Thursday, June 3, 2010

Alternative Solutions for Beating Bronchitis in Dogs

Over this past weekend, I spoke to a lovely young woman who had a problem with her Beagle named Jack.  Jack is a pug with bronchitis.  Jack is 14 and also suffers from severe arthritis.  She asked what holistic alternatives there were for Jack.

In answer to her question, I needed to ask a few questions.  They were:

Is Jack overweight?
If Jack is overweight it could very well be contributing to the bronchitis problem. Controlling the weight of your dog will have a major impact on his breathing and coughing.

Does Jack get any exercise?
Exercise can help with weight control.  However, if the dog has not been exercised regularly, it will be difficult to get the exercise program started and it will need to be done gradually and with supervision.  If he is not used to it, it can irritate the airways. Over time, more active is usually better than less active.

Does Jack wear a standard collar?
Using a standard collar can be a strain on his throat and cause coughing. Using a harness when walking can surely help.

Then I offered the following suggestions:

  1. Reduce environmental contaminants like cigarette smoke and keep your dog away from intense smells such as perfumes and strong room deodorizers.

  2. Keep it humid. Consider using a humidifier or vaporizer. Place the humidifier or vaporizer near where the dog usually stays during the day or night to help with breathing. Make sure to clean the humidifier or vaporizer as directed by the manufacturer since they can emit bacteria when they get dirty.
  3. Yerba Santa also known as the sacred herb in Spanish is a sticky-leafed evergreen that is native to the American Southwest. It is often used for the treatment of the common cold, as well as chronic respiratory problems such as bronchitis and asthma. As I always say, please, please, please do not dispense without professional guidance.  Check with a holistic vet or a pet homeopath.
  4. Marshmallow root is said to relieve digestive and respiratory problems, such as dry coughs, colds, sore throats, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx and asthma.  Side effects are minor if at all.  Check out
  5. Slippery Elm, like marshmallow, is traditionally used as a treatment for sore throat, coughs, dryness of the lungs, inflammation of the skin, wounds, and irritation of the digestive tract.  It has no known serious side effects as it coats the digestive tract and may slow down the absorption of other drugs or herbs.
I recently met with Jack and his guardian Samantha and Jack is now on Slippery Elm, uses and harness and has had a revamping of his diet.  We have high hopes that his bronchitis will improve over time and we will keep you posted.

Please remember that you should consult a professional before any herbal remedies mentioned are used.


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