Causes of Dog Coughing

Dog coughing can mean that the dog has an insignificant throat irritation, but may also be indicative of a more serious tumor or respiratory problems. Occasional coughing is normal, as the dog may clear his throat; however if your dog coughs frequently, a proper diagnosis and treatment are needed.

Ingestion of a Small Object

Your dog may be coughing as he may have ingested a small object that got stuck in his trachea or larynx. Dogs may ingest small toys, paper clips or beads and by coughing, the dog will attempt to eliminate these objects that irritate the throat.

The coughing caused by an ingested object is dry; in case the dog coughs up blood, you need to hurry to the vet, as the object may have hurt the dog.

Otherwise, try to see if you can find the object and remove it safely using a pair of tweezers.

Irritated Throat

In case the dog’s collar is too tight or the dog has an irritated throat, he may cough.

The throat can get irritated by inhaling chemicals, cigarette smoke or other harmful substances or by eating objects that may scratch his throat. Even dry air may cause coughing.

The cough is dry and the dog tries to clear his throat.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections in dogs may be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. These infections are signaled by coughing, sneezing, fever, lethargy, watery eyes, runny nose and panting.

The cough may be dry or more productive and is more common during nighttime.

The respiratory infections must be treated with antibiotics or fungicides, depending on the cause of the infection; otherwise, the infection may spread to the lungs, causing pneumonia.

Some frequent fugal infections include coccidiomycosis and blastomycosis, while the rhinotracheitis, Chlamydia infection or the kennel cough are common viral infections.


Pollens, grasses, dust, mold or smoke can cause allergies which are manifested through coughing, sneezing, itchy skin, runny nose and watery eyes.

The hypersensitivity is due to a weakened immune system and may be treated with some immunity boosters or steroids and antihistamines.

Heart Problems

Dogs with cardiomyopathy and other heart problems will cough after performing physical activities or when agitated. When the heart rate increases, the heart expands, putting pressure on the lungs and the airways.

The cough is dry.

Respiratory System Problems

In case the cough is present after the dog has ingested food, the cough may signal problems with the trachea or larynx.

The food may have access to the lungs and can result in pneumonia or other more serious health issues or choking.

Senior or obese dogs may also suffer from tracheal collapse, which causes coughing that more frequent during the night.

Lung Cancer

Tumors located in the respiratory system area or lung cancer may also cause frequent coughing.

Coughing may be treated with different medications, depending on the underlying cause. Cough suppressants for dogs are also available. In some cases, surgery may be needed (i.e. heart disease, respiratory system problems or to remove a foreign object).