Diagnosing a Dog Coughing Problems

Dog coughing can point to a severe health problem but it may also be an indicator of a trifle throat irritation or the Kennel cough. Your dog may cough when he clears his throat; however, chronic coughing should be checked out by a vet. The diagnosis of coughing problems may be done judging by the symptoms of the dog and by performing a few tests. The vet will find the cause of the coughing and administer suitable treatment.

Respiratory Infections

There are numerous respiratory infections that can cause coughing; the most common is the Kennel cough or the infectious tracheobronchitis. There are also other respiratory infections caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Other symptoms the dog may display include sneezing, fever, nasal and ocular discharges and heavy breathing.

You should monitor the cough and see if it is dry or productive and when it is more likely to occur.

The respiratory infections can be treated with antibiotics, steam baths and keeping the dog in warm rooms. The infections may persist for up to 3 weeks, so the dog may receive cough suppressants to prevent throat irritation.

Respiratory Tract Problems

The dog cough may indicate that there are problems with the trachea and the larynx. If the dog coughs after eating, this may be caused by a respiratory tract problem.

You should consult the vet immediately, as this problem may cause the food to travel to the lungs and cause pneumonia. The dog may also choke.

If the dog coughs more during nighttime and the cough is dry, this may indicate a tracheal collapse.


If the dog suffers from allergies, he may also cough. The cough will be dry. Not all dogs that are allergic will cough; it depends on how severe the allergic reaction is.

Antitussives and antihistamines or steroids may be prescribed to relieve allergies.

Throat Irritation

The throat of the dog may be irritated due to several factors including:

  • Objects ingested and stuck in the trachea or larynx; by coughing, the dog will try to eliminate the object. Should the dog cough up blood, this means that the object has caused a serious injury and should be removed immediately
  • The collar may be too tight; you should adjust the collar, as this may cause coughing
  • Inhalation of chemicals, smoke
  • Ingesting seeds, bones or rough textured foods that were not properly chewed
  • Dry air may cause coughing

Heart or Lung Problems

Heart problems may be signaled by dry coughing, especially during night and after exercising.

A lung problem may also be signaled by coughing; the lungs may be affected by several condition including cancer or infections.

Heartworms and lungworms may also cause coughing.

Diagnosis and Tests

You should monitor your pet's behavior and let your vet know about the symptoms that you've noticed. The vet will examine your dog and take a look at his throat.

He may perform different tests depending on the symptoms displayed:

  • Bacteria cultures to determine the cause of possible infections
  • Allergy testing
  • X-rays to determine if there are any heart or lung abnormalities