A persistent cough may point out a deeper, more serious problem, like a weak heart, pneumonia or airway obstruction. My advice to not overlook that is to observe your pet’s progress during the few days while you use natural remedies. Consult with a professional (veterinarian), if your furkid’s cough doesn’t improve or gets worse.
Personally, I have had great success with natural remedies for combating simple cough spells and sore throat. An additional positive of natural remedies is that you won’t harm your pet and they are easy and inexpensive to purchase. Many of my remedies will be already in your home. What I like most about these remedies? Besides being gentle and effective, they can save your pet and the environment from yet another prescription of toxic drugs, like antibiotics.
Here is a list of tips and tricks for my patients:
1. Take ¼ teaspoon of honey (if you buy honey, choose the best quality you can afford) and mix it with a teaspoon (2.5 ml) of warm water. Syringe the honey-water slowly into your pet’s mouth, two to three times a day. Honey water soothes an irritated, dry throat effectively. And that makes the cough go away.
2. For cough that’s accompanied by fluids or phlegm from the nose and/or heavy breathing, I use steam sessions with chamomile.
A good way to soothe and liquify stubborn phlegm, is a daily steam session which takes about 30 minutes to prep and do.
First, place your pet into his or her carrier.
Then prepare a cup or bowl by filling it with boiling water. Add to the boiling water 2 or 3 chamomile tea bags.
Now place the steaming chamomile tea cup (or bowl) in front of the closed carrier door (your pet is in the carrier), and cover both, the carrier and steaming chamomile bowl, with one large towel.
You are improvising a cozy “steam chamber” for your pet. The increased humidity in the “tent” together with the evaporating essential oils from the chamomile tea calm your pet while cleansing clogged up and irritated airways. This works great for cats and small dogs. For larger dogs you may either use a table covered with blankets as a “steam tent” or a kiddie play tent. Be sure you keep your pet always safely away from the boiling hot water! * www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
3. Besides honey water, most dogs and some cats accept a natural cough syrup made of lemon and honey. This syrup help sooth a sore throat. Mix 2 teaspoons of honey, 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of water, give 1 teaspoon to cats and up to 1 table spoon for an average sized dog, twice daily.
4. Remember to remove any collars! An irritated airway tolerates so much less pressure on the throat. When necessary, just use a harness instead.
5. For immune suppressed pets (they have repeated eye and nose discharge and often other recurring illnesses) echinacea herbal drops or homeopathic echinacea preparations may be useful. They can be given directly into the mouth, homeopathic remedies like globuli may be added to the food. For dosage recommendation, consult the package information or a professional.
6. During any illness and as a preventative, I give my furkids that extra boost to the immune system by adding daily a quality probiotic to our pet’s natural food - for a month or even longer.
7. For irritated throats , soupy, room temperate nutritious food like bone broth or mashed meats are best. Coughing pets may seem often “picky” with food. But actually, it’s that sore or irritated throat that prevents them from eating dry foods like kibbles (“biscuits”).
8. Last but not least, here something from my highly valued homeopathic remedy “treasure box”: Belladonna for dry cough. Pulsatilla for cough that’s only dry at night but loose (“liquid” or “productive”) in the morning. Nux vomica for suffocating cough with restless, cold or flu and feeling cold. Bryonia for dry, hacking, painful cough and your pet dislikes to move. Hepar Sulph works for dry “rattling” cough with chilliness.
*Janmejai K Srivastava, Eswar Shankar, Sanjay Gupta; Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future