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It’s only natural for you to be concerned when your dog starts
making whooping, honking, and hacking sounds. Although the cough
maybe something as simple as an allergic reaction or the side
effect of inhaling an environmental irritant, it could also be
something much much worse. That’s why it’s important to be aware
of the possibilities. The most common conditions that cause dogs
to cough are chronic bronchitis, heart disease, a number of
respiratory infections that can be caused by viruses, fungi, or
bacteria, and heartworm disease.
Here are a few surprising causes of coughing in
dogs:Eating rat poison
Some rat poisons known as anticoagulants prevents the blood from
clotting, and leads to bleeding. Although it works pretty well
for rats, our dogs can also be affected. Ingesting these
dangerous rat poisons can lead to your poor dog bleeding into her
lungs to cause coughing. It can even be fatal if you don’t take
your dog to the emergency room as soon as possible. He may even
end up needing a blood transfusion. Never put out these rat
poisons where your dog can easily get to them. Prevention is the
Inhaling airborne irritants
These irritants can be found anywhere – even in your home. They
include fireplace ash, dust mites, dandruff, dust from the litter
tray, mold, second-hand smoke, household sprays, and even
deodorants! Dogs have a keener sense of smell than we do.
Although these irritants may not bother us, they tend to bother
An overweight dog is more at risk of developing numerous health
conditions like congestive heart failure and arthritis when
compared to other, healthier dogs. The extra weight can also lead
to coughing. Some dogs grow to be so obese that the extra fat
puts additional pressure on their respiratory tract, leading to
coughing. The only plausible solution to this being weight loss.
Inhaling blades of grass
Most dogs are active. They are big fans of the great outdoors and
love to run around and just play. Sometimes, a single blade of
grass can be the cause of your dog’s coughing. Some types of
grass have foxtails or grass awns that can cause the coughing by
penetrating through your dog’s skin. It finds its way into the
lungs and start doing damage. It can also cause other, more
serious health conditions like lung abscesses, pneumonia,
pyothorax, pneumothorax etc.
Side effects from certain medications
Just like how humans can have adverse and allergic reactions to
some kinds of medications, dogs are also affected by the same.
Some medications have coughing has a side effect. Don’t always
blame it on medications and disregard his coughing as a mere side
effect though. It could just as easily be an indication of heart
disease. The safer option is to go to the vet and explore the
cause of the problem.
Dog Coughing and What It Might Mean
Dog coughing occurs just like in humans, though it sounds a
little different. How do you know if dog coughing is a result or
a simple irritation or something more?
Some illnesses that can cause a dog to cough, like kennel
cough, usually resolve on their own, but others,
like heartworm or heart disease, will
require treatment by a veterinarian. Ultimately,
your vet will need to diagnose and recommend treatment, so avoid
giving your dog any cough suppressants or other medicine unless
How to Recognize Dog Coughing
Dog coughs can sound a lot like sneezes and it can be hard to
distinguish between them. If you notice your dog has developed a
cough (or sneeze) take notes on the frequency and timing to share
with your vet. Details about the cough will help your vet make a
diagnosis. Some things to observe include:
- Dry vs. deep and wet cough
- When it started and how often
- If it happens more after
eating or during the night
- Coughing up mucous or blood
- Any accompanying symptoms,
such as eye or nose
discharge, vomiting, or fainting
Possible Causes of DOG Coughing
Since coughing can be caused by many different conditions you
should contact your vet for a diagnosis. During
examination, vets will usually consider the symptoms, induce a
cough, and may even use a bronchoscope to collect throat samples.
While your vet may prescribe treatment for the cough itself, it's
more important to treat the cause.
Cough and Upper Respiratory
Dogs often catch illnesses
from other dogs, particularly when in big groups, like
at kennels or dog shows. This kind
of cough is usually a dry, hacking cough. Dogs should recover
completely within a week or two with rest, and occasionally
medication, but are highly contagious while sick.
Dogs often inhale seeds or grasses when running
in fields. They can also get hairballs. These
foreign materials are usually coughed up, but they could
get stuck in the throat or
lungs leading to infection, choking, or pneumonia,
making coughing worse.
Some parasites, such as
lungworm and heartworm, can cause persistent coughing and
When coughs sound like gurgling, or as if there is fluid in the
lungs, it could be a sign of pneumonia, which is potentially life
threatening if untreated.
One common symptom of heart disease in dogs is heavy coughing,
particularly at night. This is why a thorough vet exam is so
important, to catch serious conditions early on. Heart disease
can be treated through weight loss and
medications, like Vetmedin for dogs, but
early detection is key.
Toy dog breeds,
especially older ones, are at risk of
a collapsing trachea. This can be made worse from pulling on a
collar, obesity, or frequent
bronchitis. This cough almost sounds like a goose
honking. Weight loss is
usually the first treatment, but veterinary treatment will be
needed to keep the problem from getting worse.
Dogs can also have respiratory allergies or asthma that
cause coughing or wheezing attacks.
This information is for informational
purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the
professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your
veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been
verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.