What to Do If Your Dog Is Coughing

Dog cough may occur due to different causes including a respiratory infection or allergies. If your dog is coughing you need to establish the cause, visit the vet if the problem looks serious and administer treatment.

Establish the Cause

Even if a proper diagnosis can only be given by your vet, you may suspect that your dog is affected by a certain medical condition that causes coughing, judging by a few additional symptoms.

Coughing can be the result of a throat irritation; an isolated episode of coughing can be regarded as normal.

If the coughing is chronic, you should detect the factor causing it.

Coughing may be caused by respiratory infections or allergies and both cause similar symptoms; however, allergies cause skin rashes also. If the cough is caused by a respiratory infection, the cough will occur after exercising or when applying pressure on the throat.

Coughing may also be caused by a foreign object that is lodged in the dog’s throat but can be a symptom of heartworms or a heart condition. If the lungs are affected by tumors or a cancer has metastasized in the lungs, the dog will also cough.

If the coughing occurs mostly during nighttime and is triggered by exercising, this may be due to a heart problem. If the dog has heartworms, the coughing will also occur during the night.

You should also observe if the cough is dry or if the dog is expectorating.

Get a Proper Diagnosis

A vet may determine the cause for coughing by running a few blood tests and possibly a few x-rays. Let your vet know about any symptoms that you may have noticed in your dog.

Allergies may be detected through intradermal testing. If the vet detects a tumor, he must perform a biopsy to determine the nature of the tumor.

Get Treatment

The treatment for dog cough will depend on the causing factor. If the cough is caused by respiratory infections or is a kennel cough, this symptom may go away without treatment. Anti-tussives may be prescribed if the cough is disturbing. The dog should also be kept warm and you may also administer steam baths to clear his air passages. You may consider switching to wet food until the dog shows signs of improvement, as the dry food may irritate the dog’s throat.

If the dog is allergic to different inhalants, the vet will recommend a dose of antihistamines or allergy shots, it the allergen has been detected.

Heartworms are difficult to eliminate and may be fatal; however, you should get preventive heartworm medication and avoid the dog’s infection with this parasite.

A foreign object can be removed, in the worst case scenario through surgery.

If the cough is caused by cancerous cells in the lungs, the vet may recommend surgery, if the cancer is in an early stage and chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy to stop the cells from multiplying and to manage the pain.