Coughing in Dogs – A Harmless Symptom or a Wake-up Call for a Deadly Disease

My Poor Little Pooch is Coughing incessantly

Sniffing is one of the core activities performed by dogs. The amazing thing is that your pooch can sniff 4 to 6 times per second (isn’t it an amazing statistics). So it is quite normal when you see your doggy coughing every now and then. It can be due to a foreign particle getting into their nostrils, which is a protective reflex followed by the pooch to clear the airways from the harmful or unpleasant material. But when it happens on a regular basis incessantly it becomes a grave concern for a dog owner.

There are various reasons for coughing by your furry friend. Some of them are quite serious by nature; while others are non-critical that can be treated with a little care. Let us have a look at them one at a time.

Serious reasons for coughing in dogs:

Chronic bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis is an illness that is followed up by extreme mucus in the airways of the dog that causes inflammation in dogs. One of the major reasons to develop this illness is smoking. So in case if you are a smoker; try to confine your doggy in a different room before you smoke as passive smoking can cause this illness. Some of the other things in the environment that can trigger inflammation in dogs are: dust, grains and pollution. It is better to consult with your veterinarian for treating this illness in dogs.


This highly contagious viral disease gets transmitted from an already infected dog’s respiratory secretions, feces or urine. It can be prevented only through vaccinations.

Foreign bodies

Dogs can ingest substances and objects like sticks or foxtails that can result in a short period of coughing. These substances can get into the gums or rear of their throats. If that occurs, then it is advised to take the help of your veterinarian to remove the substances from the dog’s body.

Heart disease 

Dogs suffer from congestive heart failure leading to buildup of fluids in the lungs resulting in coughing. This usually happens in the night. One another reason for coughing could be heart enlargement. Small breed dogs like Cocker Spaniels, Boxers, and Dobermans are more prone to heart disease and other related coughing.


Influenza is a new disease in dogs which is caused by a virus. It is a highly contagious respiratory infection. During the early stages coughing may occur in dogs while in extreme cases the symptoms of pneumonia are present in dogs.

Lung Cancer      

Although lung cancer is quite rare in pooches; coughing cannot be discounted as a symptom of this deadly disease. Hence, it is always better to take the recommendation of your veterinarian to rule out its possibility. It has generally been observed that lung cancer will extend only when there is already a tumor present in the dog’s body. If your veterinarian suspects that your pooch has this disease, then he will refer you to an oncologist that can look after the specialized treatment of this disease.


Pneumonia is a very deadly disease in dogs. It commences with a “soft” coughing along with forceful breathing and mucus. It is always better to take the help of your veterinarian when you suspect pneumonia in your dog. Your veterinarian will conduct the diagnosis immediately and may suggest some antibiotics and fluids for the dog.

Tracheal collapse

Tracheal collapse generally happens in miniature and toy-size dogs that have a flat trachea as a substitute to round or “C-shaped” one. So when the air pressure changes during respiration, the dog collapses. There have been certain cases where dogs have got infections or bronchitis in addition to the airway collapse. Your veterinarian will give some medications by diagnosing the pet. Sometimes surgery may be required to completely heal the dog or a combination of medications and surgery.

Non-critical reasons for coughing in dogs:

Fungal infections

Fungal infections can lead to breathing complexity, weight loss, fever and coughing. In order to treat these infections, your veterinarian would suggest some antifungal medications for an extended duration. During this infection, keep your pooch away from bird droppings and coops.


There are certain parasites like heartworms and intestinal or gastrointestinal worms that can result in coughing in dogs. It can be treated easily with the help of deworming treatments like Advantage Multi (Advocate), Heartgard Plus, Revolution and Interceptor.

Kennel cough

This illness is caused when a combination of viral and bacterial intruders get into the way of the airways of the dog. If you find that your dog has a dry cough along with white, foam like saliva then it can be due to this illness. Your dogs can get this illness through boarding facilities, dog parks, dog kennels and other such places. This illness continues for a maximum of a couple of weeks. It can easily be treated with the help of antibiotics and other prescription treatments.

Until and unless your dog gets completely recovered do not allow him to get outside because he can infect other animals through contact. If the situation is unavoidable and you need to take your dog outside during the recovery period use a harness instead of a collar or leash so that you can discourage coughing reactions in dogs.

Always ensure that your doggy gets regular shots along with heartworm preventives as per the recommendation from the vet. In the end, your veterinarian is the best person to let you know whether your doggy is suffering from coughing due to serious reason or non-critical reason. The treatment of the dog will depend on the finding of the cause of coughing.

Irrespective of the reason, ensure that you cooperate with your veterinarian and answer their questions to the point; so that they get the clear picture of the commencement of the coughing. During this tough time; take care of your furry friends, by giving them plenty of water, healthy dog food and rest.