Canine bronchitis is an inflammation of the dog's airways that can be caused by viral or bacterial infections and exacerbated by environmental factors such as poor air quality or the dog's staying wet. An affected dog can show a variety of symptoms: coughing, a bluish tinge to the tongue and gums, difficulty breathing, gagging and retching to expel mucus from throat. In severe cases, a dog can faint. These symptoms may present themselves when the dog walks or plays. As these symptoms may indicate other canine illnesses, an owner should consult his veterinarian for a diagnosis. While certain natural treatments can ease a dog's symptoms, they cannot cure bronchitis.
Echinacea purpurea, also known as purple coneflower, offers a natural antibiotic. The root of this perennial comes in a ground powder form. As an immune-system stimulator, echinacea boosts production of white blood cells and stimulates cells to reduce colds, flu and infections. Echinacea helps maintain clear chests, noses and throats.
Plantago lanceolata can clear congested noses and chests and soothe throats. A narrow-leafed plantain, this plant acts as expectorant and eases inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Plantago lanceolata comes in tea, tincture or syrup form.
Inula Helenium (Elecampane)
Inula helenium provides antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects. The ancient Greeks used this herb, possibly named for the Greek mythological heroine Helen of Troy, whose abduction caused the Trojan War. Helen has two links with this plant: she may have clutched some elecampane in her hand, and her tears produced this beneficial herb. Its root provides a digestive tonic and expectorant. By relaxing the bronchial tubes, this herb reduces coughing. It is available as a dried, cut root or as a root powder.
Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) is a perennial that grows up to 4 feet high in swamps and marshlands; it should not be confused with the confectionery. Marshmallow promotes respiratory health and overall well-being by aiding in the expectoration of mucus and phlegm and easing breathing difficulties. This plant can relax and soothe the bronchial tubes. Forms include syrup, dried leaves and dried root.
A natural remedy doesn't always mean an herbal preparation; owners' actions and habits can affect their dogs' health. Spending time with a dog helps alleviate stress that may trigger heavy breathing. Keeping a dog cool can ease a dog's breathing difficulties, as dogs need to pant to stay cool, and panting can exacerbate bronchial problems. During allergy seasons and hot summers, dogs should stay indoors, and a dog should never be left in a hot vehicle, even for a few minutes. While daily exercise is beneficial, overexertion can lead to breathing problems. In a home with dry air, the dog's breathing may benefit from a humidifier or vaporiser. Owners should also stop smoking to help themselves, their environment and their pets.