How Serious is Puppy Coughing? Five Possible Causes

Puppy coughing can be the result of something as simple as exposure to cigarette smoke or it can be as serious as a collapsed trachea. Because puppy coughing is a common symptom of literally dozens of different dog conditions and diseases, the best way to figure out what is causing your puppy's is to take him to the vet. Knowledge of the possible causes of puppy cough is important as well, whether you plan to pay a visit to your vet or not. This article will discuss five possible causes of puppy coughing.

Puppy Coughing Caused by Allergies and Irritants

Our homes are filled with everything from dust to minuscule pieces of floating fabric from carpets, clothing, and upholstery. Some puppies will experience nasal irritation and throat irritation from breathing in particles in the air, cigarette smoke and even perfume. When the throat and nasal passages become inflamed or even mildly irritated, this will cause the puppy to cough. To relieve puppy coughing from allergens and irritants, simply remove the irritant from the home and keep the area clean and free from dust. Humidifiers are useful as well.

Puppy Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica, and it can only be contracted from contact with another infected animal. Symptoms include dry cough and sneezing. In some cases, cough may only occur if the dog is excited or active. Kennel cough is rarely fatal, and it is easy to treat with a 1-2 week round of antibiotics.

Hookworm and Roundworm

Hookworm and roundworm are common in puppies and they can be treated through antibiotics and preventative care such as specially formulated medications that kill parasites. These medications are typically administered to the puppy on a monthly schedule. Hookworms and roundworms cause coughing during the migration stage. Hookworm and roundworm larvae make their way to the pets intestines through the bloodstream. When the larvae reach the pet's lungs, the pet coughs it up, then it is re-swallowed.

Congestive Heart Disease

The number one symptom of congestive heart disease is coughing. Pressure on the puppy's trachea and fluid in the lungs are the main causes of cough in these cases. While congestive heart disease is commonly seen in older dogs, it may be present at birth.


The battle with heartworm is a lifelong one for a pet. Puppies will receive their first heartworm vaccination at 8-15 weeks and the booster will continue each year for life. The reason dogs must continue this regimen throughout their life is due to the way in which heartworm is transmitted. Heartworm is transmitted through mosquito bites. The mosquitoes ingest microscopic larvae, which are transferred to the dog through the dog's skin. The larvae migrate to the dog's heart, where it will remain lodged until treated. Until then, the larvae will cause inflammation in the heart and lungs, which will cause a dry cough. Unfortunately, by the time symptoms such as coughing appear, the larvae have already caused a significant amount of damage to the heart and lungs. Heartworm treatment will eliminate the worms, but it will not repair the damage done by them. So please, be diligent in your efforts to protect your pet against heartworm. Have your pet vaccinated and see your vet for yearly boosters.