Raw Milk: Kennel Cough Preventative?

Every year, the occasional dog gets kennel cough. Some years entire kennels struggle with it. Hege Ingebrigtsen and Per Sverre Simonsen from Fun Racing Kennel in Norway, avoided kennel cough during a year when many kennels had it. They think it is because of Raw Milk.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Published in Hundekjøring #4 2010. Updated 2012. by Monica Celius. Picture: Two healhy and ready dogs from Fun Racing Kennel. Photo: Per Sverre Simonsen.


At the mushing seminar in Kiruna Sweden in 2009 and at the Hakadal Seminar in Norway, Arleigh Reynolds –noted veterinarian, researcher and sprint musher from Alaska– spoke about how raw milk could help protect against kennel cough. 

Hege Ingebrigtsen and Per Sverre Simonsen took what Dr. Reynolds said to heart, and started the process of aquiring raw milk. Their initial idea was that raw milk powder would be the easiest to preserve. The reality was that raw milk powder was not easy to get a hold of. They found Curamed Raw Milk tablets, but it was extremely expensive to use on each of the 30 dogs in the kennel. Additionally, Curamed contains xylitol, which is quite bad for dogs. 

The choice was therefore easy for Ingebrgtsen and Simonsen when a dairy farmer gave them 35 liters (approx. 10 gallons) of raw milk; which they then bottled and frozen. The dogs got around 1 table spoon per dog, per day. They experimented with dosages, and it did not appear that using large amounts or overdosing resulted in side effects such as diarrea. The dogs got raw milk the entire season until easter. The number of kennels who got kennel cough season 2009/10 was great. Some had their training ruined, other had races ruined. 

-Our dogs were healthy from the first day we used raw milk, said Simonsen. 
However, whether that was simply luck or something else, they can’t prove yet. 
-To socialize our puppies and let them experience other things than the kennel, we take them with us everywhere. We had ten puppies that winter and none of them got kennel cough or anything similiar. One thing is certain; we will continue using raw milk, says Simonsen.

The recommended doseage for raw milk is 0.5 liters every day for every 20 dogs. Musher Per Mjærum says that he gives raw milk in the form of ice cubes, using them as snacks after runs.  

  • Facts About Raw Milk.
  • Raw Milk is the first milk a cow produces after calving.
  • It contains high concentrations of antibodies, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Raw milk supports mucosal antibodies which helps booster the bodies immune system. 
  • When aquiring raw milk, make sure that the cow has not recently been on any medicines as they can show up as doping when racing. 
  • Raw milk should be from day two or three after the cow calves. Milk from the first day can be to rich and give the dogs diarrea. 



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