My Dog and I Take a Tandem Cure for Coughing

My apologies for being scarce last week, fellow Dogsters. I was felled by the flu -a particularly virulent case of it - and renderedpretty muchuseless...


My apologies for being scarce last week, fellow Dogsters. I was felled by the flu -a particularly virulent case of it – and renderedpretty muchuseless and unavailable to anyone other than my beloved dogs.

Happily, fearing the worst this winter, last monthI laid in a supply of Umcka Cold Care, the homeopathic remedyI highly recommend forcombating the common cold. Umcka works to reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms, and shortens theduration of this terrible torment – which was particularly terrible for me this time out, because no sooner did I succumb than the temperature in New York City suddenly dropped, making each dog walk a violent shock to my system.

I’m on the mend now thanks to Umcka, with the flu in its final stage of symptoms: a barking cough that chokes me up whenever I’m trying to complete an important business phone call. But the sad fact is that, at my local animal shelter, dogs with kennel cough – basically the K9 equivalent of the cough I’m struggling with- are not shown to potential adopters. Tragically, some of the very sweetest dogsget a death sentencedue toa cough just like the one Ihave now.

There is a ray of sunshine, however:Dogs with thecough may be pulled by pre-approved rescuers (of which I’m one) and nursed back to health, then adopted out. This safety net is called New Hope, and it’s one of many excellent programs created by the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals.

So, while I and my fellow flu-sufferers may grouse about having to do dog-walk dutyin the freezing cold while feverish and miserable, here’s proof that suffering is relative: Sweet shelter dogs with kennel cough woulddo anything for the chanceto walk by your side in the freezing cold,then snuggle rightup beside you to keep you warm in bed while you convalesce together.

And here’s another ray of sunshine: Umcka works wonders to cure kennel cough in dogs! I’ve healed several shelter dogs with Umcka’s cherry-flavored soothingsyrup; it takes about five days. And it’s perfectly safe for dogs to take, says homeopathic vet Dr. Jill Elliot. Some dogs let you squirt the syrup into their mouths with asyringe; others prefer it hidden in a chunk of tasty canned food.

One dog who likes his Umcka concealed in canned food is a handsome hunk of canineresembling my late dog Sam. They were calling him Willy at the shelter, and you could just tell he hasa heart as big as his head. But what reallycaught my attention – besides the fetching photo of Willy turning his high-beam green eyes to the camera in the photo above – was the detailed description provided by one of the shelter’s dedicated team of volunteers.

These amazing people spend time walking, playing with, photographing, and lavishing TLC on the residentdogs. They dareto let themselves get attached to dogs whose days are numbered, whichisa tremendously courageous and selfless thing to do. Here’s what one volunteer wrote which caused me to fall head-over-heelsfor Willy, sight unseen:

Willy is the most handsome dog, with the most wonderful personality, and was awarded the most wonderful behavior rating of No Concern. He appears housetrained, sighing with relief when we were finally outside. He wags his tail constantly, is super friendly to both people and other dogs, and gives the best dog hugs.”

Sold! After walking my dogs and downing my Umcka, I walked – coughing all the way -up to the shelter tofree Willy. Upon arrival, I saw yet another ray of sunshine: A group of brand-new shelter volunteers being led on an orientation tour. That made the day perfectly full of new hope, coughing notwithstanding.

Once K9Willy and I coughed our wayhome – he is, as the volunteer wrote, perfectly housetrained, and very efficient about doing his business outdoors – I bathed him, gave him hisfirst dose of Umcka,and settled him in his crate with a peanut-butter-loaded Kong. ThenI headed tothe health food storeto re-stockan important pantry item I’d run out of: Manuka honey.

This sweet treat not only tastes great (if you like honey, that is – some people and dogs loathe it); it also has remarkable healing properties- it’s called antibacterial antioxidant honey (AAH for short) and it works beautifully to help combat the common cold. In some parts of the world, Manuka honey is also used topically in hospitalsas a wound dressing forburns; it works beautifully in that application too. If you or someone you love is feeling under the weather, by all means gift them with Manuka honey. It’s a tremendously thoughtful present.

The brand I got, Airborne, is imported from New Zealand.Pricey it may be (one jarcost $18.99), but right now it’s a necessity.I’ve beendrinking it in my ginger tea and adding it to all my dogs’ food, so they don’t accidentally catch what ails Willy. Kennel cough is highly contagious between dogs, but it can’t be caught by humans or cats. (Incidentally,Willy happens to be the first dog I’ve ever met who refuses to eat dog food sprinkled with cinnamon!Go figure.)

What’s your favorite home remedyfor coping with the common cold?Kindly share it in the comments!

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