Pneumonia in dogs. Are there home treatments?

pneumonia dogs home treatment
Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Pneumonia is an illness that is usually treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. But you must be wondering if there is any way you can handle the situation at home. Are you scared of vets? Or do you just want to treat your dog naturally?

I know how worrisome this could be, but you should know that pneumonia is very much treatable. So below, I will help you get a better understanding of what pneumonia is, what its causes and symptoms are, and most importantly, what the best home treatments are.

What Is Pneumonia?

Put simply, pneumonia is an ailment that affects the lungs, particularly the air sacs. These tiny parts get infected or inflamed until they fill up with pus as well as fluid. When this happens, a dog will have a hard time breathing.

Canines, regardless of the breed and age, can have this particular disease, but experts say that young puppies are more susceptible to it.

What Are the Causes?

There are many things that can cause pneumonia in dogs, which include the following:

· Irritants

Like human beings, dogs can get pneumonia if they are exposed to irritants, such as aerosol sprays and air pollutants. The same way if they inhale the smoke that comes from tobacco products.

Furthermore, some irritants can get into the lungs through aspiration and can cause inflammation, which can result in pneumonia too.

· Diseases

When a canine’s immune system is compromised due to other illnesses, it will be more prone to respiratory infections, which can then progress to pneumonia.

· Trauma

Injuries, particularly in the chest region, can also cause inflammation in the lungs of canines. This trauma could be due to falling off or even getting hit by a vehicle.

· Viruses

Viruses, such as distemper, parainfluenza, canine influenza, canine flu, as well as adenovirus types 1 and 2, can all cause inflammation of the air sacs in a dog’s lungs.

· Bacteria

In dogs, bacteria like Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Streptococcus zooepidemicus, Pasteurella multocida, Klebsiella pneumoniae, are the most common causes of pneumonia. Like viruses, they can spread from one dog to another.

 What Are the Symptoms?

If you yourself have suffered from pneumonia before, then you can easily tell if your puppy has this type of illness too, because the symptoms are the same.

The dog may experience coughing, hyperventilating, difficulty in breathing, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, and short or shallow breaths. There may also be a yellowish or greenish, sometimes bloody, mucus from the nose after your dog has coughed.

All of these are clear indications of pneumonia in canines. So if you see any of these symptoms, you must act right away so that the illness won’t get worse.

Home Treatment for Pneumonia in Dogs

Just like what we have said above, pneumonia in dogs is treatable. And, yes, you can certainly do the treatment at home without the intervention of a veterinarian as long as the dog’s condition is stable.

Opting for natural remedies is not bad at all as long as you know what you are doing. You must remember one thing, though, if you prefer home treatment for your dog that is suffering from pneumonia, you need to act as soon as possible.

Here are things that you can do at home to alleviate your dog’s condition:

Strengthen the Dog’s Immune System

The best natural defense of your puppy against pneumonia is to strengthen his immune system. The stronger his immunity is, the faster his recovery would be.

First of all, you need to feed him with the right type of food, preferably those that are rich in antioxidants such as apples, beans, berries, plums, cooked potatoes, barley grasses, as well as broccoli. Another essential nutrient that your dog needs to improve his immunity is vitamin C. With this, you should consider adding food items like blueberries, pomegranate, ginger, and grape seed extract.

Furthermore, making sure that your dog is well-hydrated is very important. It is highly recommended that you give him filtered or purified water. 

It is essential that you keep his toys and bowls clean too. And as much as possible, keep him stress-free as stress can also aggravate his condition.

Hydrate the Airways

Usually, in a clinical setting, a veterinarian would administer fluids intravenously, which will help hydrate the airways. But since you are trying to treat your dog at home, you can utilize a humidifier. This will aid in keeping the airways moist.

Another great option in order for you to hydrate your puppy’s airways is to keep a hot shower running and keep your dog in the bathroom (not under the shower). This will allow steam to fill up the room, which will then optimize hydration as your pet breathes. Do this with your poochie for about 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a day.

Perform Percussion Therapy

Percussion therapy, also known as coupage, is a technique used to dislodge or loosen up the mucus and other respiratory secretions. This is usually done after nebulization or vaporization. Take note, though, that if your dog is coughing excessively, this type of therapy should not be done as this might cause him to cough even more. And besides, the act of coughing alone already expels the mucus.

Here is how to do coupage properly:

·         Locate the chest area, which is where the ribs are located.

·         If you have a tiny dog, it could be best to have him sit next to you on a couch, bed, or even the floor. But if your pup is medium or large in size, then it would work better to be standing over him.

·         Start by cupping your hands. This will allow a ‘pocket’ of air between your palms and your dog’s chest. For a small pooch, using one hand will suffice. But for a bigger canine, both palms should be utilized.

·         Thump both sides of the chest following a rhythm (just like when you are drumming). Be firm so you can effectively dislodge the secretion. But don’t be too harsh as that might hurt your puppy too.

·         If you have a little puppy, you won’t have to move your cupped hands around. But for larger dogs, you need to slowly move your cupped hands from one section to another to ensure that the entire region will be worked on.

Important note: To reduce the risk of food aspiration into the airways, do not feed your dog before nebulization/vaporization and percussion therapy.

Control the Temperature

Extreme temperatures may trigger coughing and intensify the other symptoms of pneumonia in dogs. Therefore, you must keep your pooch away from places that are too warm or too cold. It would be better to keep him indoors and maintain room temperature.

If the weather permits, you can take him out too for moderate physical activities or exercises, such as walking, as this will help in strengthening his immunity.

Avoid Giving OTC Cough Suppressants

There are numerous cough suppressants that you can purchase over-the-counter, but it would be better to avoid them. Coughing can aid in expelling the mucus, and this will help in flushing the infection out of your dog’s system

Allow Your Dog to Get Plenty of Rest

When you are sick, your doctor advises you to get plenty of rest. The same applies to your ill puppy. Allow him to get as much rest as he can so he will be able to regain his energy. Keep his surroundings clean and find a comfortable spot where he can sleep. It is also essential that you monitor him especially if he has a fever.

Do not force him to engage in physical activities if he doesn’t want to, as this will only stress him out.

How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Recover From Pneumonia?

Pneumonia will take its course. But you can expect your canine to fully recover from it naturally within two to three weeks. During this period, since there are no antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications involved, be sure to focus on boosting your pet’s immunity, as well as vaporization and percussion therapy. It may take time, but your dog will certainly recover. You will see some improvements soon enough.

If he starts going back to his normal activities and if he shows cheerfulness, then these are signs that he is feeling a lot better.

Final Thoughts

Although pneumonia is usually handled with the help of a veterinarian and prescribed medications, it is something that can be naturally treated at home too. So if for any reason you are not comfortable going to a vet’s clinic or you don’t want to give chemically-based medications to your pet, you can stick with home treatment such as vaporization and coupage. But remember that this can only be effectively done on dogs with stable condition, or if you have caught pneumonia in your puppy early enough.

If his condition doesn’t seem to be improving within 2 to 3 weeks, you need to seek the help of a medical professional.