Coughing in Dogs! Is Your Dog Coughing
Coughing in dogs may be caused by a number of reasons, including illness, disease, and irritation. If you know the causes behind coughing, you can help your dog feel better fast!
Coughing is the act of the lungs to clear the throat and respiratory passage of debris or foreign objects and mucus. It may be a reflex in response to an object or irritant in the throat and lungs. A dog may deliberately or involuntarily cough to clear his throat or remove a stuck object. Coughing may be caused by inflammation or irritation of the lung and throat tissues due to illness.
Coughing from illness, such as Bordetella (Kennel Cough) or allergies, usually results in a dry, hacking cough. This is because the lungs and throat may be dry or irritated and do not produce anything. Coughing from bronchitis or pneumonia may sound like a wheezing or wet cough due to fluid or mucous buildup in the chest and throat. Coughing from a disease, such as heart disease, heart worm, or lung disease may be quick, deep or cause shortness of breath in addition to a cough
Some small dogs may have a collapsing trachea, which causes the rings that are normally firm around the trachea to collapse slightly. This may result in a cough or gasp for breath in a smaller dog that is resolved on its own or requires treatment.
How Can I Prevent Coughing in My Dog
Treating minor ailments and keeping your dog vaccinated can help prevent coughing associated with allergy or minor illness. Dogs that frequent areas, such as the dog park, dog day care, or kennels, should be vaccinated against Bordetella (Kennel Cough) to reduce the chances of getting sick. Allergies can be treated with over the counter antihistamines to prevent irritation to the throat and lungs. Heart worm medication can also be used to prevent heart worm and coughing associated with its disease.
Keeping your dog healthy and physically in shape may also help with coughing. Providing plenty of fresh cool water can keep the throat from becoming dry. Regular exercise can keep the lungs and heart healthy, reducing chances of illness or disease. Spotting and removing potential foreign objects before they are ingested or stuck in the throat can also prevent a cough.
What Should I Do If My Dog Has Cough
Coughing once or twice or after an event, such as accidentally inhaling some water, may be a one-time occurrence and no cause for concern. However, if your dog continues to cough for more than a day or has other symptoms, such as lethargy, fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, it is important to see a local veterinarian.
Your vet will most likely first examine your dog from nose to tail, checking in the mouth, nose, and throat for anything that could cause irritation and cough. Vets will also gently push on the throat and chest of your dog to see if a cough can be “elicited.” If a cough occurs, this may indicate a lung or internal illness that is causing irritation. Your vet may then recommend additional tests, such as an X-ray or blood work, to find the cause of the illness.
Once the cause of the coughing has been found, your vet can then provide treatment. Minor illness and coughing may just need an allergy medication or cough suppressant to protect irritated tissues. More serious diseases, such as asthma or heartworm, may require a long-term treatment plan, which is more intensive. Lung and heart disease may be treated with medications and care plans in addition to more aggressive treatment. Collapsing tracheal disease may require medication to prevent the trachea from collapsing or close monitoring of symptoms.
If your dog is coughing to the point where they are unable to breathe, it may indicate a medical emergency that should be brought to a veterinarian or emergency hospital immediately. Your vet can then provide fast-acting medication in addition to supplemental oxygen to help your dog feel better.
Natural Remedies for Treating Cough in Dogs
Licorice and Wild Cherry Bark are great natural remedies for soothing a cough and allowing your dog to exhale anything from the lungs. Echinacea and Garlic can also be helpful against bacterial pathogens that could cause a cough as a side effect. Vitamin C and Hyssop may also benefit all types of Bordetella (Kennel Cough) by providing an immune boosting response and relieving the cough symptoms. Many homeopathic remedies are available, such as Phosphorus 30C, Rumex 6C and Spongia 6C, which may be an alternative option for treating all types of a cough in dogs.