Just like humans, our loyal canine companions can also experience the discomfort of a sore throat.
Although it might cause them some temporary unease, a dog's sore throat will often improve with simple home remedies.
It's fairly common for dogs to have a cough or a sore throat. They just need the correct remedy and some tender, loving care to get back on track and be their jolly selves again!
How Do Dogs Get Sore Throats?
Tonsillitis refers to the inflammation of the tonsils—small masses of tissue located in the back of the throat.
Just like humans, dogs have tonsils, too, which can get infected or inflamed, making swallowing a painful task for our furry friends.
Causes of tonsillitis in dogs include bacterial and viral infections and chronic vomiting.
Strep throat, known as "streptococcal pharyngitis," is an infection caused by the Streptococcus bacterium. When a dog catches strep throat, the bacteria infect the back of their throat, leading to inflammation and discomfort.
Symptoms include a sore throat or signs of discomfort when swallowing. Your dog might also cough, drool more than usual, or not want to eat because it hurts to swallow.
Kennel cough is a common respiratory illness in dogs.
Dogs can catch kennel cough from various places, not just kennels. Parks, doggy daycares, or even daily walks are potential sources of infection.
Dogs with kennel cough often exhibit a dry, hacking cough, as if something is stuck in their throat. This coughing is sometimes forceful enough to cause them to gag or retch. A sore throat often accompanies this infection.
Besides the noticeable cough, other symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, and, in some cases, a mild fever.
Different viruses and bacteria can cause respiratory infections in dogs. When dogs catch one of these bugs, they start coughing, sneezing, or experiencing runny noses. These symptoms make it obvious that something is bothering their throat and respiratory system.
A dog's energy levels also dip when they have a respiratory infection. They might seem less playful or want to rest more than usual.
Refusing to eat is another sign to look out for since sore throats make swallowing food uncomfortable.
Swallowing an Abrasive Object
When a dog swallows a foreign object, like a stick, bone fragment, or even a toy, it can scratch or injure the inside of their throat. The dog might feel pain or discomfort every time they swallow, making eating or drinking a challenging task.
A dog that has swallowed something abrasive will show signs like coughing, trying to clear their throat, or refusing to eat. They might also drool more than usual or seem restless, trying to find a comfortable position.
Pulling at the Leash
Dogs love to explore their surroundings, and sometimes, their excitement makes them pull at their leash during walks. However, the collar ends up pressing against the dog's throat, causing irritation.
Pulling at the leash can lead to coughing, gagging, or making choking sounds during or after walks. You will see your dog rubbing their neck with their paws to soothe the discomfort. Additionally, they might become reluctant to wear a collar or go on walks, associating the experience with pain.
To avoid this issue, use a harness that distributes pressure across the dog's chest and back instead of focusing it on the throat.
Symptoms of Sore Throat in Dogs
Dogs can't tell us when their throat hurts, but they show signs that give us clues:
- Hoarse Sound: If your dog's bark or vocalizations are different, that may indicate a sore throat.
- Excessive Drooling: If you see more drool than usual, it could mean they're feeling pain in their throat.
- Lack of Appetite: Eating becomes painful for dogs with a sore throat.
- Difficulty Swallowing: Struggling or hesitating to swallow is a symptom of throat pain.
- Lethargy: Dogs often become less active or sleepy when feeling unwell.
- Coughing and Sneezing: Both are signs of throat irritation.
- Runny Nose: Like humans with colds, dogs can get a runny nose with a sore throat.
- Fever: A higher body temperature indicates that your dog is fighting off an infection.
- Depression: Dogs get moody or seem down when they're not feeling their best.
Seek Out a Veterinarian After 24 Hours of Symptoms
Most sore throat symptoms resolve themselves after 24 hours. However, if a day has passed and your furry friend still has that nagging discomfort, it's time to see your vet. Only specialized care will uncover any underlying cause behind your dog's sore throat.
8 Home Remedies for Your Dog's Sore Throat
Once you've identified the source of your dog's sore throat, it's time to combat it with the proper home remedy.
Right off the bat, be wary of using cough syrup or other human meds as a dog sore throat remedy. In a best-case scenario, your dog's body will not respond to the medicine; in a worst-case scenario, it will add to the pain and discomfort.
Also, the concept of holding water in the back of the throat and swishing it around is not natural for dogs. Don't expect your pooch to gargle with saltwater!
In case of an allergic reaction, check your dog's teeth and gums for anything causing an abscess and bring it to your vet's attention.
During recovery, we recommend you hydrate yourdog's dry food. Hydration will alleviate your dog's discomfort when food goes down the throat.
1. Manuka Honey
Manuka honey, among numerous other medicinal qualities, is a natural remedy for sore throats in dogs.
How to use: Feed 1 teaspoon of Manuka honey per 10 pounds of body weight. You can mix honey with pure lemon juice. Do not feed more than 2-3 times per day; too much honey may lead to weight gain.
2. Herbal Tea
Lemon, sage, peppermint, and thyme are effective herbs for soothing your dog's throat.
3. Fresh Garlic
Fresh garlic has impressive antimicrobial properties that will help soothe your dog's sore throat.
How to use: Feed the garlic fresh, as dogs find it easy to chew. Don't worry about it being too hot — dogs do not perceive its spiciness as humans do. The best way to get the medicinal qualities of garlic is to use a fresh-cut clove. Jarred chopped garlic provides flavor but no medicinal qualities.
Be sure to follow our feeding guidelines to reap the most out of garlic's healing properties:
- 5 pounds of body weight: ⅙ teaspoon
- 10 pounds of body weight: ⅓ teaspoon
- 15 pounds of body weight: ½ teaspoon
- 20 pounds of body weight: ⅔ teaspoon
- 30 pounds of body weight: 1 teaspoon
4. Soaking in Warm Water
Soak your dog in a tub of warm water for 20 minutes every day. Let your dog breathe in the steamy air to open their nasal passages and soothe their sore throat.
5. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne has capsaicin, an active component that blocks pain receptors.
How to use: Mix a pinch of cayenne with the water and honey. Your dog may not enjoy the initial burning sensation.
The environment in which many dogs live is saturated with yeasts, molds, fungi, and parasites. When your dog's body is under stress, these parasites and yeasts multiply.
A natural wormer, Para-Yeast contains a mixture of cleansing herbs. Use Para-Yeast if your dog has:
- Been treated regularly for worms
- Recurring ear infections
- Eye irritations, swelling of eyelids, or dry eye
- A sore throat
7. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil's anti-inflammatory properties will help address the underlying cause of the sore throat.
How to use: Feed 1/2 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight daily. Do not feed to dogs with pancreatitis, who find it difficult to break down and absorb fats efficiently.
8. Bone Broth
Warm bone broth is soothing for a dog's sore throat. It's also nutritious and can help if your dog doesn't feel like eating their regular food.
Soothe Your Dog's Sore Throat With Our Home Remedies!
Dogs get sore throats on a regular basis; fortunately, this temporary inconvenience only lasts up to a couple of days unless there's an underlying condition causing it. As long as the immune system gets the support it needs, your dog will fight off the infection and rediscover their peace of mind. For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us and check out our blog!
Volhard Dog Nutrition and its expert nutritionists are now offering online consultations to help more dog parents discover why, what, and how to feed their dogs the healthiest of foods! Speaking to a Volhard nutritionist will help you understand the inseparable relationship between healthy food, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. If you're interested in contacting one of our Volhard nutritionists, don't hesitate to access our consultation page!