How to treat kennel cough with cough syrup

Updated April 10, 2017

Kennel cough is an ailment that can easily be passed from one dog to another. It gets its name from being highly communicable in close quarters, such as within a kennel. Kennel cough sounds like a raspy, laboured cough and is a highly contagious form of bronchitis that is not likely to go away on its own without some form of treatment.

Consult a vet before you treat the kennel cough yourself. The symptoms of kennel cough are similar to other canine ailments. It is important that you have a definitive diagnosis of kennel cough before you begin treating it at home.

Choose an appropriate cough medicine. You want to look for a product that is alcohol-free and acetaminophen-free. Both of these ingredients can be harmful to a dog. If you are unsure of what type of cough medicine to buy for your dog, consult your vet for advice. She may be able to recommend a specific brand or type to meet your dog's needs.

Administer the cough medicine to your dog based on the animal's weight. Small dogs only require a half tsp of cough medicine with each dose. Administer 1 tsp of cough medicine for dogs between 9.07 and 18.1 kg (20 and 40 lb) and 2 tsp of medicine for dogs larger than 18.1 kg (40 lb). When in doubt, administer a smaller dose rather than a larger one.

Consider using other herbal remedies to help your dog deal with the cough. Herbal tea and honey can also be administered to a dog with a dry, harsh cough to relieve symptoms and help with healing. You can combine these herbal remedies with over-the-counter cough medicine or with a veterinarian-prescribed medication. Between a half tsp and one full tsp every four hours is typically sufficient.


If the dog is experienced a wet cough, it is likely not kennel cough. It is vital that you consult a vet for a proper diagnosis before administering any type of treatment. Human cough medicine products will not help a dog with a wet cough, and this cough may be an indicator that something is more seriously wrong with the dog.

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About the Author

Jennifer Uhl has been writing professionally since 2005. She writes primarily for the web and has been published as a ghostwriter in "Tropical Fish Magazine" and "Entrepreneur." She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in health care from Mira Costa College.