Coughing in Dogs

Coughing in Dogs: Common Causes and Treatment Options

What is it?

Coughing in dogs is a reflex action that helps to clear the airways of irritants or foreign objects. It is characterized by a sudden, forceful expulsion of air from the lungs, often accompanied by a distinctive sound. Coughing can be caused by a variety of factors, including respiratory infections, allergies, heart disease, or other medical conditions.

How is it Treated?

The treatment of coughing in dogs depends on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Mild cases may be managed through rest, hydration, and environmental changes. More severe cases may require prescription medication, diagnostic tests, and veterinary care to address the underlying cause of the cough.

Breed Predispositions

Chihuahuas Pugs French Bulldogs Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Boston Terriers Yorkshire Terriers Jack Russell Terriers Shih Tzus Maltese Miniature Schnauzers


Maria had always been attentive to her playful Pug, Biscuit, who brought joy to her life with his adorable antics. Recently, however, she noticed that Biscuit had developed a persistent cough that left him struggling for breath. Alarmed by this sudden change in her beloved pet’s health, Maria knew it was time to consult her trusted veterinarian.

Dogs have many different health problems, including respiratory diseases. One of the dogs’ most common respiratory diseases is canine cough (also known as the case of kennel cough). Cough is the most common illness a dog can have. However, it is not just a sign of disease; it’s a natural defense mechanism that helps keep your pet healthy dog.

Coughing has many causes, like sneezing, fever, runny nose, and nasal discharge. Like Kennel cough, it usually occurs when puppies come down with the virus at six weeks. Puppies who contract this illness often develop pneumonia, which may be fatal.

Common Causes of Coughing in Dogs

A cough in a dog can point to many causes, such as allergies, respiratory problems, heart disease, airway obstructions, and exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, allergens like pollen, dust mites, and mold spores can cause an inflammatory response in the dog’s respiratory system leading to coughing. This coughing type is often called “allergic bronchitis” or “allergic asthma.”

On the other hand, several infectious respiratory diseases, including parainfluenza, distemper virus, adenovirus type 2 and influenza A, can cause a dog to cough. In addition to coughing, they may experience fever, labored breathing and runny eyes or nose.

Other reasons for coughing can be attributed to kennel cough or Bordetella bronchiseptica, which is highly contagious and common in young puppies who are kept together in group settings like boarding kennels or puppy classes; reacts poorly to vaccination; bears poor nutrition; are exposed to cold temperatures or climate changes; has been recently wormed with ivermectin or has had its heartworm prevention stopped too suddenly.

Heartworm disease is also known to cause coughing due to the parasites residing within dogs’ pulmonary arteries. Heart failure then makes up for another significant cause for a barking or honking kind of an inhaling–exhaling sound known as exercise intolerance or ‘tic-tac’ cough & occurs when the episodes could become more noticeable during walks.

Lower airway obstructions may lead to increased effort in breathing, which further causes dogs to develop dry irritating coughs— inducing hairs on-end feelings —called ‘reverse sneezing’ episodes that commonly occur by over-excitement/pulling on their collars too hard while going out on walks as well.

Symptoms of Dog Cough

Dogs cough when they’re sick. They cough because they inhale mucus through their nose and throat. The airway becomes blocked, causing them to cough. When a dog coughs, he may not be able to breathe correctly. He may choke on his phlegm (mucus). Or he may vomit the stuff back up.

Coughing is a clinical sign of canine cough. The apparent symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, dry cough, and coughing fits. Coughing may accompany a fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing.

If your dog frequently coughs, consult your veterinarian. Your vet can diagnose whether your dog has flea allergies, asthma, pneumonia, heart disease, or another condition that causes a dog to cough frequently.

Symptoms of Dog Cough

Diagnosis of Kennel Cough

Vets use several methods to diagnose canine cough. The most common way is to examine a dog’s nose and throat. They may also take a sample of mucus from the back of the throat, called a tracheal wash, or swab the inside of the nostrils.

If a vet suspects a dog has a canine cough, they will perform a bronchoscopy, which involves inserting a long tube through the mouth and down the windpipe (trachea) into the lungs. This allows the doctor to view the airway and collect samples of mucus.

Another diagnostic tool used by veterinarians is a chest radiograph. This test uses X-rays to create pictures of the heart, lungs, and ribs. Vets often combine this test with a bronchoscopy because the two tests help determine whether there is inflammation in the lower respiratory tract.

Treatment for Coughing in Dogs

Talk to your vet about the causes and treatment options. There are several different treatments available for canine cough. Treatments may include antibiotics, antihistamines, decongestants, cough suppressants, expectorants (e.g., guaifenesin), and antitussives (e.g., dextromethorphan). Antitussive drugs work by reducing coughing and clearing mucus from the lungs. They may be used alone or in combination with other medications.

Treatment for coughing in dogs
  • Antibiotics are typically prescribed for bacterial infections, such as those associated with upper respiratory tract disease. The most commonly recommended antibiotic is amoxicillin, although some veterinarians recommend adding Clavamox to prevent the development of resistant bacteria.
  • Antihistamines are effective against allergic reactions, including those associated with canine cough. Antihistamines commonly include diphenhydramine hydrochloride, chlorpheniramine maleate, cetirizine dihydrochloride, fexofenadine hydrochloride, loratadine, levocetirizine, and terfenadine.
  • Decongestants reduce swelling and inflammation in the airways. Some common decongestant medications include pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, phenylephrine HCl, oxymetazoline hydrochloride, xylometazoline hydrochloride (brand name Afrin), and naphazoline hydrochloride.
  • Cough suppressants suppress the cough reflex. Some common medications used to suppress coughing include codeine phosphate, hydrocodone bitartrate, oxycodone hydrochloride, and morphine sulfate.
  • Expectorants help loosen phlegm and mucus in the lungs. Guaifenesin is a common expectorant drug. Other expectorants include carbocysteine, chondroitin sulfate, glycopyrrolate, and sodium bicarbonate.

Prevention for Cough in Dogs

If you’re concerned about your pet catching canine cough, there are several ways to prevent it.

  1. Vaccinate small dogs against canine cough.
  2. Please keep your pets away from sick and infected dogs and clean places where dogs may contact them.
  3. Wash your hands frequently after handling your dog.
  4. Avoid sharing food and water bowls with your dog.
  5. Use disposable gloves when cleaning his kennel or crate.
  6. Disinfect toys, bedding, and grooming equipment regularly.
  7. Wipe down surfaces your dog often uses, such as door handles, countertops, and furniture.
  8. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  9. Stay home if you feel ill.
  10. Consult your veterinarian if symptoms persist. Quarantine periods vary depending on the type of facility but typically range from seven to 30 days. If the cough is severe, take the dog to the vet immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! Canine Cough (kennel cough) is a respiratory disease caused by common viruses. It is characterized by coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes pneumonia. The virus responsible for this condition is Bordetella bronchiseptica. This virus is usually found in dogs, cats, ferrets, guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, hamsters, and mice.

Cold air causes cough in dogs because of the dryness of the air due to low humidity. The dry air makes the mucus thicker and more challenging to clear from the lungs. This results in coughing.

If you do not treat your dog’s Canine Cough, you risk serious health problems for your pet. If you leave your dog’s Canine cough untreated, he could develop secondary infections such as congestive heart failure, life-threatening pneumonia, bronchitis, and even due to heart disease in dogs. As a result, your dog might become very ill and die from severe illness.

Older dogs and cats make s weird sounds like a goose when they cough because their airways are narrow, and if you try to clear them out, they choke. The best way to prevent this is to keep your dog away from food while your dog is eating and make him chew his food thoroughly before swallowing.

It may be severe if your dog can’t stop coughing, has a fever, is not shaking, or has difficulty breathing. A coughing dog can signify many things, including an infection in the dog’s heart and lungs or other respiratory problems. If your dog consistently coughs and has trouble breathing, she should see a veterinarian immediately.

There are many possible causes for your dog’s coughing and gagging, including but not limited to: a respiratory infection (like cold, flu, or bronchitis), an allergic reaction to something in the environment (dust mites, pet dander), foreign body stuck in your dog’s airway (something might be lodged in their airways), asthma/ COPD, cancer. Diagnosing the underlying cause will help determine the best course of treatment.

Some dogs occasionally cough, but this is not indicative of anything serious. However, veterinary treatment is needed immediately if your dog coughs persistently or has other signs of illness, such as fever, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Some dogs will cough out phlegm; others may have a dry, hacking cough. If your dog coughs, give them a small drink of water and plenty of hay or fresh vegetables. Try to keep their coat clean, as this can worsen the problem.

Irritation and a chronic cough can last from a few days to weeks. It is usually short-lived and goes away on its own, but if it does not go away or is persistent, you may need to take your dog to the veterinarian for an evaluation.

You can check it by performing a “tooth tilting” examination. Then, you will need to lean forward and look into the dog’s mouth while they are exhaling deeply. Check for saliva, mucus, temperature changes (higher on cold days), chestiness/brevity of breath (indicating obstruction), increased respiratory rate, and an abnormal noise when breathing in (known as crackles). You can also listen to your dog’s heart and check for unusual sounds caused by mucus.

Coughing is a natural process that all dogs experience from time to time. Dogs may have an occasional cough which is normal. However, if your dog coughs constantly or produces mucus, it may indicate a health problem, and you should call your veterinarian for an examination.

A dog can suddenly start coughing for many reasons. One reason is that they might have caught a cold or the flu, and their cough is just a sign of their illness. Another reason is that they might be allergic to something; their cough indicates that allergy.

Sometimes dogs will inhale something (like cigarette smoke) which will cause them to develop a cough. And finally, dogs will sometimes get excited and start barking or panting rapidly due to the excitement of meeting someone new or detecting danger nearby.

Your dog may cough in his sleep because of cold or other causes, such as asthma. However, it’s also possible he coughs up water due to the dry air in winter. So if your dog continually coughs during the night and has a low fever, you should bring him to the vet for an assessment.

Some dogs have trouble breathing between coughing fits because their ribcage is compressed. This can make it difficult for them to breathe enough air, and they may cough up blood. If your dog has trouble breathing this way, encourage him to rest as much as possible and give him fluids (water or electrolyte solution) to replace the fluid lost through his coughing. You might also need to see a vet if the problem persists.

Dogs with kennel cough usually last for a short time. However, a veterinarian should be consulted if it only improves within 48 hours. The cough may have more severe causes, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Treatment will likely require antibiotics and rest for the dog if significant breathing difficulty is involved.

Some people give their dogs herbal teas or cough syrups. Others provide them with rawhide chews or a little chicken broth to drink.

A few things can help determine why your dog is coughing. First, many of the same tests that can be used to diagnose a respiratory infection, like a chest x-ray, can also be used to look for inflammation and irritation in the bronchial tree (the tubes connecting the lungs to the rest of the body).

This may cause coughing as part of an overall immune response. Other tests may include blood work (to rule out other conditions) and an ultrasound exam (to look for structural abnormalities or problems with airflow through specific organs in their respiratory system).

You should call your vet if you notice your dog coughing more than usual and it doesn’t seem to improve. The cough may be a sign of a health problem and needs to be investigated.

When coughing becomes a habit, it can indicate serious health problems. For example, coughing that lasts more than 24 hours or occurs with other respiratory infections may indicate pneumonia, bronchitis, or another type of cough.

A discharge from the lungs and chest pain are also indications to seek medical attention. Coughing is severe when incapacitating, turns into bronchitis or pneumonia, and lasts more than a week.

Very serious. Tracheal collapse can quickly lead to asphyxiation, a death caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *