If your dog suffers from severe bronchitis, natural remedies alone probably won't do the trick. However, if he's mildly affected, ask your veterinarian if you can try dietary changes, exercise and other therapies before resorting to medication. It's important to take your dog to the veterinarian for a diagnosis, because symptoms of canine bronchitis can mimic those of other lung ailments.
Natural Remedies for Bronchitis in Dogs
If your dog develops a hacking cough he may suffer from canine bronchitis, but that persistent cough could also be a sign of a collapsed trachea, congestive heart failure, laryngeal paralysis or heartworm infection. Your vet diagnoses bronchitis with chest X-rays and an airway examination via endoscopy. Drug therapies for dogs with canine bronchitis include cough suppressants, steroids and bronchodilators. It's possible that your vet will approve natural remedies once your dog's bronchitis is under control. The Merck Veterinary Manual states, "In mild or acute cases, supportive therapy may be effective, but treatment of concurrent disease is also indicated."
Nebulizers or Steamy Bathrooms
Your vet might want to encourage some coughing in your dog so that he rids himself of inflammatory discharge. Dogs with bronchitis benefit from the use of a nebulizer, which produces a spray the dog inhales. The nebulizer allows secretions to stay moist, thus making them more easily released and reducing inflammation in his lungs. While a person would use the nebulizer's mouthpiece, a dog can receive treatment while placed in a crate with the nebulizer attached. An alternative to a nebulizer and crate is keeping your dog in the bathroom while you or other family members take showers. The shower steam has an effect similar to that of a nebulizer.
If your dog is overweight, putting him on a diet is an ideal way to help remedy his bronchitis. Ask your vet about a proper weight loss regimen, including exercise, to help your pet. You must find a balance between exercise that helps keep him fit but doesn't cause coughing fits. That means a gradual increase in exercise, such as increasing the length of his walks by a few minutes daily, until he can easily walk an hour a day or more. Cut out the treats and feed him a nutritious, balanced diet.
Coupage for Dogs
A veterinary physiotherapist can perform coupage on your dog for bronchitis symptom relief. This therapy loosens mucus in the lungs. If your dog requires long-term therapy, ask your veterinarian or veterinary physiotherapist about learning to do the procedure yourself. Once you learn the technique, you can perform it with one or both hands, and at varying speeds. Correctly done, coupage loosens lung secretions, allowing dogs to get rid of them via coughing. You must place your dog in the best position for postural drainage of the secretions out of his lungs. These aren't positions you can determine without a professional's input; different parts of the lung require different positioning.