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At-Home Treatments for Pet Colds

03/02/2018 by Colleen Williams
March 2nd, 2018 by Colleen Williams

dog sleeping on couch

Kennel cough and upper respiratory infections are common in pets, especially during winter months, and especially among kittens and puppies. While some colds can be resolved with at-home treatment, some may require medical care, so be certain you don’t need to take your kitty or pup into the vet (and when in doubt, bring them in).

There are a variety of at-home treatments for a pet suffering from a cold, many of which are all-natural and environmental. Creating a soothing, healthy space for your pet to heal is one of the easiest steps you can take to help fight a cold. Check out these easy treatments you can do from home.

  • Steam it up.
    Increasing the humidity can help your dog or cat breathe easier, just as it does for humans! Using a humidifier in your pet’s favorite hangout has a ton of benefits: fur is less staticky, asthma conditions are alleviated, and breathing passageways are soothed. Word of caution: beware of burns when using warm-mist humidifiers around pets as well as children.
  • Feed a cold.
    When pets have a stuffy nose, their sense of smell is dulled. You can heat up wet food in the microwave for 10 seconds to make it smellier, shred some rotisserie chicken, scoop out canned tuna, and if all else fails, warm low sodium chicken or beef broth. Food is fuel, and dogs and cats need it to beat the cold.
  • Wipe runny noses.
    Even dogs and cats get the sniffles! If you notice nasal discharge, use a moist towel to wipe delicate noses. Soothing grooming wipes are available at pet supply stores. For the opposite problem, i.e. a stuffed nose, some vets recommend a human-grade nasal spray; our friends at Cuteness say in the article, How to Clear a Stuffy Dog’s Nose: “Your vet might allow the use of oxymetazoline, marketed under the brand name Afrin and sold in generic versions. Your vet will inform you how many sprays of the medication to use in each of your dog’s nostrils, depending on the animal’s size.”
  • Keep your pet hydrated.
    Set out plenty of fresh water. Picky cats and dogs may prefer running water; invest in a cat fountain or be attentive to faucets. Quick tip on making sure pets get more water: add a little low sodium chicken broth to the bowl.
  • Rest, rest and more rest.
    Let your pet sleep it off in a favorite spot. Provide extra blankets or pillows for added comfort, and make sure your home is a comfortable temperature. While it’s okay for sick pets to take a rest, make sure to ease your pet back into exercise after they’ve recovered.

For more serious respiratory infections that can afflict kittens and puppies, you want to consult a vet. For example, a kitten upper respiratory infection can be serious, and lead to pneumonia. Follow the above tips in addition to proper medical attention and care.