Coughing is common in dogs. It can be caused by irritation in the lungs, airways or throat. There are many types of coughing and the way in which a dog is coughing will point to a diagnosis.
Causes of coughing
A dog can cough for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the cough can be short-lived due to allergies or irritants in the throat, such as food or plant seeds. A cough may develop from a collar that is too tight. In most cases, however, coughs are caused by serious diseases, such as bronchitis, tumors, respiratory infections, heart failure or a collapsed trachea. If the coughing occurs after a dog eats, it may be because of a condition in the esophagus or trachea.
A dog may also cough up blood or vomit. Sometimes coughing and sneezing sound similar in dogs, so it is important to see if the dog opens his mouth while making the sound. If he does, it is a cough. The mouth stays closed during a sneeze.
Types of cough
- A cough that sounds like a goose honking is indicative of a collapsed trachea.
- A dry, hacking cough could point to kennel cough.
- A wet cough that sounds like it contains mucous could signal pneumonia.
- A gagging cough accompanied by swallowing, and lip-licking may mean sore throat or tonsillitis.
- Prolonged coughing spasms that occur primarily at night could mean heart disease.
A vet can make a diagnosis based on the frequency and pattern of the cough. You should make notes about this so you can discuss this with the vet. The vet may initiate a cough and perform blood work and a urinalysis. In some cases, X-rays, MRIs and CT scans may be useful in determining if something inside the dog’s body is causing the cough. The vet may use various instruments to look inside the dog’s respiratory tract. Fluid samples will be taken and tested for parasites and diseases. A fecal sample may be needed. The vet may also perform a heartworm test.
The following video shows how to make a diagnosis when a dog is coughing.
The vet will look for the underlying cause in order to stop the coughing. In severe cases, the dog may need to be hospitalized. The vet will treat the dog based on the medical condition that is the root cause. Antibiotics and cough suppressants may be used. If the dog is overweight, a low-fat diet may be used to bring the dog to a healthy weight in hopes that it will reduce or eliminate the coughing. If the coughing comes after exercise, the exercise routine may need to be altered. If something triggers the dog to cough, such as smoke, then eliminate any source of the pollutant.
Keep in communication with your vet until the dog cough is resolved. Make sure medications are administered properly. Even if symptoms improve, be sure to administer the full dose of antibiotics. If the cough worsens, see the vet.
If your dog’s current medication does not seem to be working, natural remedies may be the answer. LoveToKnow has a variety of remedies that you can use if your dog’s coughing is caused by kennel cough. However, in severe cases, a trip to the vet may be in order. Use common sense when administering home remedies.