Why Does My Dog Keep Coughing?

Why Does My Dog Keep Coughing?

Dogs coughing can worry us as much as people being sick, maybe even more. They can’t tell us what’s wrong. What makes dogs cough so much, and when should we get help? Your dog’s cough could be a sign of big health issues, like heartworm1 or a weak trachea, especially in small dogs1. Kennel cough spreads fast but often gets better on its own in weeks2. But, when should you worry enough to see a vet? A cough with fever or that lasts over a week means it’s time to act for your dog’s health1.

Knowing why dogs cough—from bad air to sick lungs—helps us care for them better. A cough can be just a small thing or show heart disease3.

Key Takeaways

  • Persistent coughing in dogs may be indicative of serious health issues such as heart disease or collapsing trachea1.
  • Toy breeds are particularly susceptible to certain conditions that trigger chronic coughing1.
  • Kennel cough, while very contagious, often resolves without treatment, but can lead to complications like pneumonia2.
  • Recognizing the urgency of various symptoms can guide dog owners in seeking timely veterinary care1.
  • Regular vet check-ups and understanding the causes of coughing can prevent more serious health issues23.

Understanding Canine Cough: Symptoms and Signs

When your dog coughs, it’s important to find out why. Dogs cough for many reasons. Some can be serious. Knowing the type of cough your dog has helps keep them healthy.

Different Types of Coughs in Dogs

A dry cough in dogs may mean allergies or bronchitis4. This happens when they breathe in things that bother them. A cough that sounds like honking could be kennel cough2. A wet cough could mean pneumonia, especially if your dog also has fever and is tired2. If your dog coughs and gags, it might be choking on something. This needs quick help. Kennel cough may also make a dog cough up white stuff. This shows infection and swelling5.

Kennel cough has a ‘goose honk’ sound. It spreads easily in places where dogs meet5. When your dog’s cough gets worse, it’s time to see the vet.

Recognizing When a Cough Is Cause for Concern

Sometimes a cough is just from dust2. But if it lasts a long time and gets worse, pay attention. A bad cough can mean heart or lung problems, or even cancer4

Certain diseases make dogs cough a lot. Some need medicine for life4. Allergies can also make dogs cough. Even tiny things like seeds can cause big problems. Sometimes surgery is needed to fix it4.

Seeing a vet is very important. They figure out what’s wrong and how to treat it2. Vaccines can protect your dog from some illnesses. The right care can make your dog happy and healthy again5.

Common Ailments Leading to a Dog’s Chronic Cough

If your dog keeps coughing, it could mean several serious health problems. One major issue is heart disease. It makes it hard for the heart to pump blood. This leads to fluid in the lungs, causing coughing. Older dogs are more at risk. This includes the risk of cancers like mast cell tumors and lymphoma. Boxers, Boston terriers, and Golden Retrievers are more likely to get these cancers6. Great Danes and Saint Bernards are more at risk for bone cancer. This illness also causes chronic coughing6.

Kennel cough and pneumonia also lead to dog coughing. Kennel cough causes a dry, hacking cough. Pneumonia makes a moist cough. Small dog breeds often suffer from tracheal collapse, making them cough a lot. Heartworm disease is a hidden danger. It’s spread by mosquitoes and causes a mild but lasting cough. This is dangerous if not found and treated early6.

Fixing dogs when they are young can lower the risk of some cancers. Spaying nearly stops the risk of breast cancer in female dogs6. Dogs that are too heavy have a higher chance of getting diabetes. This affects breeds like Australian Terriers and Standard Schnauzers. Young diabetes is common in Keeshonds and Golden Retrievers6. Chronic conditions and lungworms can cause ongoing coughing. They need the right treatment from a vet.

Knowing the risks for your dog’s breed is important. It helps you act early to keep them healthy. Below is a list of common sicknesses that cause persistent cough in dogs. It shows which breeds are more likely to have these problems:

Disease Common Symptoms At-risk Breeds
Heart Disease Chronic, soft cough All Breeds (especially old age)
Cancer Chronic cough, often with other signs Boxers, Boston Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, Saint Bernards
Diabetes Increased thirst, weight changes Australian Terriers, Schnauzers, Dachshunds, Poodles, Keeshonds, Samoyeds
Heartworm Disease Mild, persistent cough All Breeds (mosquito prevalent areas)

It’s very important to visit the vet often. This is especially true for dogs more likely to get sick. Finding problems early is key to keeping your dog healthy and happy. Early treatment can ease the trouble of chronic coughing.

Why Does My Dog Keep Coughing?

“Why does my dog keep coughing?” This is a question many pet owners ask. A dog’s cough can mean a lot. It could be because of something serious or not. Knowing what the cough sounds like helps figure out the reason1. For example, a kennel cough is often deep, dry, and sounds like a honk. It’s easy to spread among dogs and can turn into pneumonia if not treated, especially in those with weak immune systems13.

The place where a dog lives matters a lot for its cough. Things in the air and being near sick dogs can make coughing worse3. Small dogs, like Yorkshire Terriers, might get a cough that sounds like a honk if they get too excited or move a lot1.

From Allergies to Airways: The Broad Spectrum of Causes

Things like dust, pollen, or smoke can make dogs cough. It sounds dry and annoyed. If a dog has heart disease, it might cough more because there’s fluid in its lungs. This makes them tired and less active1. Coughing can also show heartworm disease, which mosquitoes spread. This needs a lot of treatment1. If the cough gets bad, or if the dog feels very tired, has a fever, or doesn’t want to eat, it’s time to see the vet1.

The Role of the Dog’s Environment in Coughing Episodes

Smoke or dirty air can make coughing worse, especially for dogs with weak tracheas or bronchitis3. Small or flat-faced dogs might “reverse sneeze,” which sounds like coughing. This happens more when they’re around irritable things3. Helping a dog with a cough often starts with making their living area better.

Type of Cough Possible Causes Common Breeds Affected Recommended Action
Deep and Dry Kennel Cough, Allergens All Breeds Seek Veterinary Care1
Deep and Honking Collapsing Trachea, Heart Disease Toy Breeds, e.g., Yorkshire Terriers Manage Excitement/Activity1
Wet and Phlegmy Pneumonia in Puppies or Senior Dogs1 Puppies, Senior Dogs Antibiotics, Rest
High-Pitched Gag Foreign Object, Respiratory Infection All Breeds Immediate Veterinary Examination3

Breaking Down Kennel Cough: A Frequent Culprit

Kennel Cough is common in dogs that are often close together. Places like kennels or daycares. These places might not have good air moving around. It can make dogs cough a lot, even bring up white foam. This cough can also make their throats sore. In Colorado, cases of dog pneumonia have gone up. They have increased by 50% from September to November. This shows we need to act fast to help dogs Treatment for dog coughing7.

Finding out why dogs cough and treating it is very important. More dogs are getting sick with breathing problems in many places. Some pet owners are unsure about getting their dogs vaccinated. This can be risky for all dogs. The Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccine can prevent Kennel Cough. It’s a good way to protect them7.

But this issue affects more than just some areas. In Oregon, over 200 dogs got sick since mid-August. This problem is also seen in ten other states8. Vets need to watch for signs like coughing and sneezing. These are early signs of Kennel Cough. They should report these cases quickly. This helps health experts find and stop the sickness8.

Treating serious cases can cost a lot of money. Hospital stays and care can cost between $15,000 and $20,000. Most dogs get better with treatment. About 75% of them test positive for known germs. But, 25% of dogs have unknown germs making them sick. Treating these cases is hard7.

Stopping this sickness before it starts is the best plan. Dog owners should keep their pets away from busy places. They should keep their shots up to date, like the one for Kennel Cough. They can also get PCR tests for an early diagnosis. Staying away from shared water bowls can help too8.

Dog Coughing and Heart Health: The Heart Disease Connection

If your dog coughs a lot, think about its heart health. Chronic coughing could signal heart disease. This issue might start small but get worse, affecting your dog’s life.

How Canine Heart Conditions Can Lead to Coughing

About 10% of dogs get heart disease in their lives. A lasting cough is a big sign9. Older dogs often face heart issues that make them cough a lot10. Heart trouble can make blood flow poorly, leading to lung fluid and heart swelling. This explains why sick dogs cough and wheeze11.

Identifying Heart-Related Coughs in Dogs

For heart-related coughs, look for a soft cough that gets worse at night. You might also see less energy or stamina9. Doctors use special heart scores to check for heart disease in dogs based on heart size. High scores mean likely heart issues and coughing11. Treatments, like some medicines, start after confirming heart failure and lung issues11. Always test for heartworm if heart disease isn’t causing the cough11.

We must understand how dog heart health and breathing problems link. Early detection and treatment help dogs live better. Thanks to research and studies, we’re getting better at fighting these dog health problems9.

Pneumonia in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Pneumonia is a big health issue for dogs, especially the infectious kind. It’s often caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. This can make dogs cough a lot and have trouble breathing12. It’s really important to notice early symptoms like high fever, runny nose, or a wet cough. Doing so helps start the right treatment for dog coughing early12. Dogs might also show other signs like not wanting to exercise, nose sounds, wheezing, and not breathing right. They could also be very tired, not eat, lose weight, or not drink enough water. All these are signs of this lung problem12.

Diagnosing Pneumonia in Dogs

Treating pneumonia in dogs might need medicines like anti-inflammatory drugs, medicines to open airways, and meds to help cough up mucus12. But, if it’s really bad, dogs might need to stay at the vet to get extra oxygen, antibiotics through a vein, or fluids12. Getting better requires not moving much, resting a lot, steam treatments for easier breathing, and always having water to drink. This stops dehydration12. Also, it’s key to keep sick pets away from others. Things they use like beds, bowls, and leashes should be washed often. Always wash your hands after touching a sick dog12.

Seeing the signs early and knowing how to treat pneumonia is very important. The tips shared can help care for a dog with pneumonia. This helps them get back to being happy and playful.

“Pneumonia may pose a grave threat to our canine companions, but with prompt and proper care, we can help them breathe easier and recover more quickly.”

Tracheal Collapse in Small Breeds: A Unique Challenge

Some dogs are more likely to get Tracheal Collapse. Pomeranians, Pugs, Chihuahuas, and especially Yorkshire terriers are at risk. This usually starts when they are middle-aged13. Owners may see signs like a honking cough, trouble breathing, gums that look blue, and less want to move14.

Understanding the Signs of Tracheal Collapse

Chronic coughing in dogs can point to tracheal collapse. The right tests are key. X-rays can show the condition 45% to 86% of the time, but might miss it in some areas15. A different test, called fluoroscopy, is better, especially for checking a critical part15.

Management and Treatment Options for Affected Dogs

The first steps in treatment focus on medicine. This includes steroids and medicine to stop coughing. These help with pain and swelling13. For serious cases, a stent might be put in. This helps keep the trachea open but isn’t a perfect fix13.

It’s also important to prevent tracheal collapse. Keep dogs away from things like dust and smoke. Choose a chest harness instead of a neck collar. Keeping them at a healthy weight helps too14.

Diagnostic Method Sensitivity for Tracheal Collapse Agreement with Fluoroscopy Preferred Regions
Radiography 45%-86%15 Varies significantly Cervical region
Fluoroscopy Higher than Radiography15 Better in carina region15 Carina region

We want to make sure dog owners know how to take great care of their pets. Knowing things like the average weight and age of dogs with this problem can help15. It helps owners spot the risk early and get help.

This problem is tough, but with the right care and knowing what to do, dogs can live happier lives.

When Coughing Signals Parasitic Infections: Heartworms and More

A cough that keeps on going in dogs can signal big health issues. One such issue might be heartworm disease16. Mosquito bites spread these bad worms. They’re a major risk in many places, making it key to stop them before they start16.

But it’s not just about coughing. Heartworms can cause heart issues and fluid buildup that’s very dangerous16. There’s also lungworms. They get passed on through licking or playing with things that have the eggs on them17. A vet needs to check out these issues right away.

Treating coughs from worms can be tough. Heartworm treatment takes a long time and costs a lot16. But treating lungworms is simpler. You just need the right medicine16. Either way, stopping worms before they start is super important16. But, not following treatment right makes it not work as well16.

Stopping heartworms before they start is really important. In some places, like near the Mississippi River, it’s even harder to stop them because some heartworms can fight off the medicine16. Adult heartworms are really big which makes it harder to fight them16. Mosquitoes spread the tiny young worms by biting16.

Telling dog owners about how serious heartworms are is critical. A cough in your dog can mean something way worse than a cold or allergy17. It’s a sign that you need to see a vet fast and stick to protection plans.

Knowing this stuff helps us take better care of our dogs. Armed with this info, dog owners can spot warning signs16. This helps their furry friends live longer, healthier lives1716.

Home Care and Remedies for a Coughing Dog

Understanding why your dog coughs is key. This needs checking by a vet. They will tell if it’s an illness or something else. Each case requires a different way to help your dog.

Simple Measures to Provide Relief for Your Dog at Home

After the vet’s advice, home remedies can help. Making home calm can reduce coughing. Using humidifiers keeps the air moist, easing your dog’s cough18. Adding a spoonful of raw honey can soothe their throat. It also helps fight off germs19.

Dog coughing home remedies

Keeping your dog hydrated is very important. Clean water must always be available19. Choose light walks over hard exercise. This helps without straining their breathing19. Remember, these tips do not replace a vet’s care.

The Importance of a Vet’s Advice Before Trying Home Treatments

Always get a vet’s advice before starting home treatments. They will prescribe the right medicine. This could be antibiotics or cough medicine1820. Keeping your home clean and vaccinating your dog helps prevent sickness18.

Knowing why your dog coughs helps you care for them better. Always work with your vet on home care. This makes sure home treatments support the vet’s advice. Together, they work for your dog’s quick recovery.


Pet parents often worry when their dogs cough a lot. This coughing can be caused by many things, some not so serious and others more so. We see how things around us and certain diseases can make dogs cough. Many dog owners are not sure if they should vaccinate their pets21. This, along with more people getting dogs but not protecting them well, is causing more dog illnesses. This includes really bad kennel cough, which is worse than the usual type22.

There’s been a big increase in dog breathing problems, over 200 cases in Oregon alone21. This shows we need to be more careful and listen to vets. Vets tell us to keep vaccinations, like Bordetella and canine flu shots, up to date to protect our dogs from these diseases21. Sadly, some pet owners skip vet visits because of the cost. They miss out on treatments that are not very expensive but can greatly help21.

We must take dog coughing seriously because it can indicate many health problems. Being proactive and making smart choices is very important for our dog’s health. Looking out for signs of diseases, getting professional advice early, and talking about how to prevent illnesses can make a big difference. It can change things from being uncomfortable to getting better for our dogs21. Understanding everything from how smoke affects dogs to how fast diseases can spread helps us. We can face dog coughing not with worry, but with actions that lead to recovery.


What are some common causes of persistent coughing in dogs?

Dogs cough a lot because of many reasons. These include heart problems, kennel cough, and pneumonia. Other causes are collapsing trachea, long-term bronchitis, cancer, and worm diseases. Things in the air like dust and smoke can also make dogs cough.

How can you tell if your dog’s cough is a sign of something serious?

A cough can be bad if it lasts over a week. Watch out for nasal runny, fever, being very tired, and not eating. If coughing gets worse at night, see a vet to find out what’s wrong.

What are the different types of coughs in dogs, and what do they indicate?

Dogs can have dry coughs, showing a problem with their trachea. Or wet coughs could mean pneumonia. A deep, dry cough might point to allergies or bronchitis. If a cough sounds like a high-pitched gag, something might be stuck in the throat. Each cough hints at different health issues.

Can environmental factors cause coughing in dogs?

Yes, things around us like smoke, dust, and germs can make dogs cough. It’s good to keep their living area clean. This helps stop coughs from happening.

What is kennel cough, and how is it treated?

Kennel cough is a sickness that makes dogs cough a lot. To treat it, dogs might need medicine or shots to feel better. Vaccines can also prevent this cough.

How does heart disease lead to coughing in dogs?

Heart disease makes it hard for dogs to breathe, making them cough. The heart can’t pump well, pressing on the breathing path or causing lung fluid. Medicine helps the heart and reduces coughing.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia in dogs, and how is it treated?

Signs of pneumonia in dogs include a wet cough, high temperature, and feeling weak. A vet might give antibiotics, or serious cases might need hospital care. Rest and the right treatment are key.

What is tracheal collapse, and which dogs are most at risk?

Small dogs often get tracheal collapse, where their windpipe weakens. This causes a harsh, dry cough. Medicine or sometimes surgery can help them breathe easier.

How do heartworm disease and lungworms cause coughing in dogs?

Mosquito bites can give dogs heartworms, making them cough and can lead to heart failure. Lungworms do the same and need special medicine. A vet must check and treat these conditions.

What can I do at home to help my coughing dog?

Make sure your dog is comfortable and drinks plenty of water. Stay away from things that make the cough worse. Always talk to a vet before giving any medicines or treatments.

About the author

Johnny is dedicated to providing useful information on commonly asked questions on the internet. He is thankful for your support ♥

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