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By Dr. Andrew Jones
Cats and dogs are susceptible to several diseases similar to that of humans. For example, the flu is a common malady for both humans and our furry friends and flu usually comes with sore throat. The causes vary but most of the time it is a viral or bacterial infection from kennel cough. Though it is something not as serious, sore throat can cause pain and discomfort. In severe cases, it may need prescription for antibiotics but most often than not, it resolves on its own. However, here are some home remedies you may use to soothe your dog’s or cat’s sore throat.
6 Effective Sore Throat Remedies for Cats and Dogs
Honey is known to have antibacterial properties and one study found out that honey was a good cough suppressant and sore throat remedy. Another research found out that honey is a good topical treatment for wounds making it a great remedy for scratchy throat.Yet another study has found that honey is a better cough suppressant, and comes with virtually no side effects when compared to the world’s most commonly prescribed cough treatment, dextromethorphan. (1)
To administer, a ½ teaspoon of honey per 10lbs of body weight is enough. Just give it straight or mix in a cup of hot water and add 5-10 drops of lemon. You can dose your dog or cat 2-3 times/ day, for 7-10 days. Many pets feel symptomatically better within the day.
Coconut oil has an array of uses. It’s good for digestion, brain health and is very soothing on the throat. It has anti-inflammatory effects and may help your dog or cat fight infection. A ½ teaspoon of coconut oil per 10lbs of body weight would suffice.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar is shown to have antimicrobial effects. It treats the underlying cause but doesn’t address the symptoms of sore throat. Apple cider vinegar has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties to help heal your dog’s or cat’s throat. Just mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (per 20lbs of body weight) with honey to get rid of the sharp acidic taste. If your dog refuses to drink, use a syringe to squirt inside the mouth.
Fresh Ginger Tea
Ginger is known for its medicinal uses since time immemorial. It has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory and its mild spicy aftertaste is soothing to the throat.
Peel fresh ginger root and cut up and dice finely about a tablespoon of ginger. Add a cup of water and simmer for 15 minutes. Add a teaspoon of honey to mellow down the taste of ginger. For its dosage, 1 tablespoon per 10lbs of body weight. Can be given twice daily for 7-14 days.
Elderberry also known as Sambucus or Elder is a flowering plant widely grown all over the world. This plant is usually cultivated for ornamental and medicinal purposes. Its berries and flowers were used as traditional medicine for centuries.
Several studies have been conducted proving elderberry’s immune-boosting properties. The berries of the elderberry plant are a great source of anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant known to have immune-stimulant effects. (2)
According to a 2016, supplementation of elderberry extract was able to help reduce cold duration and it’s severity in air travelers. Travelers from Australia to an overseas destination were made to take elderberry extract 10 days before travelling, up until four to five days after arrival overseas. Results showed that cold duration was reduced by 2 days. It was also observed that there was a reduction in cold symptoms. (3)
Aside from reduced duration of colds, a couple of studies also found out that elderberries offer safe and low cost treatment for flu. (4) In a 2009 study, researchers found out that the flavonoids in elderberry extract bind to and prevent H1N1 human influenza virus infection (5) as well as the H5N1 avian influenza virus.
Elderberry not only treats many of the more common causes of sore throat, but it also is a powerful anti inflammatory, making it especially helpful for painful, inflamed throats.
A typical elderberry dose is 1 teaspoon of the concentrated elderberry juice/10lbs of body weight twice daily.
Licorice root has been proven to alleviate pain, has been used as pre-surgical mouthwash, has documented antibacterial, anti-viral properties and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies with people show that it significantly helps recovery after surgery. A single lozenge containing licorice sucked 30 minutes before intubation reduces cough following surgery by about 50%. (6) Another study also showed that gargling with a licorice fluid before the breathing tube is inserted in the mouth then throat and trachea helped reduce complications once it is removed.
However, avoid using this remedy if your pet has underlying organ or heart dysfunction. I find it works very well in combination with honey, and Elderberry.
For its dosage, 0.5mL per 20lbs of body weight mixed with 1 teaspoon honey, plus 1 teaspoon of elderberry juice.This can be given 2-3 times a day for 7-10 days.
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