What Can I Give My Dog for a Sore Throat?

By Maureen Malone

When a dog has a sore throat, it is most likely a symptom of an infection in the sinuses or respiratory tract. Since treatment methods vary depending on the cause, seek counsel from a veterinarian when you suspect your dog is suffering from a sore throat.

Sore Throat Symptoms

When your dog has a sore throat he is likely to cough, gag and lose his appetite. He may develop a fever and have a difficult time swallowing. Your dog's throat or tonsils may appear red and inflamed and mucus may be draining down his throat. If your dog displays any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian.

Potential Causes and Conditions

Infections and chronic coughing are common causes of a sore throat. Parvovirus, strep throat, distemper and herpes virus all can cause a scratchy, raw throat.

Tonsillitis causes a sore throat, but is rarely a primary infection. It is most common in small breeds. Chronic infections in the mouth associated with tartar buildup also commonly result in a sore throat or tonsillitis.

If your dog has an anal gland infection and licks at it, his throat could develop an infection.

Other causes include chronic coughing due to kennel cough, accompanying infections or from having an irritant lodged in the throat. Even dogs who pull on their leash, which causes the collar to put pressure on the throat, can experience soreness in the throat.

Veterinary Treatment Options

The most effective treatment of the sore throat is to treat the cause. If the cause cannot be determined, a course of treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics is often effective, advises WebMD. If the cause is tartar buildup and resulting infection, a dental cleaning and anti-inflammatory medications might be recommended along with antibiotics.

If your dog has a sore throat due to the chronic coughing associated with kennel cough, natural remedies might help sooth his throat. Kennel cough typically does not require veterinary intervention, but the condition can be prevented with regular Bordetella vaccinations.

Natural and Home Remedies

You can provide your dog some relief on his sore throat by feeding him canned food with added water to soothe his throat. A little honey, which has natural antibiotic properties, may help the underlying condition and sooth a sore throat. The Whole Dog Journal recommends giving your dog 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey three to four times per day.

Coconut oil also shows infection-fighting properties that may help treat the underlying cause of the sore throat, but may cause your dog to develop loose stools. The Whole Dog Journal recommends feeding up to 2 teaspoons of coconut oil per 10 pounds of body weight per day to fight infections. Honey and coconut oil may be administered together, but after consulting your vet.

Ask your vet about herbal remedies to help relieve a cough. Teas or cough syrups that contain ingredients such as licorice, sage leaves, slippery elm and rose hips may help reduce coughing and sooth a sore throat.