What to do if your dog is coughing

A dog coughing isn’t always the sign of a respiratory problem, but it’s still a good idea to get your pup checked by a veterinarian.

The causes of a dog coughing could be varied and sundry—it could be anything and it could be nothing. That is why your best bet is to have your dog checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible. When a cough’s origin is a mystery, pet owners should avoid giving their dog a cough suppressant. The medicine could mask clinical signs of an underlying illness, and your vet’s ability to diagnose it will be handicapped by the effects of the medicine. A complete picture of your dog’s symptoms will allow your vet to make the right diagnosis and get your beloved pet breathing well again. Remember that coughing is sometimes a simple reflex for expelling irritating dust particles caught in the lungs.

Why is my dog coughing?

There are two common causes of dog coughing that can be found. The different symptoms reflect different issues in the respiratory system.

If the dog is able to take deep breaths and is coughing loud, long coughs, it likely means the problem is in the upper part of the respiratory system. Big coughs mean the dog is able to take deep breaths and his lungs are able to inflate properly. Such coughs are associated with infections in the superior pulmonary system. These are usually benign infections, but it is still a good idea to make an appointment with your vet to have it checked out and prevent further complications.

Infections of the upper respiratory system:

  • Pharyngitis
  • Laryngitis
  • Tracheitis

The other main type of infection is caused by the inhalation of pathogens. A dog coughing because of this will have small, quiet coughs, sometimes referred to as silent coughs. In this instance, the cough doesn’t produce any mucus, but rather indicates that the lungs can no longer inflate properly. The dog is now suffering from a diminished breathing capacity.

Infections of the lower respiratory system:

  • Bronchopneumonia
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Emphysema

When the problem isn’t a respiratory one

A dog coughing can be the sign of an illness somewhere else in the dog’s system. It could be caused by a tapeworm in the intestines, a phenomenon mostly seen in puppies. In this situation, the dog has to be de-wormed. Another potential illness is a cardiac cough, which can indicate heart problems. This symptom is seen mostly in older dogs.

Is my dog coughing something to be concerned about?

It is a good idea to call your veterinarian if your dog’s cough doesn’t go away. It is always wiser to rule out something serious than take a chance by leaving it alone.

What to do if your dog is coughing
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