Remedies for Kennel Cough!

Clearing The Air

Whole Dog Journal - Oct 2008


When Faith Thanas, an aromatherapist who lives in Leicester, Massachusetts,adopted a Doberman Pinscher from Louisiana one year after Hurricane Katrina, Sasha arrived in a van carrying 20 rescued dogs.  A few days later, she started coughing.   To help soothe Sasha’s throat, Thanas mixed a blend of essential oils to spray in the air around the dog.  She started with Ravensare (Cinnamonum camphora), one of the “must have” essential oils listed by Kristen Leigh Bell in her book Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals.  As Bell explains, this gentle and tolerable antiviral, antibacterial essential oil supports the immune system and has tonifying effects.


Faith Thanas’ Doberman, Sasha, was a Katrina dog.  After being shipped in a van with about 20 other rescued dogs, she developed a severe cough. Thanas, an aromatherapist, developed Cough Drop! to treat Sasha’s cough.  Thanas then added Eucalyptus radiata, the gentlest of the many eucalyptus varieties available. It is known for its antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties. Bell writes, “Due to its gentleness, it is very appropriate for use in blends for animals for congestion, and it makes an excellent room air cleaner, deodorizer, and flea repellent.”


Eucalyptus globulus, the next ingredient, is the eucalyptus commonly found in chest rubs, cough drops, and cough syrups. It has a fresh antiseptic fragrance and, when inhaled, acts as a decongestant.  Thanas added Spike Lavender (Lavendula latifolia) for its powerful antibacterial properties.


After diluting the essential oils, Thanas used a spray bottle to mist the air around Sasha. “The results were instantaneous,” she recalls. “She stopped coughing, she was able to breathe, and she was so much more comfortable.”


Thanas wasted no time adding Cough Drop! to her AromaDog line of aromatherapy pet products. She describes it as an all-natural cough suppressant that works quickly, helps open breathing passages, acts as an expectorant (antitussive), soothes the chest and
respiratory system (balsamic), reduces swelling (antihistamine), helps reduce excess mucus secretion (anticatarrh), and acts as an immune system stimulant.


“The bottle should be shaken well for at least three seconds before use,” she says.” Repeat the application every three hours. In households with other animals, or in boarding kennels, spraying the air, bedding, and other surfaces can help keep the illness from spreading.”


Another way to disperse essential oils into the air is with a diffuser. Aromatherapy supply companies, such as Aromatherapeutix, sell different models. A nebulizing diffuser consists of a nebulizer (glass receptacle) attached to the hose of a small air compressor. Drops of essential oil placed in the nebulizer are atomized into tiny droplets that are sprayed into the air.  Bell notes that disinfecting essential oils dispersed by a nebulizing diffuser effectively clean the air, deodorize the room, and help clear up and prevent contagious illnesses.


A new type of ultrasonic cold mist diffuser runs silently (unlike nebulizing diffusers with their noisy air compressors) and can be set for constant or intermittent dispersal. To use, simply fill the unit with water, add a few drops of essential oil, and turn it on. Buttons on the unit control the frequency and duration of misting. Simpler models, such as the SpaMist diffuser, run constantly. Ultrasonic diffusers have become popular accessories for aromatherapists and those who use essential oils.


Any blend of disinfecting essential oils, such as Ravensare, Eucalyptus radiata, or Spike Lavender, can be dispersed into the air with a diffuser.


Canine nutritional consultant Linda Arndt has a favorite remedy for clearing the air and helping dogs recover from and avoid respiratory infections. The Nzymes product Ox-E-Drops (not to be confused with Oxy Drops, an eye drop from a different manufacturer) contains sodium clorite, which breaks down to form chlorine dioxide, a microbiocide.


To use in a warm steam vaporizer (an inexpensive appliance sold in pharmacies), mix 1 teaspoon Ox-E-Drops Concentrate with one gallon of water. For severe cases, use up to 1 tablespoon.  In a small bathroom, other enclosed room, or in a crate covered by a sheet,direct the vapors toward the dog’s head, keeping the vaporizer far enough away so that its hot steam doesn’t pose a safety hazard.


“Allow your pet to breathe the vapors for 15 to 20 minutes each hour for four to five hours,” says Arndt.
“Repeat the procedure for two to three days until symptoms improve.”


Essential Oils for Pets