The best essential oils to help with a dog’s cough include: Eucalyptus, Lavender, Peppermint, Chamomile, and Ginger. Do not allow your dog to ingest the oils. Instead, use a diffuser or dilute the oil and apply directly to the skin.
There are several reasons your dog may develop a cough. There are also several ways to help ease the cough. If your dog is coughing more than usual, one of the best home remedies is essential oils.
Before we get into the details on how to use essential oils to help with your dog’s cough, it’s important to first understand what’s causing the cough. In most cases, it’s nothing to be concerned about. However, sometimes a cough requires immediate attention from a vet.
Why Is Your Dog Coughing In The First Place?
Coughing is relatively common in dogs. It can be from a cold, allergies, or a simple throat irritation. But a cough can also be from something much more severe (which we will discuss in the next section).
The reverse sneeze, which sounds like a cough and occurs more commonly in brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs, happens when they inhale air quickly through their nose. It is not the same as coughing, but can be caused by an irritation in the throat.
Dry heaving is also common in dogs and can be a sign of a bacterial infection. If your dog won’t stop dry heaving, it’s important to get them to the vet as soon as possible.
When Coughing is a Serious Issue
If your dog has ingested a foreign substance or object, they may cough to free their airway. This type of cough can be distinguished if their actions become violent and turn into hacking or gagging. If this persists, get your dog to the vet immediately.
Smaller breeds may experience a collapsed trachea, which results in chronic coughing. This may cause respiratory issues from day to day and may require medications or medical intervention.
Consistent coughing, reduced appetite, general tiredness, and blue coloring to the tongue can also hint at heart disease. If they’ve already been diagnosed with a heart issue, monitoring the cough and using the prescribed treatments can help with their comfort level.
If the cough worsens considerably or is paired with a lack of appetite or difficulty breathing, it might be best to visit the veterinarian to find out what’s going on and to ensure their condition does not worsen.
Essential Oils 101
Essential oils have become a popular form of holistic medicine that can help humans and animals. It uses natural compounds from plants to create a highly concentrated oil that offers various health benefits.
There are over 90 different types of essential oils, each with its own benefits and side effects. Although it’s safe for humans to use all 90, there are many oils which dogs should not be exposed to (more on that later).
Multiple scientific studies have been performed in the last decade on whether essential oils benefit dogs. The results were pleasantly shocking. Essential oils, when used correctly, seem to be more beneficial to dogs than humans…they can even help with that stubborn cough.
The Five Best Essential Oils To Help With a Dog’s Cough
The first essential oil on the list is Eucalyptus. This oil acts as an antiseptic, which means it can help prevent or cure an infection.
Lavender can reduce inflammation, so if your dog’s cough is because of inflammation, lavender may be your best option. It will also soothe and relax your dog, which can help with the discomfort.
Have you ever smelled peppermint, and then suddenly your sinuses were cleared? The same thing happens to your dog. Peppermint is a strong decongestant that can help relieve a cough.
Similar to the calming nature of chamomile for humans, this oil can help your dog relax if they are stressed or upset from all the coughing. Combining lavender with chamomile creates a powerful relaxation cocktail.
Some dogs develop a cough from digestive issues. If that’s the case for your pup, ginger is the answer. Recent studies show that ginger stimulates stomach motility, which aids in digestion.
If you aren’t sure which essential oil to use, there’s nothing wrong with giving them all a try. Just make sure you don’t use them all on the same day. Using all these oils in a short period can overwhelm your dog. Plus, if you use them all in one day, you won’t know which one was the most effective at relieving their cough.
How The Use The Oils
The two most common ways to expose your dog to essential oils are through a diffuser or topically. As a general rule, you do not want your dog to ingest the oils. Although some oils are safe to ingest in small amounts, you may find your dog with an upset stomach if they ingest too much.
The easiest way to use essential oils is through a diffuser. The biggest advantage of a diffuser is that everyone in the home will receive the benefits.
Start by picking one of the five essential oils mentioned above. Add a few drops to the diffuser and let the diffuser run for a few hours. Make sure your dog stays in the same room as the diffuser for a few hours. If they continue leaving the room, this method won’t be as effective.
2: Topical Application (Using Spray Bottle)
Before applying the oil topically, it’s important to dilute the oil with water. Remember, these oils are highly concentrated. Dogs already have sensitive skin, so a few drops can dry out their skin and possibly cause a rash.
The best way to dilute the oil is to fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of oil to the spray bottle. Be sure to rub the oil in as you spray your dog’s fur. Also, avoid spraying anywhere near their face/eyes.
Avoid These Oils
Although we went over five oils that can help with a dog’s cough, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting on your own with different oils.
However, keep in mind that not all oils are safe for dogs. Before using a new oil on your dog, do some research to determine if it’s safe.
Here are a few of the most popular oils that ARE NOT safe for dogs:
- Tea Tree
- Ylang Ylang
- Sweet Birch
Most of these oils are harmless in small quantities, but can be poisonous with long-term exposure. If you have a dog in your home, be sure to avoid those oils.
Are There Any Side Effects to Essential Oils?
Many people choose homeopathic remedies because of the reduced side effects, but that doesn’t mean homeopathic remedies are without side effects altogether.
Although rare, essential oils can cause rashes or allergic reactions. This usually happens when the oil is not properly diluted or when a dog ingests a large quantity.
If you or your pet experiences any adverse reaction to the oil, it may be time to put that one away and find another.
Using Herbs In Addition to Essential Oils To Cure The Cough
In addition to essential oils, certain herbs like elderflower or honey may have healing properties if your dog has been suffering from a cough or cold. These herbs are safe for dogs to ingest, so add a small amount to their food and see if that helps speed recovery.
Keep Your Coughing Dog Healthy
Make sure you give your dog as many fluids as possible while they are feeling under the weather. Using chicken broth or low sodium soup can help ease their discomfort.
Essential oils are becoming one of the most popular natural remedies for dogs. They have been shown to decrease anxiety and stress, help with destructive behavior, and relieve pain. These holistic treatments offer a host of benefits, but it’s best to use caution and consult with your vet before trying new home remedies.
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