Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
When humans cough, it’s usually to clear our throat or perhaps because we have a cold. A persistent cough can sometimes signal something more serious, such as pneumonia or lung cancer.
In dogs, a cough can signal a number of different problems. The type of cough, and sometimes your dog’s
breed or circumstances, can be clues to the cause of the cough. Here’s what you need to know when you hear your
Dogs with canine cough, more commonly known as
kennel cough, tend to have a deep, dry, hacking cough. The cough usually gets worse with exertion. If your dog has been boarded recently or has been in some other situation where he has been in contact with large numbers of dogs, he may have picked up this highly contagious viral or bacterial infection.
Sometimes dogs have sort of a high-pitched gagging cough. If the dog is also making swallowing motions and licking his lips, your veterinarian may diagnose a sore throat or, rarely, tonsillitis. This type of cough can also suggest that something is stuck in the throat.
A wet cough, one that sounds as if the dog is gargling, may mean that fluid or phlegm has built up in the lungs. Usually, this occurs with pneumonia, which can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi or
parasites. The dogs most at risk for pneumonia are very old, very young or have a weak immune system. Dogs can also develop pneumonia if they accidentally inhale a foreign body or throw up and then inhale some of the vomit. Yuck!
Many tiny toy breeds often make a big sound that resembles the deep honk of a goose. These little dogs are prone to a condition called
collapsing trachea. You’ll often hear the characteristic goose honk when the dog is pulling against his collar.
dog cough mainly at night when he’s lying down? If you have a
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or other breed prone to
heart disease, this often signals that the disease is progressing.
You can tell that all of these are serious problems. If your dog is coughing frequently or violently, get him to your veterinarian sooner rather than later. Most problems are treatable or manageable, especially if caught early.
Your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics for kennel cough, and your dog should be isolated so he doesn’t infect all his buddies. If you’ve ever had a bad cough, you know how painful it can be. Help soothe your dog’s cough by running a humidifier or bringing him into the bathroom with you while you’re taking a shower.
Suspect a small foreign object such as a grass seed lodged in the throat if your dog has been playing in an area with tall grass and suddenly begins coughing. If he doesn’t cough up whatever it is, its presence can cause a bacterial infection and eventually pneumonia. Before it gets to that point, have your veterinarian examine your dog and remove the object if possible.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
A very senior cat who was left in a box
outside an animal shelter in London three
weeks ago has a new forever…
Today is World Rabies Day, so we're
debunking common misconceptions
about this cruel and terrifying disease.
A pet store may seem like an ideal outing
for your dog, but there are some
important things to think about first.
It's snake season. Do you know what to
do if your pup encounters one of these
reptiles? We asked an expert to find…
If your cat doesn't snuggle up with you
while you sleep, it might be due to
instincts she inherited from her…
The sweet-faced Pomeranian may be small in stature, but she loves to exercise and go on outdoor adventures.
Parasites are no fun for dogs. Learn how
to protect your canine from heartworms,
hookworms, whipworms and more.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.