Although similar to humans, dog coughing can be caused by various reasons. Some are harmless, and others are more serious and can be a symptom of underlying health issues. It is important for dog owners to determine a simple cough from a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary care. Here is an outline of the possible causes of dog coughing with treatments.
1. A simple dog cough
Sometimes dog coughs are caused by harmless reasons. Your pooch might have breathed in some dust, hair, or a bug which caused a temporary irritation. This usually lasts for only a few minutes. At times, it may last for a few days caused by a common cold.
Monitor your dog closely and pay attention if there are additional symptoms that may manifest. If it lasts for more than five days without improvement, it is best to pay a visit to the vet.
2. Dog coughing due to foreign object blockage
Dogs are naturally inquisitive. That being said, they are likely to pick things up in their mouths either to chew or swallow them. Oftentimes, this results in a foreign object getting stuck in his throat or even enter the lungs.
In this condition, dogs may start coughing violently with a gagging sound. It is often accompanied by lip licking or attempts to swallow. If she cannot cough it out after many attempts, it is time to make an appointment with the vet. Partial blockages are usually removed through surgical procedures. Prevent throat infection or blockages by undergoing immediate treatment.
3. Reverse sneeze
Technically, reverse sneezing is not a form of cough. However, the sound of reverse sneezing is commonly mistaken as coughing or choking. The air is instead pulled rapidly, creating noisy sounds in the nose. This condition is said to be typically found in small breeds especially brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs such as pug, Pekingese, shih-tzu, and the like.
Reverse sneezing is triggered by an irritant that can be from a simple excitement, pollen, too-tight collar, or sudden change in temperature. The mentioned irritants can cause a spasm of the throat.
You may try to gently massage or rub his throat to help ease the irritant. However, if the case is persistent and worsens, you may want to bring him to the vet for proper treatment.
4. Dog coughing due to kennel cough
A deep, dry cough, sneezing, gagging, and in worst cases, vomiting, are usually caused by kennel cough or any viral or bacterial infection. This condition is much more serious than a simple cough. It is highly contagious amongst other dogs. As such, it can be quite a problem when it occurs in boarding kennels and pet shelters. Observe your dog for two to fourteen days after contact as this is the period where symptoms may show. Unfortunately, this condition can reoccur when the pooch is stressed.
Prevent this type of cough by keeping your canine fit and healthy. Avoid stress and places with extreme temperature. Minimise exposure with other dogs especially in enclosed places. Ask for a vaccination from your vet before going to events where your furry friend will be exposed to other dogs.
5. Dog coughing due to pneumonia
A dog coughing that sounds wet, phlegmy ‘moist’ can be a symptom of a lung problem. It may be caused by a build-up of fluid in the lungs. The presence of such fluid or phlegm indicates the case of pneumonia. Other symptoms may show, such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Breathing difficulty
Further, canines at risk are the ones with undeveloped or weakened immune systems. This includes puppies and senior dogs. Other causes that may result in pneumonia include the following:
- Secondary ailment from the intake of foreign objects
- Exposure from toxic substances such as petroleum distillates or gasoline
6. Dog coughing due to heart problems
Check if your dog is coughing at night as, unfortunately, it can be a symptom of heart disease in canines. Coughing due to heart problems usually occurs when sleeping, lying down, or when he gets too excited. If your dog is already diagnosed with a heart problem, it could indicate that the illness is progressing. Further symptoms include:
- Bluish colour of the tongue
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased level of activity
- Difficulty in breathing
- Either too fast or too slow heartbeat
Give extra caution to dog breeds prone to heart disease such as the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Treatments vary on the particular type of heart disease.
7. Collapsing trachea
Tracheal collapse in dogs is a progressive disease that is typically seen in small breeds. Affected dogs produce an episodic cough with a honking sound similar to a goose honk. A cough usually occurs when a dog is collar is too tight. Other symptoms include flu-like symptoms, lethargy, and unhappiness. It is best to take him to the vet upon detecting the signs. Obese dogs and toy breeds are more likely to acquire such illness and can also be triggered in hot, humid weather during outdoor activities.
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Remember that the details above will not serve as a substitute diagnosis for your pet’s health. It is, however, important to know what symptoms to look out for, as these may assist your vet to come up with an accurate diagnosis. Read more pet health advice!