphanol are two medications that can help alleviate your dog’s cough by acting directly on the brain’s cough receptors. If, on the other hand, your dog has a productive cough (one that brings up a lot of mucus), suppressing it may cause an accumulation of mucus.
Mucus-thinning medications, such as guaifenesin, can aid with the buildup of mucus.
In the short term, systemic steroids like prednisone can be helpful, but in the long run, they can cause problems like increased thirst and urination in dogs, as well as weight gain and stomach discomfort.
There is also evidence that long-term steroid use raises the likelihood that a dog will acquire diabetic mellitus or iatrogenic Cushing’s disease.
So, instead of steroids like prednisone or trazodone, your veterinarian may recommend an inhaled form of medication like fluticasone. Pets can take aerosolized drugs with a customized mask called an AeroDawg.
To put it another way, the steroid can bypass the rest of the body entirely and go straight to the site of the inflammation (in this case, the lungs).
Medications that make airways wider could help dogs breathe easier. Some dogs respond positively to theophylline, while albuterol administered using the AeroDawg mask may be useful for other dogs.
However, bronchodilators are rarely effective when used alone. Treatment may consist of a combination of medications and self-help measures.
Frequently Asked Questions
To clear mucus from the lungs, a veterinarian can use a technique called coupage on a dog’s chest.
Signs like a low-grade fever, congestion, wheezing, a runny nose, a lack of energy, and mucus can suggest bronchitis.
While antihistamines like Benadryl are meant for human consumption and aren’t as effective on dogs, they can help a dog with bronchitis.
Conclusion for “Dog Bronchitis Home Remedies”
In conclusion, if your dog has been diagnosed with bronchitis, there is no need to worry. Simply provide him with the recommended treatment along with the various home remedies listed in this article.
Coughing and difficulty breathing necessitate a vet visit, so don’t ignore them.
If you find this guide, “Dog Bronchitis Home Remedies,” helpful, check out:
- Why Does My Dog Cough After Drinking Water? (2023)
- What to Do If My Old Dog is Coughing and Gagging? (2023)
- Why Is My Dog Dry Heaving but Acting Normal? Possible Causes and Treatment! (2023)
Learn more by watching “Bronchitis in Dogs: 7 Holistic Solutions” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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