Dog Coughing: Tips and Reasons

Coughing is s common ailment or condition in dogs that indicate something is wrong with the respiratory system or happens as a result of a more serious or chronic problem. First, if your dog is experiencing coughing fits, you should seek the advice and treatment of a veterinarian. It is also important to know what can cause coughing, in addition to knowing some tips and remedies that can avoid the condition. Let’s face it, anytime our dog shows symptoms of distress or illness we take it to heart.

Types of Coughs

Kennel cough produces a hacking cough that can last for up to two weeks. Ordinarily it is not serious since the dog appears normally healthy and active. A worst case is a bacterium called acute tracheobronchitis which attacks the airway, but this condition is treatable. A gurgling, moist sounding cough points to phlegm or fluid in the the lungs and it most often associated with pneumonia or flu. A high pitched weak and gagging cough followed by persistent swallowing and lip licking most often indicates a sore throat or tonsillitis. A coughing fit that is prolonged and occurs at night in regular spasms or while the dog puts resting weight on the chest area points to heart disease. Dogs with heart disease will routinely hide in a dark and inaccessible area, like under a bed or behind a sofa.

DOG COUGH Dog Coughing: Tips and Reasons

Pneumonia and Chronic Bronchitis

Pneumonia is a lung infection where the air sacs drown in a fluid-like phlegm or mucus, causing shortness of breath and a persistent quiet cough. Dogs with pneumonia frequently hack up mucus and hard-swallow it. The pneumonia bacterium is progressive and symptoms usually worsen until treated. Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the airway passages which causes painful irritation. Bronchitis coughs sound dry and are usually followed by gagging. The condition can last up to 2 months and more. Canine influenza (flu) can produce coughing and sneezing. Dog flu can be accompanied by a fever as high as 106 degrees.


Distemper shows itself with a hacking, dry cough in addition to a fever of 103 to 105 degrees. The eyes and nose frequently discharge a thick, yellow substance. This occurs when the dog has not been inoculated for the disease and is frequent in pounds and kennels that house puppies.

Heart Disease

Heart failure causes a typically quiet cough that is persistent and progressive. The cough can occur during exercise or at night. It is caused by an enlarged heart muscle that leaks blood into the lung area, which often results in a discharge of pink foam from the muzzle and nose area. The condition is common in dogs of older age that are unfit and in poor health. An enlarged heart (non-leaking) has the same coughing symptoms, but it is the over-sized condition of the heart that causes an uncomfortable pressure on the lungs. An enlarged heart usually does not cause a pink, foamy discharge.

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse occurs in the tracheal airway passage when the small ringed cartilage in the wall become damaged or weak. This can collapse the tracheal passage, causing a partial suffocation and shortness of breath. The Dog Coughing is often loud and mirrors the sound of a goose honk. The condition happens mostly in very small dogs that are of the toy or miniature class.


Parasites such as hookworms, heartworms and roundworms can cause a persistent coughing fit called a verminous cough. This happens when the parasite larvae residing in the intestinal track migrates into the respiratory area and irritates the lung tissue. This condition can last forever how long the worm problem goes untreated. The proper worm medicine is advised to treat the condition.


It is recommended that only minor coughs be treated by the owner at home to reduce Dog Coughing. More serious cases involving heavy eye, mouth and nose discharge and bloody purging should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian. Common dog allergies that produce coughs result from air pollutants such as aerosol sprays, cleaners, dust, cigarette smoke, perfumes, powders and insecticides. By removing these irritants, minor coughing sometimes disappear completely.

The use of medical cough suppressants should be use sparingly and for short periods of time at the proper dosage. They should not be used in cases of heavy mucus or phlegm presence, since this type of coughing is the body’s natural way to eliminate infectious substances. Suppressants can only lessen the severity of the cough but not treat it until a proper diagnoses is performed.

Dogs with dry coughs can sometimes benefit from the use of a humidifier which can moisten the lung tissue and decrease irritation. Shower steam can also be beneficial in relieving stressful coughing.