Dog Coughing: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and More!

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sick dog coughing and gagging

When humans choke on something, they cough. When they have the flu, they cough. Canines are very much like us in this aspect. A dog coughing can mean a number of things, from foreign bodies lodged in their throat to pneumonia. As a pet owner, it’s your duty to look after your dog’s health. The next time you hear Fido coughing think of phlegm, the flu virus, or even bronchitis. Keep reading to learn all about puppy coughing.

My Dog Keeps Coughing: Is It Serious?

When your dog coughs, something isn’t right. Something could be blocking their airway organs, for instance, a toy. They could also have a localized inflammation in the respiratory system. Or they may be coming down with a serious case of bronchial disease.

Why Is My Dog Coughing? There Are Many Potential Reasons

Cough sounds can mean any number of things. Some are not so serious while others can be life-threatening.

For starters, dogs cough when they come into contact with allergens. Polen triggers an allergic reaction for some dogs, for instance. This can make their throat swell up, causing them to cough to relieve the itching.

Secondly, excess nasal discharge could also be the culprit of the coughing. Just like we cough when we have phlegm build-up in our throats, dogs cough to get rid of this uncomfortable feeling.

A more serious reason could be a severe bordetella bronchiseptica. It can cause chronic bronchitis and harm your dog’s lungs to a point of no return. This affects puppies, older dogs, and doggos with weak immune systems the most.

In the case of small breed dogs, a collapsed trachea may be to blame. Toy breeds are more prone to having their trachea (or windpipe) collapse when they’re adults.

labrador dog keeps coughing

Dog Coughing and Gagging Because of Fungal Infections or Parasites

A more common explanation for a dog coughing could be an upper respiratory infection. Viruses, fungi, and parasites can carry infectious diseases, such as pneumonia. This is a serious illness you need to look out for, as it could be deadly.

Canine distemper, which is spread by a virus, is also not unheard of. It’s responsible for a “wet cough,” a telltale sign that your pup has gotten a viral infection, and should be looked at by a vet. Luckily, there’s a vaccine against this disease.

Dog Cough Caused by Heart Problems

Heart problems (such as mitral valve disease or a heart murmur) can also cause dog coughing. If the heart isn’t pumping blood correctly, fluid may pool up in the lungs. That’s when the coughing sounds and trouble breathing start. If your pup’s breed is susceptible to heart conditions and they start coughing loudly, it’s time to see the vet.

Help! My Dog Is Coughing Like Something Is Stuck in His Throat!

Dogs love eating things that are not food. Toys, socks, shoes—you name it. Sometimes, a dog coughing is a dog trying to expel a foreign object from their body. They can easily get stuck in the trachea and lower your pup’s ability to breathe.

Dog Choking Symptoms

The symptoms of a dog choking are easy to identify. Fido will drool, look panicked, and dry heaving if they’re trying to spit out foreign bodies. They may also retch, gag, or rub their faces on the ground.

Performing the Heimlich for Dogs

If Fido is having a hard time passing whatever is lodged in their trachea, you need to help them. Otherwise, they could stop breathing and potentially die. Get ready to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

First, put your arms around your pup, make a fist and push up and forward behind their ribcage. Then, lay them on their side. Place one hand on their back and the other to squeeze the abdomen upwards and forwards. Hopefully, after following these steps, the object will have been pushed out. Gently open your dog’s mouth and pull it out.

woman using nebulizer on coughing dog

Dry Hacking Cough? It May Be Kennel Cough!

Kennel cough is a highly infectious disease in dogs. It’s passed from dog to dog and through the air or any hard surfaces. Think of it as like a human common cold.

What Is Kennel Cough in Dogs?

In a nutshell, it’s an upper respiratory tract infection. It causes dog coughing and can be quite a bummer for your pup. It can be caused by the parainfluenza virus or the bordetella bronchiseptica virus.

Dog Kennel Cough Sound: What Does Kennel Cough Sound Like?

The most common symptom of the kennel cough is the characteristic forceful and persistent cough. It’s raspy and dry, not wet like the cough caused by bronchial disease.

How Long Does Kennel Cough Last?

How long the kennel cough symptoms last varies from dog to dog. It also depends on what bug is responsible for causing the cough in the first place. If they’re otherwise healthy, a dog coughing due to kennel cough shouldn’t last more than a few days. Especially if your pup is doing a course of antibiotics, as prescribed by their vet.

Kennel Cough Treatment and the Kennel Cough Vaccine

Kennel cough in dogs is easily preventable. There’s a very effective intranasal vaccine your vet can give your pup. Once they have it, the chances of your dog getting this illness are much lower.

Doggie Flu: Do Dogs Get Colds?

You may not know this, but dogs can get the flu, too! Canine influenza is similar to the flu we get in the wintertime. Your pup will get a stuffy nose and throat and feel under the weather.

Wet Cough and Other Symptoms of Dog Flu

When the large airways are obstructed with phlegm, your dog will inevitably cough. They’ll also drip snot from their nose, feel tired all the time, and won’t be as playful as usual. Thankfully, these symptoms are likely to go away not long after they appear, especially if Fido is a healthy pup.

Other Dog Sounds Worth Paying Attention To

Besides a dog coughing, there are other sounds to pay attention to. They may tell you your pup is sick, giving you enough time to take them to the vet. A watchful pet owner is a responsible pet owner!

Dog Sneezing

A dog sneezing could also mean a number of things. More often than not, it means an allergic reaction or a ticklish nose. But, if it persists, it could spell trouble.

Dog Dry Heaving

Dry heaving is not that uncommon. It could mean Fido is having shortness of breath or that there’s something wrong with their respiratory system. Either way, it’s worth having it checked out.

big sick dog is coughing

The Dog Coughing Treatment Depends on the Diagnosis

As you now know, there are many types of coughing. All of them mean different things. Thus, it makes sense for there to be dozens of types of treatment. From antihistamines to surgery, there are many ways to stop dog coughing for good.

Always Take Your Coughing Dog to a Vet!

There’s no one better qualified than your vet to tell you what’s wrong with Fido. They could diagnose a viral infection, a collapsed trachea, or even give your pup the bordetella vaccine. Your vet will know how to read Fido’s symptoms and understand what’s put them in their condition.

Common Questions on Dog Coughing

Is it normal for a dog to cough?

Can dogs get the flu?

What should I do if my dog is coughing?

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