How to Handle a Coughing Dog

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Dogs navigate the world with their nose, and because of this, your dog’s nose comes into contact with a variety of things like dust, germs, and dirt.

Most dogs develop a cough at some point in their lives, and it can be difficult to determine if your dog is responding to an irritant from the environment or a serious health concern. A cough can be a symptom of a number of different problems in dogs. Your dog's breed, age, surroundings, and the kind of cough can all aid your veterinarian in determining the reason of the cough.

Why Do Dogs Cough?

An irritant or foreign object in the trachea or bronchi might trigger the reflexive action of coughing, which is productive. It is a protective mechanism to keep the airways and respiratory rate clear of secretion and foreign material.

A cough is characterized by a quick, powerful breath exhalation. Your description of the kind of the cough (moist, dry, hacking, etc.), when the cough occurs (during rest, activity, night, day, etc.) and if anything brings on coughing is all important information to note, as it can help your veterinarian make a more informed decision about your dog’s care.

Types of Coughing in Dogs

  • Wet coughs, also known as productive coughs, help an animal clear mucus and other matter from the lower respiratory passages. Moist coughs produce phlegm, mucous, or foam.
  • Dry coughs, also known as nonproductive coughs, are coughs with no fluid involved and are more involved in an irritation or constricted airway.
  • A deep, dry, hacking cough that sounds similar to a goose honk is commonly seen in dogs with and sometimes in dogs with tracheal issues.
  • A is similar to a cough, but the irritation originates in the nasal passages. A reverse sneeze is commonly mistaken as a cough, and is commonly seen in small and brachycephalic dogs. In a reverse sneeze, the air is pulled forcefully in through the nose rather than pushed out and sounds like snorting.
  • Acute coughing: occurs suddenly and for a short time.
  • Chronic coughing: occurs again and again for an extended period of time.

Causes of Coughing

A dog may cough for a variety of reasons, but there is usually an underlying cause. All dogs occasionally cough, but only a veterinarian can help you rule out some of these possibilities, allowing you to determine the exact reason of your dog's coughing and provide you with a treatment plan. Here are some of the most frequent causes of dogs coughing.

Kennel Cough

Canine infectious tracheobronchitis, sometimes referred to as kennel cough, is a contagious respiratory condition that affects dogs. If your dog spent time in a kennel, at the groomer, or somewhere else where there are other dogs, they might have become sick. One typical symptom is a deep, dry, honking cough that sounds like a goose honk and gets worse with exertion.


A wet cough, a high temperature, breathing problems, weight loss, and nasal discharge are all signs of pneumonia. Viruses, bacteria, fungus, and parasites are all potential causes of pneumonia.

Foreign Object

A sore throat or anything lodged in your dog's throat might be indicated by an intense cough that sounds more like choking and is accompanied by or efforts to swallow. Dogs can breathe in grass, seeds, dirt, and other substances, and they also risk having little bits of sticks or toys lodged in their trachea. After a few attempts to cough up the foreign item, you should take your dog to the vet right away to have it checked out and have the foreign body removed as soon as possible. In rare circumstances, foreign items might increase the risk of infection and pneumonia.

Heart Disease

Canines with heart issues, such as those with an enlarged heart, a heart murmur, or congestive heart failure, may occasionally cough. Coughing may be brought on by an accumulation of fluid in the lungs, especially while the dog is at rest. Another sign of an enlarged heart is coughing. A cough results from pressure on the lungs brought on by an enlarged heart.

Tracheal Collapse

Although it can occasionally happen in large breed dogs as well, tracheal collapse is most prevalent in overweight toy and tiny types of dogs. These dogs frequently have a dry, honking, chronic cough, which gets worse when the dog gets excited, pulls on the leash, or is lifted up. Maintaining a healthy weight in your dog, using a harness rather than a collar, teaching your dog to walk well on a leash, and, if at all possible, avoiding circumstances that cause your dog to cough are all examples of prevention.

Canine influenza, heartworm illness, chronic bronchitis, and some cancers are additional disorders that might make your dog cough.


Get your dog to the doctor if their cough doesn't go away immediately on their own or if they are coughing hysterically. Most problems caused by coughing are curable or tolerable, particularly if discovered early.


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